Fact file: Chile

Did you know?
The Estadio Nacional de Chile in Santiago was one of the four venues of the 1962 World Cup. 11 years later it was used as a concentration camp during the Chilean coup of 1973.
Language
Spanish
Visas
No visa required for UK visitors for stays of up to 30 days.
Getting there
A return flight to Chile in May from London Heathrow can cost in the region of around £650 with Iberia airlines. There is a departure tax of US$18 on leaving Chile and of US$7 for internal flights.
Flying time from London
17 hours
Getting around
Buses are fast, punctual, inexpensive and cover most main routes. Santiago has a metro system; cities and towns have good local bus networks.
Currency
Peso (Ch$)
Costs
One litre of petrol 40p, moderate meal £3, one roll of camera film £3, four-mile taxi ride £2, a beer - 50p. All costs will vary.
Weather
Santiago has a Mediterranean climate - 28C(82F) in January and 10C(50F) in July, a rainy season from May-August (remember it's the southern hemisphere so seasons are swapped around). Skiing resorts are most popular through June and August (winter in the southern hemisphere).
Time difference
Four hours behind GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 56
Voltage
220 Volts 50 cycles.
Opening hours
Businesses open at 9am, closing at 1pm for three or four-hour siesta and then reopen till 8 or 9pm. In Santiago many offices have adopted a more US-conventional 9am-6pm, but banks and government offices are often only open to the public in the mornings.
Health - Before you go
Chile presents few serious hazards and you do not need any vaccinations to enter the country but it may be advisable to get yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis. Ask your tour operator or GP for advice or ring the FCO advice line on 020 7238 4503/4504.
Health - When you are there
If you're hiking/trekking or going on adventure trips it's wise to take a medical travel kit.
Warnings
Volcanic activity and earthquakes do happen so make sure you know what to do.
Emergency
Police Tel 133. British Embassy in Santiago: Avenida El Bosque Norte 0125, 3rd floor, Las Condes. Tel 02 231 3737
Customs
Chileans are by and large a very friendly bunch, hospitable and lovely to children. Be circumspect around the indigenous people as rowdiness and rampant photography may be seen as rude. Be sensible and considerate and you should have no trouble - try asking!
Pets
Chile is not part of the Passports for Pets scheme, so any pets coming back will be put into quarantine in the UK.
Tipping
10% is expected.
Tourist office
The Chilean embassy has a tourist information section. 12 Devonshire Street, London W1G 7DS. Tel 020 7580 1023
Did you know?
If Chile's length was laid on top of Europe the country would stretch from Norway to Tunisia.
Language
Spanish
Visas
No visa required for UK visitors for stays of up to 30 days.
Getting there
Direct flights to Santiago are available from London and Manchester - expect to pay around £550 return. There is a departure tax of US$18 on leaving Chile and of US$7 for internal flights.
Flying time from London
17 hours
Getting around
Apart from the sadly neglected railways, Chilean transport is excellent. Buses are fast, punctual, inexpensive and cover most main routes. Domestic flights are big business due to the country's vast length and prices are kept low by competition. Air passes from LanChile and Ladeco, the Chilean airlines, can be a bargain if you research the different types available and plan your itinerary well. Santiago has a metro system; cities and towns have good local bus networks.
Currency
Peso (Ch$)
Costs
One litre of petrol 40p, moderate meal £3, one roll of camera film £3, four-mile taxi ride £2, a beer - 50p. All costs will vary.
Weather
Chilean territory runs 2,666 miles from north to south, and has all kids of altitude and terrain. As a result, average temperatures and rainfall vary greatly. Generally, central Chile (including Santiago) has a Mediterranean climate - 28C(82F) in January and 10C(50F) in July, a rainy season from May-August (remember it's the southern hemisphere so seasons are swapped around). Skiing resorts are most popular through June and August (winter in the southern hemisphere). The Isla Grande and surrounding islands have only 60 days of sunshine a year and 150 storm days but can be magnificent in Chile's summer (UK's winter).
Time difference
Four hours behind GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 56
Voltage
220 Volts 50 cycles.
Opening hours
Businesses open at 9am, closing at 1pm for three or four-hour siesta and then reopen till 8 or 9pm. In Santiago many offices have adopted a more US-conventional 9am-6pm, but banks and government offices are often only open to the public in the mornings.
Health - Before you go
Chile presents few serious hazards and you do not need any vaccinations to enter the country but it may be advisable to get yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A depending upon which regions you visit, and check your tetanus and polio immunity. Ask your tour operator or GP for advice or ring the FCO advice line on 020 7238 4503/4504. If you're hiking/trekking or going on adventure trips it's wise to take a medical travel kit.
Health - When you are there
Businesses open at 9am, closing at 1pm for three or four-hour siesta and then reopen till 8 or 9pm. In Santiago many offices have adopted a more US-conventional 9am-6pm, but banks and government offices are often only open to the public in the mornings.
Warnings
Many Chilean beaches have very dangerous rip tides - make sure you ask about the currents if you want to swim. Accidents are so numerous in the National Parks that solo trekking is no longer allowed. Volcanic activity and earthquakes do happen so make sure you know what to do. Do not photograph military installations.
Emergency
Police Tel 133. British Embassy in Santiago: Avenida El Bosque Norte 0125, 3rd floor, Las Condes. Tel 02 231 3737
Customs
Chileans are by and large a very friendly bunch, hospitable and lovely to children. Be circumspect around the indigenous people as rowdiness and rampant photography may be seen as rude. Be sensible and considerate and you should have no trouble - try asking!
Pets
Chile is not part of the Passports for Pets scheme, so any pets coming back will be put into quarantine in the UK.
Tipping
10% is expected.
Tourist office
The Chilean embassy has a tourist information section. 12 Devonshire Street, London W1G 7DS. Tel 020 7580 1023


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