Man standing on rock in Torres del Paine National Park

Chile travel guide

Practical information

Chilean Spanish
Chilean Peso
Time zone
GMT -4

Chilean Culture

Chilean culture is largely evolved from it's Spanish colonisation, as with most of Latin America. However, when most other Latin American countries relied heavily on agriculture and mining, Chile expanded into a manufacturing economy as well. This caused Chile's economy to grow at a better rate than it's bordering countries and a certain level of wealth was able to manifest within this economic boom. A history of stable government and minimal oppositions has also allowed for development to increase at a steady rate. The only exception to this being from 1973-1990 when a military junta held power.  

The Chilean people are now of mestizo ancestry, a Spanish blend of white European and indigenous backgrounds, majority Mapuche. They have a strong appreciation for the influence of their Indigenous culture and this is reflected in the folk songs and dances performed in the streets and at various festivals throughout the year. The national dance of Chile is the 'Cueca', a dance in which partners carry a white handkerchief and never touch but maintain contact through facial expression. 

Affectionately known by its inhabitants as the 'pais de los poetas' meaning 'country of poets' two of Chile's most famous faces are the poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. Neruda began writing from the very young age of 13 and once he had accomplished himself as a writer he turned to politics, serving a term as Senator for the Chilean Communist Party. However, when communism was outlawed in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda's arrest. With support of friends he was able to hide for months and eventually managed to escape over a mountain pass into Argentina; he didn't return to Chile for over three years. Mistral became the first Latin American and the fifth woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. After a poverty stricken beginning to her life and several brutal heartbreaks, Mistral's work was finally recognised in 1945 and she promptly moved to Neruda's hometown where the two became firm friends. 

Time Zone

The time zone in Chile is GMT -4


Chilean Spanish

Chilean Spanish the official language in Chile is similar in many ways to Spanish. It varies in its slang terms, distinctive punctuation and grammar. There are still a few people who speak the local dialects; Mapudungun is spoken by the Mapuche whilst Rapa Nui is spoken on Easter Island. 

Useful Phrases

  • Hola – Hello
  • Buenos días – Good morning
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – Good evening
  • Adiós – Goodbye
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
  • Buenas noches – Good night
  • Qué tal? – How are you?
  • Estoy estupendo – I am great.
  • Estoy mal – I feel unwell.
  • Estoy un poco cansado – I am a little tired.
  • Estoy exhausto – I am exhausted.
  • Estoy enfermo – I am sick.
  • Cuál es su nombre? – What is your name?
  • Mi nombre es… – My name is…

Local currency & change

Chilean Peso

In Chile the currency is the Chilean Peso (CLP)

For the latest exchange rates please visit

We do not recommend the use of traveller’s cheques as they are often impractical.  Bank cards are widely used for most things but it is best to use Visa as Mastercard is not commonly accepted.  Your guide will show you the best places to change currency at the best rate.  It is best to take Euros or Dollars with you and exchange locally.  The official exchange rate offered by banks and ATMs is not good.



In Chile mains electricity is 220v 50Hz. There are two plug types. 3 flat prongs or two round prongs (Standard European style). We recommend you purchase an adapter on arrival as they are very cheap and easy to find.

Patagonian Weather

The weather in Patagonia is notoriously changeable and it is not uncommon for trekkers to experience four seasons in one day. The region is also well known for its ferocious winds that can reach up to 120 miles an hour in the most extreme cases!

The most common time to visit Patagonia is during the summer months of December to February. At this time, you can expect daytime temperatures between 6 °C and 20 °C. Night time temperatures could go as low as 0°C. The wind can be quite strong during the summer and there is always the possibility of rain. However, when it is not raining the skies are generally clear providing great views. The landscape is green, in the height of its growing season and there is plenty of wildlife about.

In Spring time (September to November), it is cooler with average temperatures between 3°C and 17°C. Night times may still drop below zero and there is the possibility of strong winds and rain. The advantage of visiting in spring is that there are far fewer people on the trails and the refuges and campsites will be much quieter.

In Autumn (March to May), it is starting to get really cold and there is the possibility of snow. On the other hand, there is very few people around and it is a fantastic time to see wildlife such as pumas! In winter, temperatures will rarely go above 5°C and night times will be well below freezing. The landscape looks incredible under a layer of snow and ice but the conditions are extreme to say the least.

Safety and Security

Your safety and well-being is always the number one priority at Kandoo Adventures.

We operate all our travel destinations in accordance with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice, which publishes travel advisory notices for British nationals. We also closely follow the advice of ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents) which provides support to UK tour operators.  

In addition to this, our extensive, directly-managed operations in each of our destinations, provide us with detailed knowledge and up-to-date information, which enables us to make informed decisions and operate our trips safely.

We always recommend that you regularly check the FCDO's travel advice, in order to keep up to date about the country you are planning to visit.

If you are not a UK resident, we would recommend that you visit your government's travel advisory website for further information:

Alternatively, you may wish to visit our Travel Updates page or seek further information from the World Health Organisation.

Lost or delayed luggage

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage for your trekking tour around Patagonia. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows: 

  • Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item
  • If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution
  • We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush. You will be able to find everything you need in Buenos Aires. 

We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed. Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.

Peaceful lanscape in El Chalten National Park

Geography of Patagonia

Patagonia is a sparsely populated region at the southern most tip of the Andes Mountain range, it covers parts of Argentina and Chile. Well known for its mountains, fjords, lakes and glaciers, it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Atlantic Ocean to the east. To the south, various bodies of water connect the two oceans, the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel are the most well known. 

The South Patagonia Ice Field is approximately 350km long and covers an area of 12,363 square kilometres. It supports dozens of glaciers which flow either west into the Pacific or east into the Atlantic. With Kandoo Adventures you can visit two of the most impressive of these glaciers, the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina and Grey Glacier over the border in Chile which flows into Lago Grey in Torres del Paine National Park. There are two volcanoes buried under the ice field, Lautaro and Viedma. Due to their inaccessibility, buried below the ice, they are among the least researched volcanoes in the world.

Patagonia is home to a wide range of amazing wildlife including Mountain Lions, also known as Cougars or Puma. Other species to look out for are the Patagonian Grey Fox, Guanaco, Patagonian Armadillo and the iconic Andean Condor. There are 60 different mammal species in the region and nearly 400 different bird species.