The heart-stopping scale of the natural world in Chile is hard to express in words. A slim but incredibly long sliver of a country, Chile manages to pack in landscapes and vistas of every possible description, from the rich rainforests to the towering Andes, from the rugged Patagonian plains to the sweeping glaciers and fjords of the far south.
Flights to Chile
Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL), commonly called Santiago Airport, is the most common point of entry for international visitors to Chile. SCL serves over 15 million passengers every year. It’s a major hub for LAN Airlines, which accounts for more than 80% of passenger traffic at the airport. It also acts as a hub for Sky Airlines, Aerocardal, PAL Airlines, and One Airlines, which makes finding cheap flights to Chile a bit easier.
The airport is currently in the early stages of a massive, long-term expansion plan, which is intended to include new passenger terminals and a light railway. The full plan is expected to be completed in 2045. At the moment, SCL’s passenger facility consists of a single four-level terminal building.
What to Do in Chile
How you spend your visit and what you find to explore will depend entirely on your personal tastes and how much time you have to spare. Many visitors to Chile devote their trip to adventure tourism, hiking, trekking, and generally roughing it. Others prefer a bit more civilization, and that’s on offer, too.
The capital city, Santiago, has braved centuries of conflict to emerge with an urbane, gorgeous jewel-box of a city center. Every luxury is on offer here, from high-end shopping to delicious cocktails. The city also has its gritty side, from the barrios to the artist’s colonies.
Advice to Tourists Visiting Chile
Citizens of most western countries do not need an advance visa to visit Chile, but some will be required to pay a “reciprocity fee” on their first entry. The official language of Chile is Spanish, and while you’re likely to run into a few English speakers, especially in cities, you’d do well to study a primer or at least bring along a phrasebook. The currency is the Chilean peso.
The climate in Chile is extremely varied, depending on your location in the country. Just remember that the seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere, and that effect increases the further south you venture. Any time of year can be great in Chile, through June through August is the dead of winter and many attractions close up for the season. No matter what time of year you visit, plan ahead with Skyscanner’s free hotel price comparison tool to get the best deal on accommodation.
Images by Flickr/martingarri
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