Chile Basic Information
For all its natural assets, there's more you'll need to bring to Chile than a comfortable pair of walking boots, your snowboard and a bathing suit. Knowledge is also key to a successful Chilean holiday. Like currency, visa requirements and what exactly is an empanada? Read on to find out the answers.
Australian passport holders do not require a visa to holiday in Chile, but must pay a reciprocity fee online before you enter the country. With all international travel, make sure you have at least 6 months' valiadity on your passport from your date of return to Australia. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For the latest visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of Chile.
The currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and Chilean Peso can change regularly, so in order to get the best exchange rate, aim to monitor the rate in the leadup to your trip.
In Chile, lunch is the most important meal of the day and typically enjoyed around 1pm and then continuing well and truly past the allocated hour we get in Australia. During the midday meal, a mass of corn, potatoes, beans and chilli are consumed. Fresh seafood is also incredibly popular and readily available in Chile, traditionally enjoyed as a local style of fish and chips or as an empanada filling. A hand-sized pastry shell filled with meat and potatoes, seafood or cheese, empanadas are a popular snack or meal in Chile. For a taste of Chilean cuisine, sink your teeth into a shrimp and cheese empanada. Another Chilean staple is corn - best enjoyed as a delicious corncake, which is traditionally beef cooked with onions and a sweet corn mixture. To wash it down, take your pick from the country's impressive range of Chilean wine or, if you like the stronger stuff, a pisco sour made with pisco brandy, lime juice, egg white and sugar .
While seaside cities like Coquimbo are capable of putting on a party, Chile's undisputed nightlife capital is Santiago where drinking sessions start around midnight and don't stop until the sun comes up. While bars can be found throughout the sprawling capital city, the bohemian neighbourhood of Bellavista and student hangout of Lastarria is where most of the action takes place. Another typically Santiago-style institution is the cafe con piernas, which translates as 'coffee with legs'. Scantically clad women wait on businessmen at these coffee shops but this establishment isn't considered sexist or only a male domain with some aimed at women too. Outside of the capital city, the Patagonia town of Puerto Natales is a hub for backpacker fun, particularly at Mama Rosa Bar where a pisco sour and a sunset view make for a winning combination.