The official currency is the Chilean Peso. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club are regularly accepted throughout the country, though visitors should not count on being able to use their card in rural areas. Storeowners will sometimes charge more for purchases made with a credit card. The easiest way to obtain local currency is by using ATMs.
You can exchange money at any established “Casa de Cambio” at market driven exchange rates. They are common in commercial areas as well as in shopping malls. US Dollars are often accepted in more touristic areas and in hotels. Foreign travellers who pay in dollars are exempt from paying the 19% IVA tax. Travellers cheques can be cashed at the banks or the exchange houses in main cities, but passports are essential for these transactions.
Guests must ensure that they bring sufficient memory cards and batteries as these may not be readily available.
Guests must remember to ask permission before taking a photograph of any local resident. South Americans are renowned for being friendly; however it is courteous to ask permission before snapping away.
Passport and Visa requirements
Guests are advised to check with their consulate for the latest visa information. It is a mandatory requirement that guests travel to South America with at least two blank passport pages per country visited and that their passport is valid for 6 months after the date of travel. If there is insufficient space in the passport, entry into a country could be denied. We advise you make copies of all your important documents (visa, passport, credit cards, air tickets, etc.). In case they are misplaced as it will make replacing them much easier.
Single parents or grandparents travelling with a child (minor under age of 18) should be aware that most countries in Latin America require notarised, written parental consent for the child to travel from the non-custodial parent or absent parents.
Citizens of most Western European countries do not require a visa for Chile, please check with your consulate if this applies to your country.
Chilean Reciprocity Fee – Australian and Mexican citizens do not require a visa, but must pay a one-time “reciprocity fee” upon arrival at Santiago’s International Airport. This fee corresponds to the amount a Chilean national must pay when travelling to those countries. The fee is valid for the duration of your passport. Western European and US guests are not required to pay a “reciprocity fee”.
How to pay – Payment can be made in cash (Chilean Pesos or US Dollars) or by Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards.
Tourist Card – A 90-day tourist card is issued to all arriving visitors (normally during the flight to Santiago), and this is renewable for another 90 days at the Departamento de Extranjeria.