Backpacking Chile


Chile has nearly 4,000 miles of coastline stretching from the deserts of the north to the Patagonia region in the south. Long and thin, Chile is easy to travel and much like neighbouring Argentina, Chile is rich in scenic beauty, culture and friendly people. You certainly won’t be short of entertainment here. Hit the beaches on the coast’s surf towns, feel the European vibes in Santiago and explore the maze-like cerros of Valparaiso. Our Chile backpacking guide will help you to have the trip of a lifetime.

Valparaiso, Chile


UK citizens do not require a visa to visit Chile. So long as your passport is valid for 6 months you may stay for up to 90 days. Upon arrival you will be issued with a tourist card which you will need to have on your person at all times during your stay.


Entry fee: N/A

Exit fee: N/A

From Argentina - The crossing between Santiago and Mendoza is nestled deep in the stunning scenery of the Andes mountains, for hours you pass nothing but rock. Despite its remoteness it's well organised and pretty efficient. Your bus will get into a line where each bus and its passengers will be processed in order. Although you'll more than likely have to kill a few hours until your turn, once you're up you'll be through in no time.

To read more about other border crossings in South America and tips on how to cross like a pro click here.


Santiago -

Chile’s capital is full of energy and a great place to visit museums, check out local markets, eat and enjoy the thriving night life.

Santiago, Chile

Valparaiso -

Only a short drive from Santiago, this colourful seaside city is somewhat of a paradise. A chilled out, bohemian vibe and stunning street art are just the tip of the iceberg.

Valparaiso, Chile

Sun, sea and surf -

Vina del Mar, Arica and Pichilemu are awesome beach towns along the coast with the latter two offering up great waves for surfers.

Renaca, Chile

Pucon -

This adventure tourism hot-spot in Chile’s beautiful Lake District is popular for hiking, water sports and climbing the Villarrica volcano.

Humberstone & Santa Laura -

Once thriving in the nitrate trade, these towns have been abandoned since the early 1960’s. Remnants of their heydays are still evident for those who dare to explore these ghost towns.

Torres Del Paine National Park-

Mountains, wildlife and glaciers. Everything which encompasses Chile’s Patagonia region.

Easter Island-

Legend and myth surrounds the world famous Moai statues on the island. A must on any Chile itinerary.

San Pedro De Atacama-

A town set in Chile’s northern Andes mountains. The dramatic landscapes include desert, volcanoes and salt flats.

Valle De Luna-

The moon valley is found in the Los Flamencos National Reserve and features beautiful rock formation and some of the most uninhibited views of the stars possible on earth.

El Tatio-

A series of natural geysers in the north.

Lınguimay & Frutillar-

Gorgeous lakeside towns off the beaten path. Located in the picturesque south.


Chile completes the expensive trifecta of South America which also consists of Brazil and Argentina. It will come as little surprise that Chile, much like the others, is pretty expensive. On average, for 2 people, we were spending about 48,000 CLP (£54.10) per day. That figure includes accommodation, transport, activities, food and, of course, beers. Chile's colourful currency is the Peso (CLP) and its exchange rate to GBP is currently around £1=887.

A private double room in a hostel or cheap hotel will run you around 20,000 CLP (£22.55) and dorm beds in the the region of 7,500-10,000 CLP (£8.45-11.25).

As with everywhere, you can spend as much or as little as you like on food. If you're sticking to street food you won't be spending much more than 2,500 CLP (£2.80) for a nice, filling meal and you can expect to pay a minimum of 4,000 CLP (£4.50) for a meal in a local restaurant and 8,500 CLP (£9.60) for western style food.


Bus travel in Chile is as easy and comfortable as anywhere in Europe. Buses cover the  entirety of the country.  The average price per hour of bus travel in Chile is 1,500 CLP (£1.65).

Example journeys:

  • Santiago to Valparaiso - 2hours - 3,000 CLP (£3.40)
  • Santiago to Pucon - 9.5 hours - 14,000 CLP (£15.80)
  • Vina Del Mar to Puerto Montt - 13 hours - 19,000 CLP (£21.40)

Chile is a very long country and bus travel can be time consuming. When planning your trip, look for domestic flights which can be quiet cheap and its worth weighing up the advantages you might gain from paying a little extra for quick painless flight especially if travelling to the north where you will have to pass through vast amounts of desert.


Chile is officially ranked as the safest country on the continent. Don't be flashy with cash, jewellery or electronics, avoid being out alone after dark and only use registered taxis which staff in most bars, clubs and restaurants will call for you.

One potential danger to be wary of in Chile is fake taxis. There have been many reports of tourists getting into unlicensed taxis only to be robbed at gunpoint. This is most common with airport taxis. As with any destination on the backpacker trail you need to keep a sharp eye on your belongings on buses and in and around stations, cities and major attractions as petty crime and bag theft is always a concern.

Final thing; make sure to have these numbers saved in your phone -

  • Police: 133
  • Ambulance/Fire: 131/132
  • Tourist Police: +56 5 5285 1420
  • Your Embassy (UK): +56 2 2370 4100

Backpacking Chile