What you need to know before going to Chile

While preparing for the travel and during my stay in Chile I learned things, which I did not know about the country before. Knowing these things before traveling would have been useful to better survive culture shock. I collected you the 6 things to know about Chile before you travel. 

Tsunami zone
Land of earthquakes
Chile sits on the western edge of the South American Plate, while the Nazca Plate from the Pacific Ocean keeps plunging under, therefore the many earthquakes and tsunamis. During the one month of my stay in Chile, I felt smaller earthquakes almost every week. If you stay at the coastal part you will see tables showing you where is the tsunami and dangerous zone, and where is the evacuation zone. The Chileans are well prepared for possible emergency situations. There are yearly pilots when the buzzer alerts people who have to run to the evacuation area. At time of real tsunami you have one hour until the first waves reach the coast. However super-earthquake (above 8) happens only once in every 100 years.

Distance vs. Landscape
San Pedro de Atacama
The country lays on the coast of the Pacific Ocean with a length of 4300km. Huge distances, but diverse landscape. Chile is divided into three major regions and all of them has their tourist paradises.
  • The north is dry, industrial and the most expensive region. It is the center of the copper industry, which brings a lot of profit as 1/3 of the world’s copper production is produced in Chile. Touristic point: San Pedro de Atacama.
  • The central part is where the capital, Santiago lays. This is the political, cultural and business center of the country, where the majority of the population concentrates. Touristic point: Santiago & Valparaíso.
  • The southern part is the cooler and more humid region with rainfalls, green forests and glaciers. This is the favourite place for adventure travelers. Touristic point: Concepción.

Hug me!
Chilean are very friendly people. When you meet Chileans expect that men will hug you, while women will give you two big kisses. If you are also open with them, you will make friends and you will get all the help you need.


Do you speak Spanish?
The Chilean Spanish was one of the most difficult accent for me to understand. Even though I speak Spanish, sometimes I had no clue what the conversation was about. If you would not be a master of Spanish, do not worry, more and more youngsters speak English, plus due to the good living conditions you will find many foreigners settled down in the country.

Chile is one of the most well developed countries in Latin-America, and the prices also reflect on that. (Had the 45th biggest GDP in 2011.) When you plan to travel there do not expect the same low level of prices which you will see in Peru or Bolivia, but consider something similar to prices in Eastern-Europe, sometimes even Western-Europe. Transportation is cheap, food is reasonable, but accommodation and touristic offers are tailored for Western purses.

This is a very delicate topic. On the one hand you will find the best seafood and wine in Chile. Once we went to a wine tasting in Antofagasta and I can assure you that it was an unforgettable night!
On the other hand Chilean do not eat healthy: lot of white bread, 4 bags of sugar in one cup of tea, fizzy and sugary drinks for every meal and whole grilled chickens per person. In a country where mineral water costs more than coke, people have problem with their weight.
When ordering coke, do not say Coca Cola, because „coca” means something else for them. Ask for Coke. :)

About Tiny Girl With Big Bag

Hobby writer and autodidact photographer whose passion is to travel and get to know new people and cultures. She has been on 4 continents and 30 countries, and the outcome is this travel blog where she shares travel stories, thoughts, tips and photography always through a subjective eye.

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  1. Buen resumen de mi bello pais :) bienvenida cuando quieras. (jorgemidas Cs Santiago de Chile)

    1. Muchas gracias Jorge! estoy planeando mi viaje ahora, en un rato voy a ver cuando estaría en qué lugar :)