A land of extremes - from the arid but mineral-rich Atacama Desert in the north to the southern icebergs of Patagonia where penguins live - there are few countries on earth that could claim such diversity and so many varied attractions than Chile. On a Chile tour with Bunnik Tours, you will discover the best of this incredible nation from the Torres del Paine National Park to Salar de Atacama. Join a Chile group tour online today or contact one of our friendly Travel Specialists.
Small Group Tours
On board Aurora's new purpose-built expedition ship, Greg Mortimer, witness the expanse of Antarctica followed by a visit to the Atacama Desert on a 3-night all-inclusive stay at the Nayara Alto Atacama hotel.
We've combined Chile, Argentina, Antarctica (on board Aurora's purpose-built, Greg Mortimer) and a 3-night all inclusive hotel stay in the Atacama Desert to create the ultimate adventure.
Unveil Chile and Argentina and experience the awe-inspiring immensity of Antarctica on board Aurora's purpose-built expedition ship, the Greg Mortimer.
Revitalise the mind, body and soul with this luxurious, all-inclusive 4-night stay in the heart of the Atacama Desert.
Early Antarctic explorers returned from their voyages to the deep south with tales of a magnificent, ice-covered land teeming with life.
Early Antarctic explorers returned from their voyages to the deep south with tales of a magnificent, ice-covered land teeming with life.
On board Aurora's Greg Mortimer, immerse yourself in the unimaginable beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Cross the amazing salt plains of the Atacama Desert, witness a diverse range of scenery, spot flamingos feeding on the salt lakes and take a dip in sulphur spring steam pools.
Sail through the southernmost region of the world on board the expedition ships Stella Australis and the newest ship, Ventus Australis, following legendary maritime routes through the Strait of Magellan.
This package takes you to the world’s driest desert and explores the salt flats of the Atacama. From the giant salt lake of Salar de Atacama and the Chaxa Lagoon, to traversing the incredible lunar landscape of Valle de la Luna, or Moon Valley.
The most scenic way to travel from Argentina to Chile! Enjoy Bariloche, one of the most scenic cities in the world, and then sail across Lake Nahuel Huapi and Frias Lake. Travel over the Andes mountains and cross Todos Los Santos Lake, which offers some spectacular views of Osorno Volcano.
Spend a wonderful 4 days exploring the intriguing UNESCO World Heritage-listed Easter Island, famous for its ancient monumental statues called Moais. Visit extinct volcano, Rano Kau, for views over the whole island, and see fascinating caves formed by lava tubes.
Journey deep into southern Chile’s Patagonia region and explore its remarkable landscapes. The exotic names - Torres del Paine National Park, Los Glaciares National Park and Punta Arenas - conjure up images of adventure and sheer natural beauty.
Chile Facts & Tips
Did you know?
- Chile borders three different countries: Argentina to the east; Bolivia to the northeast; and Peru to the north.
- Chile became part of the Spanish Vice Royalty of Peru in the mid sixteenth century. Led by Pedro de Valdivia, Spanish soldiers moved into the region and founded Santiago (1541).
- In 1817, the Spanish were defeated by the revolutionary forces of Bernardo O'Higgins and Jose de San Martin, the liberator of Argentina.
- Between 1879 and 1884 Chile was at war with Peru and Bolivia for control of the nitrate-rich Atacama Desert. Chile's victory added Tarapaca (Peru) and Antofagasta (Bolivia) to its territory.
- Since independence there has been alternation between military and civilian rule. In 1973 Salvador Allende, the first elected Marxist president in South America was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet who ruled until 1990.
- Forests, grazing land, volcanoes and lakes are all features of southern Chile, while mountains cover 80% of the country.
- Chile had to endure a 17-year military dictatorship between 1973-1990 that left more than 3,000 people either dead or missing.
- It is believed that Native Americans settled in Chile about 10,000 years ago.
- Chile is the world’s 38th largest country and is about twice the size of Japan.
- Chile claims about 1.25 million square kilometres of Antarctica (or roughly 9% of its total size) as Chilean territory.
- Copper is Chile’s number one export. The world’s largest open pit mine is found at Chuquicamata in northern Chile.
- Chile is the second-largest producer of salmon in the world.
- Chile provides North America with almost 15% of all its fruit sales during the months of November to April.
- Unlike most of the world, Chile is blessed with natural barriers. The fruit-growing region is protected by the Andes Mountains on the east, the Antarctic ice cap to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atacama Desert (driest in the world) to the north.
- The highest point in Chile is Nevado Ojos del Salado (6,880 metres).
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Chile need a visa at this time. An eVisa must be applied for before you travel online. This is not applicable for transit stays of up to 8 hours. Please visit the Passports and Visas page for more information.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
Australian Embassy in Chile:
Isidora Goyenechea 3621
13th Floor, Las Condes
Ph: +56 2 2550 3500
Fax: +56 2 2550 3560
The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso. Notes come in denominations of CH$20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, and 1,000 pesos. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Chilean Peso’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Santiago is approximately $2.50 USD
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately $9.50 USD
- The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately $23 USD
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately $3.75 USD
Chile has developed its own distinctive cuisine, which has its roots in its Spanish history. Dishes are generally heavy on the meat, and vegetarians may have difficulties conveying the notion of a meal without meat or fish. Due to its proximity to the sea, seafood is excellent in Chile. Salmon is abundant and has a stronger flavour than Australian varieties. As you travel through the central region just south of Santiago you cannot miss the fruit being grown and sold at the side of the main highway.
Specialities include: Cazuela de Ave, a soup consisting of vegetables and chicken; Lomo a la Pobre is poor man’s steak consisting of beef steak topped with fried egg, served with mashed potato and a basic garnish; Palta is similar to guacamole and a very common accompaniment; Salsa Tomate is a sauce made from vinegar, tomato, onion and coriander, often eaten with warm freshly baked flat bread as an appetiser; Empanada is typically a Chilean convenience food and is similar to a Cornish pasty made with beef or chicken and usually containing a piece of boiled egg and an olive. Chilean barbecue or Asado is a very popular choice and is usually served in a restaurant as a mixed grill where in the north of Chile alpaca meat is offered to try.
Chile also offers many delicious varieties of wine including Sauvignan Blanc as being the most well-known white grape, while the most famous red grape variety would have to be the Carménère for its diversity to blend with other grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Carménère originally thrived near Bordeaux in France during the 18th century but since a phylloxera plague in 1867 all the vineyards were destroyed making it difficult to replant. It now grows predominantly outside of France in Chile specifically in the Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley and the Maipo Province and has done for the past 150 years.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Chile has a temperate climate and can have four seasons in one day due to its geography. Generally, Chile is warmer in the north, getting cooler the further south you go. The far north is arid and hot all year round whereas, the south, by contrast, has a fairly steady rainfall all year where the temperature can drop the further you travel south. The warmest season is between October and April and the coldest is from May to September.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Taxis are black with a yellow roof and an orange licence plate. Most should have meters, but, find out roughly what the fare should be before climbing in if you can. Fares for long journeys should be agreed beforehand. Minicabs may not bear the standard colours but still carry the orange licence plate. Tipping is not expected.
When catching taxis, make sure you have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. We recommend you ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Chile…
Chile has a wide array of things to buy from earthy handicrafts to brand name goods. Every Chilean city has at least one shopping centre and department store. Ripleys and Falabella are the most common, the largest of the shopping malls in Santiago are in Las Condes where you can find many European and North American outlets. The local markets offer a mix of traditional handicrafts, most of which are extremely affordable. Colourful, hand-woven textiles are one of the best buys in Chile and can be found all over the country. Ponchos, rugs or wall hangings make a very authentic purchase. Weavings crafted by the native Mapuche people of southern Chile are particularly stunning. Also look for cashmere jumpers and llama or alpaca rugs.
Chile is also well-known for its precious and semi-precious stones, in particular lapis lazuli, jade, amethyst and onyx. Chilean wine is a great souvenir to bring home, with some excellent varieties that cannot be found anywhere else such as the Carménère.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
Chile has an abundance of traditional celebrations and festivities throughout the calendar year. From grape harvests to sporting events, Chile also has some of the most fascinating festivals delighting all of the senses and bringing the country to life. The Winter Festival of the Patagonian region in Punta Arenas is a 2 day event held in late June where it’s a pure celebration of colourfully-decorated floats and dancers in their traditional costumes lining the streets enjoying the beginning of winter with great food and fireworks lighting the night sky.
September 18th in Chile commemorates the beginning of Chile’s independence from the Spanish Crown with many festivities held around the country annually where they can last up to a week. Celebrations typically consists of Fondas or traditional barbecues with many an empanada and chicha consumed. Santiago being the capital of Chile hosts a large Fonda in O’Higgins Park where hundreds of people dance the cueca, the national dance.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Holy Saturday (Easter Saturday)
- Labour Day / May Day (May 1st)
- Navy Day (May 21st)
- Saint Peter and Saint Paul (June 29th)
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16th)
- Assumption of Mary (August 15th)
- National Day (September 18th)
- Army Day (September 19th)
- Columbus Day (October 12th)
- Reformation Day (October 31st)
- All Saints’ Day (November 1st)
- Immaculate Conception Day (December 8th)
- Christmas Day
San Pedro de Atacama
Located in northern Chile, and high in the Andes Mountains, San Pedro de Atacama and its surrounds are as different from the southern fjords as you could get. San Pedro de Atacama is characterised by a dry, rocky, almost lunar landscape where there is lots of volcanic activity, including geysers and hot springs. On the other hand the diversity of the breathtaking salt flats will amaze and astound you of the sheer natural beauty of the region.
Chile’s capital, Santiago was founded in 1541 at the foot of the Santa Lucia Hill, under the gaze of the snow-capped Andes mountains. Plaza de Armas is at the heart of Santiago and is a good starting point for exploring its streets, colonial architecture, shopping malls and markets. As you’d expect from a South American capital city, it comes alive at night! There are numerous places to eat, especially around Las Condes where you can find upmarket and diverse restaurants and cafes. Going out in Santiago can involve anything from salsa dancing the night away in Latino bars to more European style nights out in large clubs playing anything from techno to house and Euro-pop.
South of Santiago, Pucon has become an exciting destination for Chileans and foreigners alike for its adventure wonderland and beautiful landscapes in the lake district of Chile. One of the things that has made this city famous is the exceptional views of Villarrica Volcano, one of the most active volcanos in Chile and at almost 3,000 metres above sea level it is the background of this charmingly picturesque town. Pucon is an outdoor lovers’ paradise with every type of outdoor activity imaginable on offer ranging from hiking trails to water sports and white-water rafting.
What is the best month to visit Chile?
Chile is a wonderful destination all year round! The best time to book a Chile tour package is during spring time, from September to November and summer time, from December to March. This is the perfect climate for a range of outdoor activities and patagonia adventures as it is sunny and warm. If you’re wanting to see the snow, then we recommend visiting during the winter months, from June to August.
How many days do you need in Chile?
It all depends on what you would like to do and see in Chile. We recommend choosing from our independent travel packages, where you can spend 3 to 5 days exploring all the fascinating natural landscape that Chile has to offer.
Bunnik Tours also offer 4 to 7 day tour extensions if you want to spend more time exploring the Atacama Desert, the Bariloche Lake Crossing, Easter Island and the Chilean Patagonia region.
Is Chile good for tourists?
Chile is a safe destination for travel. They have low crime rates, but please ensure you keep all your personal possessions and valuables safe and secure. The local community is very friendly towards tourists, so just make sure you are respectful of their culture and customs for the best possible travel experience.
How can I tour Chile as a responsible traveller?
At Bunnik Tours, we believe in responsible travel and sustainable tourism. For more information, visit our Sustainable Tourism hub.
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South & Central America Destinations
Fall in love with the hustle & bustle of Buenos Aires, don your dancing shoes for a tango lesson & be amazed by the Iguazu Falls.
Cross the amazing salt plains of the Atacama Desert, travel to Lake Titicaca & take a dip in sulphur spring steam pools.
See the statue of Christ the Redeemer, explore Rio de Janeiro, visit Sugar Loaf Mountain & enjoy a Brazilian churrasco grill dinner.
Discover the lush scenery of the Coffee Triangle, wander through the streets of Bogotá & Medellin & visit Cartagena.
Wander through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, see beautiful flora and fauna at the Arenal National Park & fall in love with San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city.
Visit Trinidad, discover the beauty of Havana, relax on sandy, palm-fringed shores & see the stunning El Nicho Waterfalls of Cienfuegos.
Visit the Guamote Market, hike to the Devil's Cauldron waterfall & see Mitad del Mundo, the Middle of the World.