Planning a solo trip to Chile? Sounds like fun! But there are an array of practical tips you may not have thought of that will make your trip more stress-free if you tackle them before you leave. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide for safe and exciting travels throughout one of South America’s most beautiful countries.
Preparing to go
Consider how you will communicate while you’re abroad. You could activate an international call plan with your service provider, purchase a SIM card in Chile for a local number on a prepaid plan with a domestic company, or turn off cellular data altogether and just use your phone in wifi mode – although, if you are traveling solo, it would be a good idea to be able to call in case of emergencies.
Passport and immunizations
Make sure your passport is updated and you have any required visas, and necessary immunizations or vaccines in plenty of time before you leave. Chile is a very developed country; however, depending on where you go, you might need to get some shots. Check here for recommendations.
Get ready for a lot of kissing. To greet one another, Chileans kiss once on the left cheek. You’ll greet everyone in a group, so if there are 11 people, get ready for 11 kisses. Unless you are man greeting a man, then a handshake or hug is more customary.
Spanish is spoken throughout Chile; however, you should know that Chileans are known for talking quickly and having a distinct vocabulary, especially in the south. We recommend brushing up on your language skills before you arrive, and having access to a dictionary throughout your stay. Spanishdict is free in the app store and will be very helpful. Another tool is the Chilean Spanish dictionary, as what you hear might not be what you have studied. Since slang is very common in the south especially, check out the dictionary. But, generally Chileans are kind and will work with you and your Spanish abilities, however limited.
Lodging is a big consideration when traveling. Fortunately, Chile has a huge hostel culture (ranging from boutique to backpacker) so wherever you go, Santiago or south to the Lakes Region and below, you’ll be able to find a reasonably priced room. Staying in a hostel is a great way to meet other travelers and make friends on your solo excursion. Just be sure to check the ratings and only choose well established places, as traveling alone makes you more vulnerable.
For the most part, it is easy to get around Chile. In Santiago, the metro is most popular, and like most big cities this can be complicated. Study up on how it works here. Also popular in Chile’s cities is Uber – a safe, reliable, clear way to travel alone, as you give your destination to the driver beforehand. This leaves no room for miscommunication if your language skills are below par. If you want to travel from the north to south or vice versa, Turbus is a great, inexpensive option for extensive trips. Once you get to smaller towns, you’ll notice the multitude of minibuses. They take you from town to town for a few thousand pesos (a few USD) and are relaxed and not too hard to figure out. They have a route, but will drop you off whenever you say “acá por favor” (here please). Lastly, there are taxis and colectivos. Good for short trips in town, colectivos will pick up multiple people at a time that are wanting to get somewhere within the town limit. Taxis are a one-party service and are the most expensive way to travel in Chile.
Tours are a great way to see things safely, especially if you are traveling on your own. Available for any type of excursion, skiing in the Andes, winery tours, Atacama Desert, Patagonia, etc, they’re all there for a fee. Chile’s various tour services will be a great way to see places that you might not have been able to otherwise. Check out the best tours here.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.