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.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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.
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