Chile travel facts
- Motto: ‘Por la razón o la fuerza’ meaning, ‘By right or by might’.
- Population: 17.2 million people live in Chile, consisting of a fairly homogenous mestizo population with a few indigenous groups ranging from Mapuche in the Lake District, Yámana and Kawéskar (around 2,800) in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.
- Economy: One of the most developed countries in Latin America, Chile has the steadiest growth in the region and the lowest level of corruption in Latin America.
- Law: Chile only legalised divorce in 2004.
- Politics: Although notorious for the Pinochet’s infamous military dictatorship during the 1970s and 1980s, Chile otherwise has a long history of parliamentary democracy.
What To Bring
There are several important things to remember when packing:
Pack layers: it’s a good idea to bring warm weather clothing which you can then take off as the day progresses.
Protect your skin: Using a sunhat, sunscreen, and protective clothing are just a few ways to take care of your skin, as well as trying to stay out of the sun during the main part of the day.
Hiking boots – There is some excellent hiking
Lightweight hiking pants – Hiking pants made from a lightweight, airy material will make a world of difference when it comes to comfort and cooling down during the heat of the day. Pants that can unzip into shorts are a great option as well, as you can start out with long pants during the cold morning and then transition to shorts during the heat of the day.
Long pants (jeans or leggings) – For hiking you’ll want more flexible, breathable hiking pants but for just walking around town and in the cooler evenings and mornings, bring along some jeans or cotton leggings for something warm.
Solar protection blouses/shirts –
T-shirts/ short sleeve shirts– Loose, comfortable t-shirts are ideal for hiking during the heat of the day.
Sunhat – Protect your head from those high desert rays!
Fleeces/ sweaters –
Shorts/ capri pants
Warm hat and gloves – For those cold nights and mornings!
Flip flops – To visit sites like the Puritama hot springs or Lagunas Baltinache, you’ll want to have a pair of flip flops for moving from pool to pool.
Heavy-duty sandals – For easy day trips that won’t require a lot of hiking, crossing streams during multi-day treks, or when exploring towns like San Pedro, some sturdy sandals (like Tevas) will definitely come in handy, as well as giving your feet a break from stuffy hiking boots.
Backpack – For day trips, you’ll need a comfy backpack to carry your essentials for the day: sunscreen, water bottle, hat, glasses, layers, etc. Something lightweight would be best, made with a breathable, airy material.
Camera – This tour is a visually stunning place, with volcanoes, geysers, salt flats, shimmering high altitude lakes, and diverse wildlife, and you’ll want to bring a good camera to capture those sights.
Reusable water bottle – Not only is using a reusable water bottle environmentally friendly, it’s important! Spending time in the high, arid desert of southern Chile takes a toll on your body so drinking plenty of water throughout the day, whether you’re physically exerting yourself or not, is important.
Sunscreen – Not only are you in a desert but a high altitude one: the sun is extremely strong here and the white sands and salt flats are strong reflective surfaces, so be sure to apply sunscreen all over and reapply throughout the day. SPF 50 or higher.
Eye drops – For those with contact lens or prescription lens, the dry climate of the high desert may be a strain on the eyes, so don’t forget some eye droplets to add a little moisture.
Medication – If you have any prescription medication, be sure to bring along plenty for the trip, just in case the pharmacies where you’re staying don’t carry what you need. Keeping some Advil or Ibuprofen on hand as well in case of headaches caused by the altitude is also a good idea (see below).
Lip balm (with SPF protection)
Snacks – Pack some light snacks like protein bars and fruit for day hikes to give you that little extra boost of energy when the heat of the day is getting to you.
Basic first aid – Even though your guide and hotels will have first aid kits, it never hurts to bring some band-aids along on day trips just in case.
Aloe vera lotion – In the event you do get a sunburn, keep some aloe vera lotion on hand to massage onto the burn at the end of the day to help soothe it and speed up the healing process.
Feel free to ask your expert trip designer any questions you may have about this packing list.