Chile is four hours behind GMT
The national currency is the Chilean Peso. Banks and post offices in the UK generally don’t keep Chilean pesos in stock so it’s best to pre-order if you wish to take cash with you. When out there, ATMs and exchange bureaus in larger cities will offer the best exchange rate. Try to carry smaller denominations of pesos with you when heading to rural areas because you may struggle to find vendors with enough change. ATMs in rural areas also regularly run out of cash by 16:00 so plan ahead.
Electricity and Plugs
The voltage is 220-230 volts and you’ll find a variety of plugs are used so take a universal adapter.
Shops are generally open from 10:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday, and from 10:00 to 13:00 on Saturday. Some shopping centres are open until 21:00. Some supermarkets are open on Sunday.
Television: the main terrestrial channels are: Channel 7 (Television Nacional de Chile); Channel 13 (Television); Channel 9 (Megavision) and Channel 11 (Chilevision). There are also many cable channels.
Newspapers: Estrategia covers economic news from Chile and Latin America. It’s resolutely liberal and targets economic decision makers. La Tercera was launched in 1950 and is widely read by the middle class – it has an especially good sport section. Another good Chilean newspaper is America Economia, established in 1986 by the Chilean, Elias Selman, and Swede, Nils Strandberg. It was one of the first economic journals in Latin America and is highly respected among liberal businessmen and women. In terms of radio, Chile has many radio stations including Radio Cooperativa and Radio Chilena.
You will find, in all major cities, post offices where you can buy stamps (also in kiosks at some airports). A letter will typically take seven to ten days to reach the UK. We recommend that you post your letters in post boxes rather than through hotel receptionists, which can be less reliable.
In the cities, many public phones allow easy international connections. Many traveller also buy SIM cards on arrival. To phone Chile from the UK, add 00 56 to the front of the number you’re dialling (removing the first zero from the number you’re dialling). To call the UK from Chile, use 00 44 before dialling the number (again, without the first zero). Most hotels are connected to the international network but beware, calls are billed at two to three times more expensive, on average, than at a phone box. In addition, after four to five rings, even if the person you’re calling hasn’t picked up, a basic flat fee will be charged. Phone calls are also very expensive, in particular, in Patagonia.
Internet & Mobile Coverage
3G and 4G coverage is pretty good across Chile, although you may struggle in the seriously rural areas. Mobile phone coverage is also decent but we recommend you check with your operator for conditions of access to local networks.