Chilling in Chile: How to travel smart
When you hear the word ‘Chile’ do you start to sweat a little? No wonder if you do – not only is ‘chili’ a fiery spice, but it’s also a zesty country in South America!
If you want to spice up your travel bucket list, then you have to add Chile! Here are a couple of suggestions on where you should go when you get there, as well as some information on how to explore the country safely.
1. Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Not sure if you’re familiar with Easter Island? Well, you might not recognise the name, but this region is famous for its Moai statues – the stone-carved faces. These statues are found in the northeast, overlooking a dramatic landscape that will certainly take your breath away. The ancient ruins and old volcanoes are a must-see – however, the island also has some beaches you can hang out on if you want to soak up the sun!
2. Chilean Patagonia
Patagonia isn’t just a comfortable outdoor clothing company, it’s an amazing region in Chile! There’s tonnes to do in this spot as well – everything from gorgeous hikes in the Torres del Paine National Park (known worldwide for its scenic trail) to Punta Arenas, the bustling city around the Strait of Magellan. Chilean Patagonia is one of the more popular places to visit in South America.
As long as you’re in Chile, you have to visit its capital: Santiago. The city has a unique location sitting in a valley with the Andes on one side and the Chilean Coast Range mountains on the other. Santiago itself has a stunning array of architecture, mixing modern skyscrapers with its original colonial buildings. To see it all, you can either visit the top of the Gran Torre Santiago, (the city’s massive high rise) or take a trek through the Metropolitan Park overlooking the contrast of the city and the Andes.
Staying safe in Chile
There’s no doubt about it, the endless attractions in South America make for one action-packed trip! However, since Chile is such a big tourist destination, it’s not without scams that are designed to target tourists. For the most part, violent incidents are rare in Chile, but it does have some petty crime. As long as you’re aware of some of these tricks you can better protect yourself and stay safe! Here are a couple of things to watch out for:
Helping the university students
If you’re visiting Santa Lucia in Santiago, then you will want to be cautious of people approaching you and asking to help donate to the students who have expensive tuition to pay for. Typically, the scammer will approach you, read a poem and request a donation – they may even have a ‘student’ with them. Politely decline to hear the poem in the first place and walk away.
General petty crime
The city isn’t unlike any other, if you aren’t paying attention to where your belongings are, you might end up getting them snatched. When you’re in crowded, touristy areas, make sure you know exactly where your things are. Move wallets to your front pocket or ensure your bag is properly zipped and crossed over your body. If you’re sitting down at a cafe or restaurant, don’t leave your bag draped across your chair.
Protests and demonstrations
In the past, there have been some protests or demonstrations between rebels and the Chilean government. These can turn violent, so it’s best to avoid them if you see one when you’re there.