The Republic of Chile is located in the southwestern margin of South America, between 17º and 56º 30’ south latitude. It is known for being a long and narrow country (4,200 kilometers long and between 91 and 440 kilometers wide) bordered by the Andes mountain chain on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Due to its great length and the influence of the sea and mountains, the country possesses a wide variety of climates and landscapes: beaches, mountains, deserts, forests, plains, valleys, fjords and ice fields.
On the coast the climate is mild, usually known as mediterranean coast weather. More information, about the weather in Chile today, here.
The city and the region is located in the central part of the country, extending from the Andes mountain range and projected into the Pacific Ocean through the Juan Fernandez archipielago and Easter Island.
The Valparaiso Region is emerging as the gateway to Chile either by land, through Los Libertadores border crossing; by sea, through the port of Valparaiso; or air, thanks to its proximity to the main international airport of the country, Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Santiago, located 108 kilometers south.
In the year 2003, UNESCO resolved – unanimously – in favour of including a part of the Historical Zone of the city on the list of World Heritage Zones. It's a sector of the city with harbour-like characteristics whose outline and architecture are a response to a particular geographical and topographical medium. In this case, the geographical conditions were so strong, that the adaptation of the buildings gave way to an original and unique result. Along with other neighboring urban hubs such as Viña del Mar, Concón, Quilpué and Villa Alemana, the city is part of the conurbation of Greater Valparaiso. The city is in the form of a large natural amphitheater, located in a bay surrounded by hills, where most of the population lives. From the foot of the hills to the sea we have the downtown area – also known as plan – which is the business, commercial and financial center of the city, while the shoreline is currently occupied by the port.
Access to Valparaíso from the airport is through Route 68, about a 1.5 hours ride.
The official language of the country is Spanish, but in the accommodation and tourism industry employees commonly communicate in english.
The official language of the ICMM 2017 Congress is English. Simultaneous interpretation for Spanish speakers will be provided during the Congress sessions.
The Spanish word for tip is propina.
Good tipping is usually remembered and the service is often even better the next time you return to a place. Tipping in Restaurants is not mandatory; but is usually 10%. However, you must be careful to check the bill before giving a tip because sometimes it is already included; though that is not the norm.
At supermarkets, there are young people that put your groceries in the plastic shopping bags. They don’t get a salary; they depend entirely on tips. So, giving them a couple of coins is always appreciated.
Taxi drivers in Chile are not tipped.
But, remember: some people expect tips even if the service is terrible. Please, don’t feel obliged to give one.
The local currency is known as the Chilean Peso. It is avaiable in the following Coins and Notes/Bills:
Chilean Coins: $1 - $5 - $10 - $50 - $100 - $500
Chilean Notes / Bills: $1.000 - $2.000 - $5.000 - $10.000 - $20.000 - ($500*)
* There is a rare $500 note floating around which is still legal tender but you will almost always see the coin version. If you find one, keep it as a souvenir.
You will have no problem changing US dollars or Euros into Chilean Pesos. It's highly recommended to change money only in Money Exchange Houses. You can only change notes, not coins. Here you can find today's exchange rates for the EURO or US DOLLAR.
Cash does get a better exchange rate than traveler's checks but shop around. Most Money Exchange Houses are found together in the same area. In Valparaíso there are many Casa de Cambios on Cochrane, Prat and Esmeralda Streets. The exchange rates are not so good in the shopping malls but they are handy on the weekend in an emergency. The AFEX exchange branches tend to be the most reliable Money Exchange Offices. In Valparaìso, AFEX is located in Cochrane Street, 828 and its open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 18:30 hrs. And saturday from 09:00 to 14:00 hrs. (AFEX Web site)
And, please, never try to change money on the street.
There are some touristic places that will accept US dollars, though the exchange rate is never good and try not to change money at the airport except in an emergency as the exchange rate is very poor.
There are many ATM money machines throughout Chile and most of them can be used to take out money from back home but please verify with your bank first.
Most major credit cards are accepted in Chile. If you want to buy something with a credit card, be careful with other people watching while you enter your PIN number (PinPass). This will help prevent credit card fraud; which is good both for the cardholder and businesses. Some international credit cards will still need a signature instead of PIN number.
Make sure your credit card never leaves your sight. There have been many reports of credit cards being cloned, especially at restaurants.
The local tax in Chile is called I.V.A (Impuesto al Valor Agregado - Value Added Tax). The I.V.A tax is 19% and the prices that appear in the stores almost always have the tax included.
In Chile the normal electric current is 220 volts and 50 Hertz. So, it’s recommended that you bring a suitable adapter for your electrical devices.
We recommend that visitors take out travel insurance before visiting Chile. Also, check with the travel insurance company about 24-hour emergency medical coverage and contact numbers. When you are in Chile, carry with you records of the insurance policy as well as the insurance providers’ hotline for identification purposes in case of an emergency. Keep in mind, that some insurance companies require records from hospitals, police or other appropriate authorities in order to process claims.
HOW TO DIAL FROM CHILE
Calling from Chile to abroad: city code + phone number
From landlines to mobile: 9+ cel number
From mobile to fixed: area code + phone number
For the emergency services, dial de appropiate three numbers from the list below:
131 Connects to the Emergency Medical Care Service (SAMU) or Ambulance.
132 Connects directly to the Fire Station, independently of the building concerned, under the Chilean National Firefighters Council's continuous fire services.
133 Connects to Uniformed Police (Carabineros de Chile).
134 Connects to Investigation Police (PDI)
137 Connects to the Maritime Rescue Unit (Navy)
138 Connects to the Air Rescue (FACH)
Interpol Foreign Office in Valparaiso: 32·2261215 – 32·2261216