Tip 10% in restaurants and hotels. Do not tip taxi drivers,
though you may leave loose change. Tip bell hops 500 to 1,000
Bus fare is usually 150-200 pesos, paid upon boarding, and
drivers can usually change up to a 1,000-peso bill.
Driving around is the best way for an overview of the city
and surrounding countryside. Between May and August, roads,
underpasses, and parks can flood when it rains, and they can
become very dangerous, especially for drivers who don't know
their way around. Avoid driving if it has been raining for
With almost 50,000 taxis in Santiago, you can flag one down
on most streets; the average ride costs around $10 (more for
designated airport taxis). Radio-dispatched cabs are slightly
more expensive but will pick you up at your door.
Santiago's Metro rail link is modern, comfortable, cheap,
and safe. Every station has a clear map of all three lines,
with adjoining streets. The Universidad de Chile stop
on Line 1 is the main station for the city center; the Escuela
Militar is the upper-class end of the city; and Pudahuel
is the poorer, less developed area.
Buy tickets in the glass booths at the stations; a boleto
valor (value ticket)--good for up to 10 journeys and valid
on all three metro lines--is the cheapest.
Chilean official currency is the Peso. Traveler's cheques
are safer than cash, but in smaller town and out-of-the-way
locations, it can be difficult to find a bank to exchange.
It is advisable to carry some cash. Credit cards are widely
Businesses typically open at 8am. Shops close at noon until
3 or 4pm, then reopen until 8 or 9pm. Banks are open only
in the mornings.
Local Customs and Etiquette
In Chile, people are especially courteous with visitors. When
meeting someone, shaking hands is customary. Dinner invitations
are usually attended in formal attire or fashionable sports
wear, but rarely in jeans.
Tourist information is available free of charge from Sernatur,
the national tourism agency, throughout the country.
Chile poses few health risks to visitors from abroad. Even
so, it is advisable for visitors to drink only bottled water.
Vegetables and seafood should be cooked before eating. There
is first-class health care in all of the major cities.
In comparison to other parts of the world, travelling in Chile
is relatively safe, and visitors can travel freely and without
concern. Nonetheless, the following precautions should be
taken in all major cities:
Do not carry wallets, or cameras in sight.
Leave parked cars locked and without valouable objects
Should police assistance be required, contact Carabineros
de Chile (the local police, who are characterized by a green
uniform and may be seen on the streets) immediately.
Police Stations are shown on city maps. Emergency telephone: