Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin
plugs and round three-pin plugs (in-line) are used.
The official language is Spanish.
Tips of 10% is expected in restaurants. It is not customary to
tip taxi drivers but it is usual to round up the fare if they help
with luggage. In general tipping small amounts is customary for all
Chile is a politically stable country with very few threats to
the traveller. Incidences of pick-pocketing and mugging are on the
increase and travellers should take care of their belongings,
especially around tourist areas and bus stations, and avoid walking
alone late at night. Tourists should be particularly cautious in
the Lake District as theft is on the increase, and muggings are
becoming more common in popular walking areas such as Cerro San
Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia and Cerro Manquehue. There has been an
increase in reports regarding people receiving spiked drinks at
nightclubs and bars particularly in Santiago. Avoid any involvement
in demonstrations, which take place from time to time. Chile has a
landmine problem, mainly restricted to border areas adjacent to
Peru and Bolivia in regions I and II, and Argentina in region XII,
and also in wilderness areas in those regions. Visitors are advised
to stick to marked roads, obey all signs and seek the advise of
local authorities if travelling to the border areas of regions I,
II or XII. The Chaiten volcano erupted on 2 May 2008 resulting in
major ash fall and the evacuation of residents in the areas of
Chaiten and Futaleufu. The exclusion zone has been reduced to 15
miles (24km) surrounding the volcano, but it is still active and
visitors are warned that a threat still exits.
Bargaining is not practiced in street markets or stores. It is
considered polite for smokers to offer cigarettes to travel
companions before lighting up themselves.
Chilean business culture tends to be formal, and this includes
dress, which should also be conservative. In business, Chileans
should be addressed by their titles and surnames, unless otherwise
stated. Businesses are often family-run. Third party introductions
are indispensable when arranging a meeting, and developing a
personal relationship is key. Chileans stand very close when
conversing and it is impolite to pull away. Visitors are also
expected to re-confirm appointments before arriving at a meeting.
Foreigners should be on time for meetings, but it is not unusual
for the host to be 15-30 minutes late. On introduction, a firm
handshake and exchange of business cards is usual - cards should be
printed in both English and Spanish and care should be taken to pay
attention to the card before putting it away carefully. Business
hours are generally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with a two-hour
siesta over lunch.
The international access code for Chile is +56. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the
United Kingdom). The area code for Santiago is (0)2. Internet cafes
are available in the main towns. A number of telephone companies
offer different rates for national and international calls,
depending on the time of day. Public phones are widely available
and international call centres are available in most shopping
malls. Mobile phone companies have roaming agreements with most
international cell phone companies; otherwise mobile phones can
easily be rented. A GSM 1900 network is in operation. Internet
cafes are widespread, particularly in the big cities.
Travellers entering Chile do not need to pay customs duty on 400
cigarettes, 50 cigars (large or small) and 500g tobacco; 2.5 litres
of alcohol; and perfume for personal use. Meat products, flowers,
fruit and vegetables may only be imported if permission is given by
the Department of Agriculture in advance.