Money, banks, exchange - The Traveller


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Money, banks, exchange

Currency and exchange

- The currency is the Chilean peso (Ch $).
In early 2011, € 1 was worth about $ 640 and $ 100 Ch Ch worth € 0.15.
- The euro is easily changed in Santiago and in most regions of Chile, although the courses are generally worse than for the dollar.
Furthermore, in top class hotels, billing is often done in dollars. If you plan to travel to some remote areas, we advise you to take greenbacks; attention, their condition must be perfect, otherwise they will not always be accepted.
- The casas de cambio are generally closed on Saturday afternoon (not all) and Sunday. Banks are open weekdays from 9 to 14.
The exchange rate can vary significantly by region: it is best to Santiago (downtown) than in remote places such as Patagonia ... Generally, we get better rates at banks.
Only some casas de cambio, as the chain Guinazu, change travelers checks at a lower rate than cash. Better whether denominated in dollars and euros. Still recount his tickets at the counter before leaving.
- On the edge of the casas de cambio, sometimes you are offered to make changes to black. Strongly discouraged, because you gain nothing or very little, and handling money in the street is very risky.

Payment cards
- Visa, MasterCard and American Express are pretty well accepted across the country in most hotels and restaurants, some shops and even supermarkets and petrol stations (most anyway).
- The withdrawal of cash with payment cards: widespread and very easy. With Visa, MasterCard and American Express, you can withdraw money at any time of day and night in vending machines. They are also found in most pharmacies Cruz Verde and in many supermarkets.
- To rent a car, a credit card is required as collateral for the deductible.


A trip to Chile is more expensive than a trip to Peru, Bolivia or Argentina. The cheapest solution is to prefer the bus (or stop) to the plane. That said, companies and PAL Principal Airlines Sky Airlines offer special fares only slightly more expensive than a bus ride cama. For sleeping, there are cheap small pensions (and hospedajes residenciales) or camping allowed in many places.

For dining, the almuerzo lunch is by far the most advantageous formula. Many restaurants offer a menu of the day.

- Average budget: for the backpacker on a budget, plan at least 15 000-20 Ch $ 000 per person per day.
- Seasonal variations: for accommodation in the tourist areas, the price differences between the summer (from mid-December to mid March) and the rest of the year can be quite large.
- For transport, it is the same.
- Payment in hotels for all services provided by hotels, nonresident aliens are exempt from paying VAT to 19%, provided you pay in dollars, euros and / or with a payment card. The hospedajes are generally not affected.


The rates that we report are those of a night in double room in high season.

- Very cheap: up to $ 12 000 Ch (about 19 €).
- Cheap: 12 000 to Ch $ 20 000 (approx € 19 to 31). For the majority of small and hospedajes Hostels.
- Average Prices: from 20 000 to Ch $ 32 000 (approx € 31 to 50). The best hostels and small hotels.
- Chic: from 32 000 to Ch $ 55 000 (about 50-86 €).

There is a notable difference in price between Santiago, Valparaíso, some northern cities (Antofagasta and San Pedro de Atacama), Chiloe Island, southern Patagonia, Easter Island and the rest of the country. For these cities and regions then, the price range increases significantly.

- Very cheap: up to $ 15 000 Ch (about 23 €).
- Cheap: 15 000 to Ch $ 25 000 (about 23-39 €).
- Average Prices: from 25 000 to Ch $ 40 000 (about 39-63 €).
- Chic: 40 000 to Ch $ 55 000 (approx € 63 to 86).


Prices shown are those of a plato de fondo (main dish) plus starter or dessert.

- Very cheap: up to $ 3 000 Ch (5 €).
- Cheap: 3 000 to $ 6 000 hp (about 5-9 €).
- Average Prices: from 6 000 to Ch $ 12 000 (about € 9-19).
- Chic: more than $ 12 000 hp (19 €).

As for accommodations, here are the higher price ranges, valid in Santiago, Valparaíso, Antofagasta, San Pedro de Atacama, southern Patagonia, Chiloe Island and Easter Island:

- Very cheap: up to $ 3 500 Ch (5.50 €).
- Cheap: 3 500 to 7 000 USD Ch (5.50 € 11).
- Average prices: from 7000 $ 15 000 Ch (22-23 €).
- More chic: more than $ 15 000 hp (23 €).


Tipping, or propina, is frequently used in Chile. In restaurants and bars, usually left 10% of the amount of addition. This is an important addition to the salaries of employees who are not very high. In hotels, the person helping you with your luggage will not refuse a small gesture.

In Northern Chile

- Region of Arica: Hand-woven fabrics, sweaters, gloves, hats and ponchos in alpaca and llama, miniature church steeples of the Altiplano, Andean musical instruments.
- San Pedro de Atacama: wool sweaters and rugs, stone sculptures Toconao, reproductions of Inca bronze coins, miniature creches very kitsch.
- Region of La Serena: wicker, stone objects of Combarbalá, imitation pottery Diaguitas and everything can be made from papaya (jam, nectar, candy, etc..).

Santiago and its surroundings

- Jewelry and lapis lazuli (found only in two places in the world: Chile and Afghanistan). The stone with the most value is dark blue, dotted with small golden tips (pyrite). Beware of dyed stones.
- The pottery of Pomaire are widespread in Chile, they are used much in the kitchen, for example, small round gratin dishes.

In southern Chile
- At Chiloe: sweaters, hats and wool carpets. Utilitarian objects made of wood.
- Crafts Mapuche: many textile, mantas (blankets) and shawls (shawls), wool from sheep or alpaca, and colored with natural colors (bark or roots). Also, the cestería (basketry), jewelery and musical instruments: trutruca (horn from 1.50 to 4 m long), pifilca (wooden whistle), kultrun (drum), cascahuillas (bells).

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