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F.A.Q.

What is Patagonia and Where is it?

Patagonia is the territory located in the most southern part of the American continent; it begins in Puerto Montt in Southern Chile, and it covers all southern Argentina as well. This area was first populated by natives such as chonos, selknam, yaganes and tehuelches. The name Pataonia comes from the last ones, who had really big feet and left footmarks on the ground of the region. It was a highly visited area in the XVI century, by explorers who were looking for an exit to the Atlantic Ocean.

How do I get to Patagonia?

From Santiago, there are daily flights to Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas, the main cities of Southern Chile. From them you can travel to small cities and towns further south. You can also make the trip by car, or bus, using the Carretera Austral, and the frontier passages in Argentina.

What's the weather like in Patagonia?

The weather varies depending on the latitude of the city you visit. In summertime, the temperatures are nice and always over cero degrees, but can reach the 30C in Puerto Montt and Chiloe. Further south, the temperatures lower and the winds get stronger, in some places it rains all year, although with less intensity than in winter. In Tierra del Fuego, days can be very long, with 18 hours of sunlight, and temperatures that never go over the 11C.

Should I use solar protection?

Many people say that near Punta Arenas, the Ozone layer has a hole, product of global warming. Although this isn't a fact, it hasn't been proved, it is strongly recommended to use some kind of protection of the sun, especially in summer time. Temperatures rise considerably in summer, and the sun is very strong. If you travel with children or are very pale (especially blondes and redheads), you must use sun-blocker or protector factor 30 at least.

Do I need a visa to go to Patagonia?

Patagonia is a territory that Chile and Argentina share, so the international laws are shared by the two countries as well. To get to Patagonia, there are several frontier entries, so if you are planning to go in and out of the Chile/Argentina area and then go back to it, you should check in your country if you need a multiple entrances visa. It all depends on the country you're from.

What is the national money? Can I bring my credit card?

Chile's money is called peso. In Chile, products and services are done with bills (1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000 y 20.000) and coins (1, 5, 10, 50, 100 y 500). Most commercial and tourist centers take credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners. In the smaller towns there isn't such service, though, so it is necessary to always carry cash with you. You'll recognize which stores take credit cards by the logos in their doors.

Can I pay in cash?

Every store and company takes cash in Chilean money and, in some cases, American dollars. Euros are not very common in the Chilean businesses, but you can exchange them in authorized places and in local banks, which are open Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Are there ATMs in Chile?

Yes, in the bigger cities there are ATMs next to banks and big stores, especially in malls. They take credit cards with the following logos on them: Cirrus, RedBank, Checkline y Visa Electron.

Are there telephones and Internet access?

Yes, it is quite easy to find call centers of different companies, as well as calling cards to make calls overseas. Hotels have national and international calls available for their visitors. Internet access is also easy to find, there are cyber coffees and some call centers include computers to navigate online.

Do I need permits to practice certain activities in Patagonia?

In Patagonia, you can practice hiking and trekking with no permits. However, it is recommended to give notice to the proper authorities if you plan to explore and visit forests and other small places, in case of an emergency. In some areas, like National Parks and Reserves, a permit is required to go inside and to practice mountain climbing. The permits are handed out in the administration of the parks or in the nearest cities. If this permit is required, the due information will appear in the description of the attractive in the main menu of this website.

Can I drink water from pipes?

Drinking water is available all through Chile. It is recommended, however, to drink bottled water if it's possible, which is for sale at all supermarkets in the country.

Can I see penguins walking about in the city?

No. There are special areas where penguins live, especially islands, which can be visited most of the year. The most important places are the Otway Sine and the Penguin Island, which gets its name because of the number of penguins that live on it.

What holidays do Chileans celebrate?