5 Things any solo traveller needs to know about a trip to Chile

Chile is a land of volcanoes, glaciers, deserts and geysers, and is a popular destination for solo travellers everywhere.

There are countless sights to see and experiences to enjoy, no matter your criteria, but solo travellers have more specific needs that must be addressed on any journey. Fortunately, Chile is a safe and easy country to traverse on your own, and with the five things any solo traveller should know, you will be well equipped for your journey.

1. Safety

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sifan liu, unsplash

As South American countries go, Chile is relatively safe. However, if you are spending time in the cities, you may want to keep your belongings close to hand when you are out and about in the night. You may also want to avoid any protests that occur, as they can become violent and be a rather unsafe place to hang out.

If you go journeying out into the natural world, take the regular precautions of ensuring there are people who know where you’re going, and have emergency contact details to hand. 

The Elqui Valley may be an ideal spot to see a Total Solar Eclipse in July 2019, but it is also a very high mountain summit that takes a lot of planning to reach.

2. Language

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mauro mora, unsplash

The official language of Chile is Castellano Spanish, which has a few distinctions from traditional Spanish. There are many colloquial linguistic traits, and it can be a steep learning curve to understand it. English is not widely spoken, save for in the tourist hotspots, and many signs and tourist displays are not even translated. It is recommended that you learn some basics and try to familiarise yourself with the language before you travel. You may also encounter some indigenous languages on your travels.

3. Food

The traditional foods of Chile consist mainly of soups, stews and lentil-based dishes. Meat is very popular, particularly the barbecued variety, and you get some extra spice from a dollop of salsa. Most restaurants will have space without making a reservation, though you should try to secure a table on Friday and Saturday nights to avoid disappointment. Chileans tend to eat late, often around 9pm. Santiago is a true rising star for cuisine, and a great city to enjoy many of the country’s delicacies.

4. Climate

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Northern Chile is primarily desert, where it is blisteringly hot in the day and bitterly cold at night. Santiago is hot and dry in the summer, and never gets too cold even in the winter. As you head further south, the weather becomes wetter and colder, and in Patagonia you should expect particularly unpredictable weather. You really get the full range of weather conditions as you move from top to bottom in Chile.

5. Dress code

Chile is primarily a Catholic country, but you can relax – people tend to wear the same sorts of clothing that you would wear back home, especially in the cities. To avoid standing out like a sore thumb as a tourist, take in the general clothing habits of the locals and follow suit in order to blend in. The country can become quite cold at any time of the year, so it is recommended that you travel with some warm clothes so you are prepared for a turn in the weather.

Chile is a fantastic travel destination whether you are flying solo or journeying in a group. If you are alone, it may be a good idea to find a like-minded traveller (preferably of the same gender) and explore together – you may find a new friend for life! There is so much to see and experience in this majestic country, and understanding the things covered in this article will help you if you are making the trip alone.

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