Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Traditions & Customs in Chile

South AmericaChileTraditions & Customs in Chile

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  • Although modern in many ways, Chile is still fundamentally traditional. You will fare much better if you do not openly denigrate or disrespect these traditions. People speak in conversational tones.
  • Unlike other Latin American countries, the Chilean police are admired for their honesty and competence. Report any complaints to the police as soon as you receive them, including criminal activity. Bribes are not accepted in Chile, unlike the rest of Latin America, and you will probably be arrested if you try.
  • Do not assume that your hosts in Chile will have a low opinion of Pinochet. It may surprise you, but his government still has many supporters, so be careful about bringing up the subject. Also, if you want to talk about political issues other than Pinochet, people can have very strong opinions and even raise their voices when it comes to politics. Depending on your opinion, they may call you a “communist” or a “fascist”.
  • Chileans are very friendly people. Most of them are ready to give you advice and help you in the street, at the bus stop, in the metro station, etc. You just have to use your common sense to avoid danger.
  • Be careful what you say: many young people can speak and understand English, French, Italian or German, be polite.
  • Chileans hate arrogance. Be arrogant and you’ll get in trouble; be friendly and everyone will try to help you.
  • Chileans will know you are a foreigner, no matter how good your Spanish is. Don’t get upset if you are called a “gringo” – most foreigners are called that, it is not an insult.
  • If you are black or have dark skin, you are kindly called a “nigger”. This is not at all comparable to the “N” word. Most Chileans are not racist, but unlike in other South American countries, almost all people of African descent are foreigners. Similarly, “nigger” is a common nickname for dark-skinned people. (Negro is the Spanish word for black).
  • Chile was involved in the Pacific War against Peru, Bolivia and Argentina from 1879 to 1883. Patagonia used to be part of Chile, but Argentina threatened to attack it, so the territory was annexed by the Argentines, which still angers many people today. Both Peru and Bolivia have lost territory in what is now northern Chile, and the conflict is still hotly debated. Some even make racist remarks about guest workers and illegal immigrants from Peru or Bolivia. Bolivia is still demanding the recovery of lost territory or an “exit to the ocean”, which has angered many Chileans. Some will agree to give Bolivia a corridor with access to the ocean, but be careful when you say that Bolivia or Peru have the right to recover their former territory from Chile, it will cause you a lot of trouble! Ask questions rather than say what you think, because Chileans will get angry and have a heated debate with what they consider an “uneducated foreigner who has listened to the enemy’s propaganda”.
  • Chile has the largest Palestinian diaspora outside the Arab world and many of them express pride in their heritage, but also support for the Palestinian cause. You will also meet some who know very little about their ancestors, the conflict with Israel, etc. Don’t be discouraged, remember that they consider themselves primarily Chileans, not Palestinians or Arabs. It is estimated that less than 1% of them speak Arabic. So don’t expect to be able to converse with them in Arabic if you are from an Arabic-speaking country or have some knowledge of the language.
  • In southern Chile, a considerable number of people claim German heritage and are very proud of it. Even though they do not have a German surname and most probably have a German grandmother or great-grandmother, they identify themselves as German Chileans. As for people of Palestinian origin, very few speak German. There are German-speaking populations in some southern villages, but you probably won’t visit them at all. Everyone speaks Spanish, so it is not necessary to know German if you want to travel in southern Chile.

How To Travel To Chile

By air The most common point of entry for foreign visitors is Arturo Merino-Benítez International Airport (SCL), located in the municipality of Pudahuel, 15 km (9.3 miles) northwest of downtown Santiago. It is the largest airport in Chile and one of the six busiest in South America in terms of...

How To Travel Around Chile

By air Chile has a fairly good airport infrastructure. The main flight hub in Chile is the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago, from where several airlines fly to the most remote parts of the country. These companies are the three Chilean airlines: LAN Airlines, Sky Airline and...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Chile

Citizens of the following countries may be exempted from the tourist visa requirement: Up to 90 days: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland,...

Destinations in Chile

Regions Northern Chile (Arica-Parinacota, Tarapacá, Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo regions).Visit the driest desert in the world, archaeological ruins and the Andean highlands.Central Chile (Valparaíso, Santiago, O'Higgins and Maule regions).In the heart of the country you can visit the main cities, the famous vineyards and some of the best ski resorts...

Weather & Climate in Chile

The diversity of Chile's climate ranges from the driest desert in the world in the north - the Atacama Desert - to the Mediterranean climate in the centre, the humid subtropical climate on Easter Island and the oceanic climate, including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south....

Accommodation & Hotels in Chile

There are many types of hotels in Chilean cities: some of the most common chains are Sheraton, Kempinsky, Ritz, Marriott, Hyatt and Holiday Inn. There are several hostels and small hotels of varying quality waiting to be discovered. On the backpacker trail, you can find residences in each small...

Things To See in Chile

With an extension from 17°S in the north to 55°S in the south, Chile is one of the longest countries in the world with several climatic zones and natural types. High mountains are present throughout the country. On the Chilean mainland, you can visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:...

Things To Do in Chile

Chile is home to the second largest leisure pool in the world (previously the largest until its builder completed an even larger pool in Egypt in 2015). It's located at the San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Algarrobo and you'll need a sailboat to navigate its 2km length.

Food & Drinks in Chile

Food in Chile Chilean cuisine presents a great variety of dishes that were born from the fusion of the indigenous tradition and the Spanish colonial contribution, combining their dishes, customs and culinary habits. Contributions from German, Italian and French cuisine have been given thanks to the influence of the immigrants...

Money & Shopping in Chile

Currency The currency of Chile is the Chilean peso (CLP). Other currencies are not widely accepted, but most cities have exchange offices with reasonable rates for euros and US dollars. Rates should be posted on prominent signs. As of mid-July 2012, 1 € ≡ CLP600, 1 GBP ≡ CLP763, 1 AUD1...

Festivals & Holidays in Chile

The festivities in Chile correspond to religious celebrations and civil commemorations. Due to its location in the southern hemisphere, the local high tourist season begins in December and ends in the first week of March. The beginning of this period is marked by two major festivals: Christmas, which is...

Internet & Communications in Chile

Telephone Payphones on the street are very susceptible to tampering or vandalism, so it is best to use a phone in a shop or station.Prepaid cards for mobile phones and landlines are sold in most newsagents, supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies and telephone retailers.GSM mobile networks are ubiquitous in all major...

Language & Phrasebook in Chile

Spanish is the official language of the country and is spoken everywhere. Chileans use their own dialect, Castellano de Chile, with many differences in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and slang. Spanish-speaking foreigners will have no trouble understanding it and will simply think it is funny, but non-native speakers often have...

Culture Of Chile

From the beginning of agricultural colonisation until the end of the pre-Hispanic period, the north of Chile was a region of Andean culture influenced by the traditions of the Altiplano, which extended to the northern coastal valleys, while the southern regions were areas of Mapuche cultural activity. Throughout the...

History Of Chile

Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the north of Chile was under Inca rule, while the indigenous Araucanians (Mapuche) inhabited the centre and south of the country. The Mapuche were also one of the last independent indigenous groups in America, and were only fully integrated...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Chile

Stay Safe in Chile Like most large cities in South America, Santiago suffers from a high rate of pickpocketing and muggings. It is advisable not to walk around the city centre with expensive-looking jewellery or watches, even during the day. Stay alert and be especially careful in all busy areas...



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