Arriving in a new country that you don’t know, where you don’t know anything about culture and language at all, can be quickly disconcerting.
Below we describe the main features of life you could lead in Chile and some practical information that might be useful to you when you arrive.


Asking yourself when to come and visit Chile? You will find below a description of the climate in each region of Chile, as well as our advice on the best season to come and spend a holiday in Chile.

First of all, it should be noted that Chile is located in the southern hemisphere. The seasons are therefore reversed compared to the northern hemisphere. January and February are the hottest summer months, while July and August are the coldest winter months.

It is also one of the longest countries in the world, stretching over 38 degrees of latitude. It is therefore difficult to generalize because its climate therefore varies enormously from north to south.

Climate in the different regions of Chile

Desert and dry in the north

The north of the country has a desert climate, and some of the deserts are the driest on earth. The Atacama Desert is considered the driest place on the planet and is practically barren because it is protected from moisture on both sides by the Andes Cordillera and the Chilean Coastal Cordillera (Central Andes). For this reason, it is home to the world’s largest telescopes. The cold Humboldt current is essential to maintain the dry climate of the Atacama Desert. It hardly ever rains: less than 1 mm per year on average in the Chilean region of Antofagasta. Some weather stations in the Atacama Desert have never even received rain.

This desert is so arid that mountains reaching 7000 meters are totally devoid of glaciers. Studies by a group of British scientists have suggested that some river beds have been dry for 120,000 years.

During the day, it is hot all year round. However, the temperature difference with night can be as high as 30 degrees Celsius, and it will be cold at night.

Mediterranean in the centre of the country

The central area of Chile has a Mediterranean climate, with long hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation increases gradually as you go down south. Thus:

in the Santiago region, the average temperatures are about 19.5°C in summer and 7.5°C in winter. Average monthly rainfall is almost zero in summer and about 70mm in winter.

In Concepción, average temperatures are slightly lower in summer (17.6°C) but higher in winter (9.3°C). On the other hand, precipitation is much more abundant all year round.

The combination of abundant snow in the Andes and relatively moderate winter temperatures creates excellent conditions for downhill skiing.

The region on either side of the Biobio River, historically called La Frontera, corresponds to the southern limit of the Mediterranean climate, with typical Mediterranean fruits such as avocado, citrus fruits, olives and grapes, as well as in the south.

Temperate ocean in the south

Southern Chile has a more rainy climate, especially in northern Patagonia, in the far south, around Punta Arenas, which is drier. Winter temperatures are quite cold, often below 0 degrees Celsius in Patagonia and the wind can be very strong. Summer temperatures are mild in Patagonia and warmer in the south of the Chilean continent (around 16°C).

Subpolar oceanic in the far south

Chile’s far south is the coldest region in South America. Precipitation is heavy between April and May and the area is snow-covered throughout the Chilean winter (June to September). However, the average temperature does not fall below 1°C in coastal areas. Proximity to the ocean stabilizes temperature and reduces seasonal variations.

Subtropical on Easter Island

The climate of Easter Island is maritime and subtropical. Winters are relatively mild. Indeed, the lowest temperature is about 18°C during the winter months (July and August). The highest is about 28°C during February (summer in the southern hemisphere).

As an isolated island, Easter Island is constantly exposed to the winds. The wettest month is April, although the island experiences rainfall all year round. From time to time, heavy rains and rainstorms hit the island, mainly in winter (June to August). However, no cyclones or hurricanes occur around Easter Island.

When to Visit Chile?

The most pleasant seasons are spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). Obviously, it all depends on the area you are going to. If, for example, you want to climb or hike in the high mountains (over 4000 metres), summer may be the best time to do so because the temperatures and weather conditions at the top will be more pleasant.

To be noted

Chile’s coastline is generally colder than the country’s inland plains, before reaching the mountain range. This is due to the cold Humboldt current from the Antarctic Ocean. The country has large beaches, but they are not really suitable for swimming, as the water is cold, with a maximum of 12 to 18°C, except in northern Chile.

The Andean mountains are covered with snow all the time and in winter, from June to August, they offer excellent ski spots. There are modern ski resorts in central and southern Chile.

The ozone layer is thin in Chile, and in some places even has holes. The sun is therefore very violent in the hot hours of the day. In summer, be sure to wear a headgear if you are going to spend even one or two hours outside (even if you have a lot of hair).

It rains relatively little (except in the south). However, when it rains, it can last two or three days without interruption.


Asking yourself how to call Chile from abroad? Are you looking for how to dial the correct code to successfully reach your correspondent?

Follow our guide “How to call Chile” below!

To make it easy to call Chile from abroad, follow the following dialing instructions:

  • Start by dialing +33 (for France), or any country code,
  • Dial 56 (Chile’s country code),
  • Dial the one- or two-digit area code,
  • Finally, dial the 7 or 8 digit phone number.

To call a mobile phone, the code is 9, followed by the eight digits of the phone number.

  • Chile’s online telephone directories:
  • Paginas Blancas – Chilean white pages, in English,
  • Paginas Amarillas – Chilean Yellow Pages, in English.


Chile is one of the safest countries in Latin America. Visiting and living in Chile is generally safe. Most visitors or expatriates who live there do not encounter any major problems.

Nevertheless, street crimes and scams are common, particularly in Santiago, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Calama and Iquique. Be aware of your environment at all times, as in any large city. Criminals tend to work in groups and will use multiple tricks to distract travellers.

Below we detail different techniques used by thieves or scammers.


Most crimes and scams against foreigners are crimes of opportunity that target tourists in particular.

Pickpocketing is common in high-traffic areas such as shops, restaurants and public transport. Make sure you carry your bag in front of you, not on your back or on your shoulder and preferably always close to you. Although Las Condes, Providencia and Vitacura in Santiago are known to be hot spots for petty crime, pickpocketing and assaults are common in many cities in Chile.

Some techniques used:

  • Someone sprays you with a smelly liquid, to make you believe that a bird has targeted you. Two or three people rush to you to clean you up. One of them will take the opportunity to pick your pockets.
  • Mobile phone theft in the subway: you are sitting near the door. Someone rips your phone off just when the doors close.
  • Pickpocketing by bike: you are on the sidewalk checking your mobile phone. A cyclist passes at full speed and tears your phone off as he passes. By the time we react, it’s already far away.

Violent crime is rare in Chile, but daylight attacks have been reported in some areas of Santiago, such as Cerro San Cristobal Park, Cerro Santa Lucia and Cerro Manquehue. It is recommended to always travel in groups and avoid isolated areas and parks at night.

Breaking and entering

Due to the great social differences between the well-to-do and the underprivileged, the rich districts of Santiago (Vitacura, Lo Barnechea), or the wealthy holiday homes, are often the target of organized gangs. Businesses are also often targeted.

Some examples:

  • The thief stands near your car when you drop your children off at school. It has a jammer that disrupts the operation of the car’s central locking system. So your car remains open when you think you have closed it.
  • You get out of your car to open the access portal to your home. The thief takes the opportunity to rob you and drive away with your vehicle.
  • To enter the most exclusive condominiums, the gangs will first steal a luxury car. This will allow them to pretend to be a condominium resident, and thus to pass through the security barrier.

Two types of profiles should be noted:

Older, very experienced thieves, who only target material goods. If you follow their instructions, they will leave with what they came for without hurting you. Much younger thieves, stealing to pay for drugs. They are much more unstable, often under the influence of drugs, and can suddenly become aggressive.

Transport security

If you take a bus or train, do not put valuables in the storage compartment as they could be stolen. At night, it is advisable to book taxis in advance rather than stopping one on the street. You can book them on EasyTaxi, and thus have the contact details and the name of the driver in case of problem.

Vehicle theft has increased, so always keep your windows closed and doors locked. Do not leave bags or valuables in sight in your car.

Theft by trickery / Cuento del Tio

This type of theft, or rather scam, takes many forms. It consists in making the person you want to swindle believe a story, hence his name: “Uncle’s account”.

It has little to do with foreigners, as thieves will mainly target the elderly, who are more vulnerable to this type of scam. However, thieves can target you if you employ a gullible household staff.

Some techniques:

The thief imitates the voice of a family member, and makes you believe that it has been kidnapped, and that it will be returned to you only if you pay a ransom, or transmit your bank details. If you live in a house, this pretext can also be used to get you out of your home, to make it easier to get into your home when you open the portal.

The thief calls the housekeeper posing as the owner. He indicated that a bailiff seizure was scheduled for the afternoon, and that he would send someone to pick up the valuables before the bailiff came. He or she orders the household employee to collect the valuables and give them to the person who will be passing through.

The thief (young) comes to the house when only your domestic worker is there, and says he has an appointment with his friend (one of your children). He indicates that his friend is not there, but that he has told him that he will be coming soon, and asks if he can wait for him inside. 30 minutes later, he leaves on the pretext that he no longer has time to wait for his friend. By the way, he made his hands on a computer, mobile phone and jewellery….

Recently, this kind of scam has migrated to Facebook and WhatsApp. The latest case consists for thieves to pretend to be a pretty young woman, and to converse with a man, then to send him naked pictures. A few days later, a person calls the victim and poses as a police officer. It tells the victim that the young woman is a minor, that her father has filed a complaint, and that the victim will be tried for possession of paedophile images if she does not make a transfer.

Natural Risks

Chile is a country exposed to many natural disasters. Earthquakes are a possibility and floods are frequent in autumn and winter. In summer, large forest fires occur throughout the country. There is volcanic activity in the Puyehue and Los Lagos regions. The other active volcanoes are as follows: Chaiten, Llaima, Lascar and the Copahue volcano on the Argentina / Chile border.

In winter, pollution in Santiago (smog) can become a health risk in winter.

Political situation

Nationwide demonstrations usually take place on the anniversary of the coup d’état, September 11, and on Workers’ Day, May 1. It is strongly recommended to stay away from any demonstration, as it could turn violent. Police tend to use tear gas and water cannons against demonstrators. The largest demonstrations usually take place in Santiago. The Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group, are engaged in conflict over land and indigenous peoples’ rights issues. Attacks on multinational logging companies and Chilean private landowners therefore sometimes occur.