If you go to Chile you will use the Chilean peso to pay for things. As with every peso currency in the world, this one is split into 100 centavos. However this is now really a moot point as there are no more centavos in circulation.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
There are several coins in circulation that you will likely use during your time in Chile. These are the 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 peso coins. There are also a number of banknotes. These are the 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 peso notes.
From past to present – the history of the peso
The peso has been used in Chile for a long time, ever since 1817. However at this point it was not a decimal currency and every peso was split into 8 reales. Between 1960 and 1975 the country changed to using the Chilean escudo. Once this ceased being used the government brought the peso back, although this was now known as the second peso. It was also decimalised to include 100 centavos, although as mentioned above this denomination isn’t used anymore.
How to get hold of Chilean pesos
This can be a challenge in some instances and many people recommend taking some smaller denominations of US dollars into the country. You can get your pesos locally or take some in with you. Traveller’s cheques are welcome but not in every location, so if you rely on these to get more cash you could find you are stuck in some situations. Always make sure you have some cash before going to less well-known areas or outside the main tourist areas.
You can use cash machines to get your cash but again they will be most prevalent in built-up areas and in the most common places such as shopping centres and railway stations. You can also pay using a credit card but take care with it and don’t let anyone take your card out of your sight.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and Chilean pesos
This is remarkably easy to do once you have access to a currency converter. This can be done online or on your phone if you have a converter app you can use. Just make sure you enter your own currency first and then follow it with the Chilean peso to get the conversion rate.
Travelling safely with Chilean pesos
Most people who go to Chile don’t experience any problems and have a safe and enjoyable trip. However it is wise to check the latest travel information for Chile before you go, just to be sure the area you are going to is not experiencing any problems. You should be fine if you go to tourist areas but be sure to avoid any protests as these do sometimes occur and they can be violent in some instances.
The most important thing you can do is to focus on keeping your money and other valuables safe. Pickpocketing does happen and tourist areas are especially known for it. Bags can be snatched from public places, especially when they are left hanging on the back of a chair. Keep everything with you at all times and make sure you don’t carry anything you don’t really need. If you have a safe at your hotel make sure you use it for your passport and any cash or valuables you don’t have to have with you.
Where to spend your pesos in Chile – and what to spend them on
Chile is a long thin country on the western side of South America. It shares a long eastern border with Argentina, a small border to the north with Bolivia and an even smaller border also to the north with Peru.
Its capital is Santiago, which can be found halfway down the country in a central position. There are many attractions in Santiago alone, including a theme park called Fantasilandia. This generally gets very good reviews from visitors and it packs a lot of attractions into its space too. These include rides such as Casa Fantasma, Castillo Encantado, Crazy Dance and Black Hole.
Elsewhere in Santiago you can visit San Cristobal Hill. This is a great vantage point from which to view the city, and you can also see the statue of the Virgin Mary that can be found at the top. The statue is big enough to hold a small chapel inside – a chapel that was once visited by the Pope. You can walk up to the summit of the peak if you wish, but if that sounds like too much hard work you can also get there by car. You could also take a cable car ride to the top if you want to leave the car at the hotel.
You might be starting to get the hang of the type of sights and attractions to see in the country now. Close by the capital you can see a canyon known as Cajon del Maipo. Maipo is also the name of a volcano that sits on the border Chile shares with Argentina. This is part of the famous Andes, and this word alone may make you realise the country offers great opportunities to those who want to go skiing. One of the key resorts in the country is Valle Nevado, which is in the Andes Mountains and not far from the capital.
Tourism has certainly come a long way in recent years and there are many other areas you can visit while you are there. One destination you may not realise is part of Chile and yet will undoubtedly inspire you to visit it is Easter Island. This comes under Chilean authority and boasts hundreds of the famous so-called Easter Island heads. The real name for these is moai.
If you would like to explore more of Chile’s history, you could visit San Pedro de Atacama in the north of the country. There is a magnificent museum here that boasts many archaeological pieces, and you can learn more about the Atacameno culture here too. San Pedro de Atacama is not far from the amazing remains of a settlement that dates back to 800 BC. Some people with ancestry that harks back to that culture of people are still living in the area nearby today.
So far we have focused mainly on the north of Chile but the south has plenty to offer as well. For example you can visit Conguillio National Park which boasts some amazing scenery. For instance there is the Llaima volcano that last erupted in 2009. The biggest peak here is some 9,500 feet in height. The park also has lots of hiking trails designed to appeal to all kinds of walkers from the novice to the more experienced.
Another park worth a trip to see is Torres del Paine. You can stay here if you want which makes it even easier to be on the spot to enjoy a variety of different activities. For example you can try hiking or climbing, or opt for sailing or fly fishing if those are more your thing. There is a W circuit in the area that can be walked in around four days if you are so minded to take on a bigger challenge.
We have already spoken about Easter Island but this is not the only island you can visit while in Chile. You can also opt to go to Chiloe Island via a ferry that regularly goes between the island and the mainland. The northern part of the island has Chiloe National Park and this is the place to go if you want to see some marine mammals such as blue whales and penguins. You certainly won’t run short of things to do on the island although you can simply go there for a day from the mainland if you happen to be staying nearby.
As you can probably tell, Chile has a lot to offer and there are plenty of ways you could part with a few pesos depending on what you enjoy doing. You can do everything from skiing in the mountains to wandering through the streets of the capital, and exploring one of the country’s many national parks. There are certainly some amazing natural sights here, not to mention many signs of times that are long since gone. Wherever you go it makes sense to explore as much of the area of the country you are in as possible. Chile is an amazing place and if you plan ahead so you can be sure of visiting some of the highlights there are to see, you can have an amazing holiday in this country.
Even if you didn’t expect it to offer so much, you might be surprised at how good it really is.