Airport Reciprocity Fee, Only For Americans
While I scoured the .gov pages prior to my travel to Chile, there was absolutely no mention of a $131.00 Reciprocity Fee. One expects an airport fee, one that is charged to all travelers, however I noted that the Europeans travelling in Chile did not have to pay this fee. It was reserved for Americans. I had neither planned, nor budgeted for such a steep fee. When I protested, I was told it is a yearly fee, and that I would not have to pay again for a year. I'm wondering how they would know who has paid and who hasn't, unless you have your paid receipt to produce. Reciprocity refers to the fact, you rub my back, I rub yours, which made me question at the time, if this were a George Bush fee?
Unique Suggestions: There was no way to get around this fee if you are to enter the country. You are allowed to pay by credit card however.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Visiting Santiago's Haunts
Two that we visited (and I think everyone else does) where the Centro Mercado and the Plaza Los Dominicos. You can get whatever you want in terms of arts and crafts there or spend to your hearts content on useless trinkets.
Unique Suggestions: Even tourist traps have something going for them. The Central Mercado was a facinating display of local seafood if you can stand the smell. The Plaza was very quaint and there were some very elegant and beautiful hand made clothes, sweaters and shawls.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Tatio geysers - 2.5 hrs of travel hell...for WHAT?
It's 4 a.m. when you meet your bus to get up to the geysers. The whole trip in is a bumpy, black mass of nothingness. When you arrive, you're tired. What you see is the oily black of the morning and misty geyers...not the size of Old Faithful, but.....about the size of a small garden fountain. It's misty, they stink, and there's a field of them. That's about it. They're pretty boring other than being surrounded by mountains. If you've seen hot springs before, I'd give this a big miss. It costs like... $22,000 pesos to get there and 5 hours (return) of traveling time. Get out on a horse instead.
Unique Suggestions: If you MUST see the geysers (but remember I said they are boring)...consider renting your own truck. You'll get there faster...and you can leave as soon as you're bored. You can take your time heading back into San Pedro...stopping when you like to take pictures and admire the cacti and wierd lavarock formations on your way out.
Fun Alternatives: Take a trip around the countryside by horse! You can even go overnight for 2-4 days. We didn't, but ... wish we did.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
Some people here, specially the ones who have never been abroad before, think that all foreigners have a lot of money.....because "they have come from such a long distance"....that's absurd!!.
So sometimes people at the stores or popular markets, can charge you more for a service or product.
Unique Suggestions: Use your common sense, that's all.Related to:
- Study Abroad
putre,a night to avoid sorroche
sorroche means altitude sickness!
nights in putre are very cold.leaving arica under hot sun,don't forget to take with you warm clothes!
Unique Suggestions: in putre,gate to PN Lauca,at 3500m high,ideal place to spend one night,coming from sea level,to get acclimatized to altitude,and avoid sorroche.
Fun Alternatives: see accomodation tip.Related to:
- Road Trip
The quintessential tourist...
The quintessential tourist trap in Chile is the resort of REÑACA, 9 kilometers north from Viña del Mar. It gets overcrowded and ultraoverpriced in summer, apart from being noisy and not as attractive as many other places in one of the longest coastlines on Earth. Its proximity to Viña, and being handy to holidaymakers are the main reasons for this condition. Anyway, within a range of 30 kilometers from Viña, there are great places to go, some of them quite isolated even: LAGUNA VERDE (30 km. south) is a peaceful spot, with pine forests and a lovely stream, plus a neat cove.Also, CONCON (25 km. north, next to Reñaca) is a good place to go.
Also, PUCON, at the foothills of Volcan Villarrica, 70 kilometers east from Temuco, in the southern Lake District, can be dubbed a tourist trap in high season (summer, and winter ski season), when it gets pretty crowded -but never as much as Viña- and overpriced, but it provides a good base for superb hikes to the awesome mountain range, volcanoes, rainforest,hot springs and national parks. But, if the summer bustle of Pucon proves to be 'too much', one could head to either Coñaripe or Lican Ray, on the banks of Calafquen lake, just between 25 and 35 kilometers from Pucon. These places are peaceful and quiet, even in high summer.
Bring Money to Chile. I'm...
Bring Money to Chile. I'm referring to arrival tax. Its about USD35.00. Sometimes the plane ticket purchase doesn't cover for it automatically.
Please don't act like a tourist & be blase about your personal safety. Its highly probable that nothing will happen in Chile ie 99.9999999% But if you are walking around with a Canon E3000 with 75 - 300mm over your shoulder. You might be attracting unnecessary attention. Wear jewellery to the minimum as a precaution too. AS WE AUSTRALIANS SAY 'KISS' KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.
Oh dear...it is another...
Oh dear...it is another snapshot with me and an explosive device. I just love dressing up and experiencing anything and everything I can. Another great thing about the Chileans is they seemed to enjoy my never ending silliness.
I think I am ready to join Rambo ...I may be small but I am Rambita!
When you arrive at the...
When you arrive at the Santiago airport, usually after a long flight, you are happy to see any friendly face.
one such was the lady helping you with accomodation, obviously she gets a commission. she recommended riviera hotel in the heart of the city for us and it is a dump
The only tourist trap I...
The only tourist trap I encountered on my trip to Chile was in Cerro Santa Lucia. On my way up I encountered some so called students looking for money to re-pay their tuition from school. I was told later on that these are only people trying to get money not necessarily to re-pay their school loans.
It's sad to admit it but it's...
It's sad to admit it but it's true that if you don't know the language, you will get taken. I would have been tricked several times when buying antiques and souveniers, since I only knew a little spanish. But my friend Tammy, who speaks fluent spanish, was there which helped a lot. So try to know the language pretty well before buying things from street venders. Oh, and you can always make them a deal. If you have good bargaining skills, here is a place to use them.
Not really worth the hassle to...
Not really worth the hassle to get out to the Concho y Toro winery outside Santiago. Though a nice vineyard, there was no free tasting, and the bus ride out was long, dusty, and hot. It did give you an idea just how big the metropolitan area around Santiago is.
Shopping! Chile is very...
Shopping! Chile is very expensive and the merchants are very unwilling to negotiate! If you are going to Peru or Bolivia, then you should try to shop there! Having said that, in the south of Chile, Angelmo has good sweaters at reasonable prices, I was able to knock off 1,000 pesos off of one price!
WHILE IN SANTIAGO I HAD THE...
WHILE IN SANTIAGO I HAD THE CHANCE TO BE AT THE NEW MARRIOTT HOTEL. WHEN I CHECK OUT THE RECEPTIONIST MENTIONED ME THAT I HAD A OUTSTANDING BILL OF U$ 6.76 FOR THE USE OF THE PHONE. I DIDN'T RECALL USING THIS FOR LONG DISTANCE, WHEN SHE SHOWED ME THE NUMBERS THERE WERE FOR A LOCAL CELL PHONE. I DIDN'T EVEN USE THIS SERVICE FOR MORE THAN 3 MINUTES. I SUGGEST THAT IF YOU FALL IN THIS HOTEL BE SURE TO CHECK THE FEE FOR THE USE OF THE PHONE. IMAGINE IF I CALL HOME AT THE STATES... THE BILL PROBABLY IS GOING TO BE FOR 20 BUCKS THE MINUTE!!!!ALSO WHEN I TRIED TO PAY THIS WITH LOCAL CURRENCY, THEY SAID TO ME THAT THE BILL WAS GOING TO BE UP 12o/o MORE FOR USING PESOS AS METHOD OF PAYMENT. AS CONDORITO SAYS: EXIJO UNA EXPLICACION!! PLOP!!
Prices seemed pretty well set...
Prices seemed pretty well set from vendor to vendor. Food seemed a little expensive compared to the cost of rooms. But not out of line, and the quality always seemed to compensate for the higher prices.
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