If you’re looking for a trip that has “drama” written all over it, Chile is the answer. And we mean that in a good way… the landscape of this South American country is basically as dramatic as it gets.
From volcanoes to fjords that harken to Antarctica, only 620 miles away, it is a land of stunning variation and deep beauty.
Chile is about one-thirteenth the size of the United States. Although that is quite a bit smaller than America, it is still nearly 300,000 square miles – plenty of space for hugely dramatic landscapes and big variations between regions and climates.
With affordable domestic flights, you can see a lot of it, too. Deciding where to go in the country is going to be tough, especially if you only have a week to spend.
If you can stretch your trip to 10 days, definitely do it. This will give you more time to explore its many cities – Santiago, Concepción, and Valparaíso are the three largest – as well as its white-sand beaches in the north.
And don’t forget its many wondrous natural areas. Think Patagonia’s ice-blue lakes and snow-covered mountains or the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth.
It’s so desiccated, in fact, that it’s used as an analog for Mars and much Red Planet research takes place there. I know, I know, you want to see it all.
While that might not be possible, you can create an excellent itinerary with the information we’re going to provide below. Not only will we share with you the best things to see and do, we’ll help you do it all on a smart budget!
Average Trip to Chile Cost in 2024
An average one-week trip to Chile for two people will cost around $4,000:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $125 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $700 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $300 total
- Total Cost: $4,000
As you can see, the average cost of a trip to Chile is pretty reasonable.
We advise looking through all of the expenses below and asking yourself questions such as: Where do I want to go? What are the most important things to see?
What costs might mount quickly (e.g. if you really like to dine out or go on adventure tours) and how can I make room for them in the budget by cutting other costs?
This is an effective method of planning for trips because it helps you prioritize what you care about and ditch what’s not so important to you. For example, perhaps you want to do a lot of adventuring outdoors – horseback riding, parasailing, hiking, and the like.
If you do one of these per day, you will substantially increase your food and activities budget, but if you stay in a hostel or camp, you can make up for the money that way.
However, perhaps you want to spend most of your time reading by a pool in the Chilean sunshine, venturing out for food and an urban “hike” once a day. In that case, your hotel will become very important to you, and you should allocate funds to get a nice one.
Since you don’t need much/any of a budget for activities, you can significantly up the amount you spend in this category.
Budgeting is all about getting creative, and luckily, Chile will help you there! It’s such an accommodating and beautiful country, and there are so many ways to make your visit your own. Let’s dig in and show you the potential.
Chile Trip Cost: Average by Item
The below costs are averages to get you started. Once you know the basic budget you’re working with, then you can start to get creative!
Lodging is fairly affordable in Chile. Plan to pay about $100 per night, on average, when staying in a city. As with any other city in the world, you’ll find better deals the farther out you are from the city center or major attractions and the further in advance you book.
Nailing down your lodging shortly after getting your flights is a good idea. If you want to stay somewhere more, shall we say, remarkable, then plan to spend a bit more as well.
To stay near the Atacama Desert, for instance, you’re looking at more like $150 a night, assuming you do your research ahead of time.
To rent a room near any Patagonian gateway, you’ll probably spend about the same. On average, if you budget about $125 per night, you’ll have enough for a few stellar stays.
Good news: flights to Santiago won’t break the budget. A round-trip ticket from New York will run you about $700, while from LA is closer to $600.
If you have to connect from a smaller airport, you should up the cost by a hundred dollars or so, giving you a decent average ticket price of $700.
(We will discuss flying to Easter Island next, so check that out if you want to make the most of domestic airfare options.)
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Activities aren’t expensive in Chile, but neither are they particularly cheap. For instance, a 2-hour horseback ride is about $40, while a full-day outdoor adventure is about $150. A zipline adventure will cost about
Another activity you may wish to consider is Easter Island, which is a part of Chile. Although “activity” might be the wrong word, since you’ll definitely want to spend more like three days here.
The island is small, which means you can visit the main archeological sites in about a day and still have time to take a fishing or diving trip.
However, it takes nearly 5 hours to get there by plane, so you’ll have to set aside about half your trip to do it. If you’ve always longed to see this area and you enjoy the restfulness of a flight, that could be well worth it – especially at only $400 or so per round-trip flight.
However, if you’ve only got a week in Chile and don’t want to spend it on flights, you should skip it. Note that you can always make a stop in Santiago next go around, then travel on to Easter Island for a full week.
Since this “activity” will replace food and lodging on the mainland for the same on the island, the only extra cost is the flight – as well as tours at roughly $100 per person, if you choose to take them.
In general, food is inexpensive. According to recent prices, a basic meal will cost you about $9, while a nice dinner out for two is about $45.
That’s pretty good, especially considering Chile’s delicious food. Drinks are also cheap, and you can freely drink tap water throughout Chile, unlike much of South America.
Overall, budget about $100 per person, per day, for food and activities. That will give you enough to see the sights, eat a nice meal out once a day, and have a little left over for souvenirs if you like.
Getting around in Chile is pretty inexpensive. Public transportation is good in many of the cities, especially Santiago, where it’s clean, bright, and costs only about $1 to get from A to B, transfers included.
Taxis are also a great bargain, as they charge only about $2 per mile.
But, says US News & World Report, “some Chilean drivers have a reputation for taking unnecessarily long routes to increase the fare; use a map app on your phone to make sure your driver stays on track.”
Flights between big cities are shockingly cheap at only about $60 a pop, so it’s a great way to cut down on long travel times between destinations. Overall, if you budget about $300 for taxis, flights, and metro fares, you should be good.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Chile:
- December through February offer amazing stargazing opportunities. Not only are the skies clear and beautiful in much of Chile – hello, Milky Way – but you’ll see completely different constellations from the ones we see in America!
- Chile is amazing for winter sports. Its mountains and generous snowfall mean it’s a dream for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and other winter adventures.
- The Chilean “desert” is home to many forms of wildlife. A tour through the Atacama will bring you amazing views, flamingo and Humboldt penguin sightings, and the most breathtaking night skies you can imagine. That’s right, Atacama happens to be one of the clearest places on Earth as well.
- Visit the Chilean fjords if you can. They are a stunning experience that you’ll never forget, and neither will your photo album. They are extensive, stretching for more than 13 degrees of latitude to the tip of the country, an island group known as Tierra del Fuego, or land of fire. A full-day tour of the fjords will cost you about $300, but the memories are priceless.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Chile:
How widespread is English in Chile?
English is not a common language in Chile, the national language of which is Spanish (spoken by more than 99 percent of the population). Only about 10% of Chileans speak English, and those only in the major cities. It’s best to bring a phrasebook to help you get around, especially if you plan to leave the cities.
What are the best activities?
Hiking in Patagonia or one of Chile’s many other national parks, biking in Santiago, and visiting the many stunning architectural examples in its cities and towns are all popular Chilean pastimes.
So is enjoying a delicious steak, going wine tasting, and checking out the city’s amazing street art.
Some people also consider Easter Island a worthwhile stop. It will cost you about $400 per person, per round-trip ticket, as well as $100 per person for a tour of the major archeological sites.
It will also cost you about 12-14 hours of transit time, half on the way there and half on the way back, which is an “expenditure” worth considering before making your plan.
Is Chile an expensive country to travel in?
Chile is one of the most developed countries in South America, which makes it a spendier destination than many on the continent. Think of it as roughly equivalent to traveling in Eastern and Central Europe.
While it’s cheaper than the main vacation destinations – Italy, France, and Switzerland, for instance – it’s not what we’d call a “cheap” visit. Make sure to budget accordingly.
Can I use dollars there?
Rarely are dollars accepted in Chile. You can use them as some hotels, but this is not a guarantee. In most places, you can’t pay with anything other than the country’s currency, pesos.
Make sure to carry a supply of them in your wallet in case you get stranded somewhere without an ATM and that doesn’t take plastic, which isn’t uncommon.
When is the best time to visit Chile?
Remember that Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, so its seasons are opposite to ours. That means November through February are the hottest months, ideal for outdoor adventures.
Much of Chile’s climate is temperate, which means it doesn’t get super-hot, so spring and fall can still be chilly (no pun intended) and rainy.
Overall, the best time to visit depends on what you want to do. City tours, wine tastings, and boat rides are all nice activities for fall and spring. If you want to get out into the wilderness and enjoy adventurous tours, though, summer is ideal.
Ditto winter and winter sports. You’ll pay more for peak season, but it will give you the experience you’re looking for.
Do I need a visa?
No, you don’t need a visa to visit Chile for less than 90 days. However, your passport must have 6 months left on it in order for you to enter the country. Read the rules for traveling with children carefully to avoid a potential nightmare while traveling.
Wrapping It Up: Over to You!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$125 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|$700 per person
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|$100 per person, per day
|💲 Total Cost
The average cost of a one-week trip to Chile is around $4,000 for two people, more like $4,500 if you choose to visit Easter Island as well. For the trip of a lifetime, that’s a pretty sweet deal.