About Chile


Health

When you have booked your placement, it’s always best to check what you need to get to protect yourself from any germs! Check out http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations/south-america/chile.aspx to see what you might need or book an appointment with your GP to update your jabs. The water is generally safe to drink for travellers and Chile is a low risk malaria area but do your research for your own personal needs.

Weather

Chile has very definitive seasons. The temperature rises as you travel further up north and drops dramatically the further south you go. La Calera is in Region V. Its Spring is September to the end of November. Spring days can be as warm as 24 with chilly evenings. Summer is from December to March with temperatures reaching 38. March to June is their Autumn with warm days reaching 20. July to September is Chile’s winter with lots of rain but plenty of chances to ski the nearby mountains.

School Term Times

The Nursery begins at the start of March and ends Mid December for a long Christmas and summer break. The orphanage is open all year round but they go away on short trips during the months of January and February on camps.There are plenty of volunteering opportunities open all year round but the projects tend to vary and slow down during the hot months of January and February.

Insurance

Gap Chile does not provide insurance and advises that all volunteers purchase their own personal travel insurance to make sure that their belongings are covered.

Visas

You do not need a Visa to enter Chile to work as a volunteer unless you are planning on being in the country for more than 3 months. Lots of our volunteers have opted to stay for longer and have gone on weekend trips to Peru or Argentina to reset their 3 month stay in Chile and save on the extra visa cash.

Airport

The closest airport is Santiago de Chile (SCL). Gap Chile includes transport to pick you up and drop you off at the airport.



Activities to do in Chile

Chile is an amazing country which offers pretty much everything to do. From the cold Antarctic end of the world in the south to the hot deserts of the north. With so much to say about Chile we can only offer you a small snippet of an idea of the things you can do in your spare time in Chile and that’s not even getting started on what there is to see and do in the area! To read more about some of the things our volunteers have gotten up to – check out the travel section on our blog page or here :

Horse Riding


Chile offers some great horse riding experiences in the local area or further down south. With the dramatic backdrops of the Chilean hills, horse trekking is also a great adventure if you’re a keen horse rider.

 

Surfing

Chile is renowned for its world class waves and has a consistent swell all year round. Although some surf spots are difficult to get to without a car, there are some great surf towns which are easily reached by bus.

Except the high season months of January and February, the amount of people surfing is generally quite low and because the sport is too expensive for the majority of Chileans, some surf spots can be super quiet. The house where volunteers stay is a 30 minute car journey from the closest wave. Region V offers a large list of surf spots which are not too far away from the house by car or bus. Renaca, Con-Con, Las Ventanas, Papagayo and El Claron are just to name afew.  A main surf spot – Ritoque – described as “the birthplace of Chilean surfing” and offering a beach break with an easy paddle out through a channel is a 45 minute drive from the house. Learning to Surf in Chile is do-able with surf schools situated in Con-Con. Buses take longer as you generally have to travel into Vina del Mar and catch another bus along the coast but there are some buses which drive directly to the beaches which you can catch from the Bus station in the centre or outside the house which is situated on the main road out of La Calera. There are so many other great surf spots to visit if you don’t mind a longer drive. To read more about surfing in Chile – check out the places our volunteers have visited or surfed on our blog page.

Skiing


Chile is again renowned for what it offers to skiers and snowboarders alike and is described as the “pioneers of heli-skiing and off piste skiing in South America”.

With resorts in Santiago and all over Chile, skiing is accessible and an amazing experience if you’re lucky enough to be in Chile over the winter.

 

Walks

With so many differents and beautiful places to go, you can go just for a walk to enjoy the amazing areas and views.

 

Places to go in Chile

 

There are so many local towns and cities that you should see simply because they are so beautiful in and around Region V. Buses are really easy to catch and really cheap too. Running from early in the morning to late into the evening, the Chileans really have got some great public transport.

Viña del mar

 

Is well known for its well kept gardens and parks. Although it is quite built up with lots of high rise buildings, it still offers some great things to see and do within this city and simply taking a walk around can fill up your whole day. The beach is very touristy but buzzing. During the summer months, it is rammed with Chileans and Argentineans who are enjoying the sunshine and the cold waters.
If you want to get away from the beach and catch a bit of lunch, Vina offers some great cheap and small empanada places on Norte 5 which are freshly made and a must try. From here you can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine away from the beach crowds.
It also has some great shopping from the main mall to small boutiques down unknown roads.

Valparaiso

 

Valpo really lives up to the hype that surrounds it and it’s worth visiting simply just to wonder the streets and admire the artwork painted across almost every home and street. There’s a lot of museums, small art shops, boutiques, restaurants cafes and hostels. With the sea as its backdrop and the colourful hills it really is worth the small hike up the hills.
If you head to the main harbor, you can see all the large navy ships and fishing boats many of which offer small boat trips around the Valpo coast.

Santiago

 

The capital of Chile is only a 1 hour and 45 minute bus journey from the volunteer accommodation. With buses running every hour until 9.15 at night, you can easily pop in and out of this capital within a day.
With lots of shops, cafes, restaurants, theatres, libraries, museums, bars, clubs, cinemas – the list goes on – you can always find something to do in Santiago.

Portillo

Portillo is on the border of Chile and Argentina and offers a great get away for skiers and snowboarders with the fantastic backdrop of the Andes. Generally the slopes of Chile are a lot quieter in comparison to those in Europe and the staff there are a lot friendlier too. If you plan on staying for longer than a day trip, there is only one resort that is close to the slopes of Portillo with Los Andes being the next closest town or Eva Peron in Argentina. The resort Portillo however is great and isn’t overpriced in comparison to other ski resorts. If you’re lucky to be in Chile when the ski season is on, it really is a must try.