With its sparkling sand beaches, towering mountain ranges, miles of wine country, and cosmopolitan capital city, Chile is a hidden gem of South America vacations. But the country has found itself more often on the beaten tourist path in recent years, in large part due to its safety, its prosperity, and the many outdoor activities that it offers.
With a rise in tourism comes a jump in accommodations and airfare, all of which significantly hampers the budget traveler’s bottom line. If you’re planning to travel to Chile, then you’re probably going to want to experience the country as best as possible – but to do so with a budget in mind. Here are some ideas:
Save on Technology
If you need to talk to someone back home, Chile is full of cheap internet cafes where you easily can walk in, sit down, and write an email. If you plan on communicating often with someone else within Chile, buy a Prepaid Phone once you arrive from a local vendor. Don’t buy a calling card at the airport; it will just cost you unnecessarily.
The best way to save money on a Chile trip – or to blow it – is by cutting your meal expenses to practically zero. At grocery stores and corner markets, products such as bread, tomatoes, cheese, and avocado are extremely cheap. And if you’re in the city and have no kitchen or refrigerator, no matter: you can hop into a local store, buy what you need for the next meal, and eat it just minutes later. And you’ll barely pay a peso.
Take the Bus
With few exceptions, there’s really no need to have a car in Chile. Within Santiago, the bus and the subway system are extremely cheap and efficient. Outside the city, interurban bus services frequent all the major tourist destinations. Rather than drive to the beach or into the mountains, take a bus there. The savings are well worth the slight added inconvenience.
Enjoy the Outdoors
If you’re visiting Chile, you probably have a few outdoor activities in mind, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of all these free opportunities. Go hiking in the Andes. Sit on the beach in Vina del Mar. Explore Santiago’s beautiful urban parks. You can even spend a full day walking around and window shopping in Los Condes, Santiago’s most exclusive neighborhood, without spending anything. Regardless of what you specifically choose to do, all these activities cost little more than the bus ride it takes to get there.
These are just a few ideas for getting you started on your budget vacation to Chile. Unless you’re coming into the country via a long and grueling bus ride from Argentina, you’re probably ponying up a good amount of money just to get there. With this in mind, once you’re there, there’s no reason not to take these easy measures and enjoy your vacation cheaply.