There are a wide range of accommodation options across Chile, catering to travelers on a tight budget as well those with more cash. Chile is home to plenty of camping facilities as well as a growing network of hostels for backpackers, but you can also find some of the best luxury hotels in South America.
Rooms cost more in Santiago than elsewhere in the country. In more remote places, you can take advantage of hospedajes (a room in a localâ€™s house) as well as refugios (rustic shelters) in national parks. CabaÃ±as and chalet-style cabins also exist in resort areas, and range from self-catering to full service.
It is important to account for the peak holiday season in Chile, roughly December through February and Easter, when accommodation prices can rocket and rooms may be hard to come by without a prior reservation. During the low season you can always try to negotiate a discount on the advertised rate.
Chile Budget Hotels and Chile Hostels
There are heaps of hostels and hotels in Santiago, and no shortage of options in resort towns like ViÃ±a del Mar. The farther south you travel toward remote areas of Patagonia, the less choices you will find, but budget accommodation is nonetheless available.
In general, you can score a dorm bed in most Chile hostels for about $10. Springing for your own quarters will set you back about $20, on the low end. Chile hostels are typically well situated, with day and nighttime attractions, transit, and amenities within walking distance. While many hostels offer the expected facilities (breakfast, laundry, Internet), some even deliver Wi-Fi, lead excursions and tours, and host BBQs and parties. Occasionally youâ€™ll encounter added frills like pinball machines and Foosball tables.
It is always best to take a look before committing yourself to a room in Chile hotels, as the "star rating" is generally more a measure of amenities than dÃ©cor and up-keep. In high season, even Chile budget hotels can be in short supply, so pre-booking and risking a not-so-great room may be preferable to no room at all. Rooms are usually en-suite with a shower and hot water but standards vary. Expect to pay about from $40 for mid-range and $70 upwards for high-end hotels. If you prefer something you recognize, you will find various large chain hotels in Santiago.
Although quality has improved, dingy digs and erratic shower temperatures still exist as far as Chile budget hotels and hostels are concerned. However, donâ€™t be too quick to judge a lodging by its weathered exterior: some of the best places to stay happen to be in historical buildings.
Chile Luxury Hotels and Chile Resorts
Stays at Chile luxury hotels and resorts usually start around $100, and the sky is pretty much the limit in price. However, if you have the money to splurge, you usually get what you pay for in terms of comfort, pampering, and service. In most cases, you can expect over-the-top spa service and multiple restaurants with international cuisines, as well as pools, jacuzzis, and saunas. Chile luxury hotels are also usually happy to take your credit card, whereas budget accommodations may only accept cash.
As far as Chile resorts go, the country runs the gamut beach-side escapes to skiing reservations. Although Chile snagged around 4,300 kilometers (2,580 miles) of coast, most of the best-known Chile resorts along the beach are concentrated in the center of the country, stretching northward from Santiago to El Norte Chico. In most beach towns, nightlife is lively and seafood is plentiful, so you might want to explore beyond the compound of your resort. On the other hand, if you prefer snow to sand, there are over 20 ski resorts in the southern half of Chile. Some are even less than a half-hour drive from Santiago, and most have multiple runs down the slopes of the Andes.
Chile Camping and Other Chile Accommodation Options
Chile camping can be expensive at official campsites, whether they are of modest facilities or part of fancy holiday resorts. Fortunately, all are usually well kept. Chile camping in national parks may provide just the basic necessities, and tends to be more expensive in the south than in the north of the country. In some parks wild camping is possible although it is wise to seek permission from the landowner first.
Refugios, basic stone huts with bed space and gas stoves, are found in more remote locations but you should contact the park ranger stations before relying on this option. You may also be able to camp on some beaches, but be sure to check with the local police first. Away from the city you can find some fantastic hacienda lodgings and lake resorts which also organize horse riding, rafting, fishing and hiking excursions.
Other accommodation options in Chile include residenciales, hospedajes, and casas de familia. The distinction between these three types is not always obvious, and it doesnâ€™t necessarily matter as long as keeping to your budget is your priority. Residenciales are usually impressive, well-maintained houses â€” but some can be dark and dank, so ask to see the room first. Hospedajes are usually cheaper versions of residenciales, providing simple rooms either as part of a house or in an extension at the back. Casas de familia (or casas familiares) as the name suggests, offer rooms in family homes and are pretty much along the same lines as the others. Family members may tout for business in bus stations so you can save money by catching a ride with them. Ask at the local tourist office for more information.
Other Hotel pages in Chile that may be of interest: Los Vilos Hotels, Punta Arenas Hotels, La Serena Hotels, CuricÃ³ hotels, Temuco Hotels, Los Angeles Hotels, ValparaÃso Hotels, VicuÃ±a Hotels, Osorno Hotels and Castro Hotels.
Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Jo is currently working as a freelance travel writer in Latin America. With degrees in...