Getting into Chile:
No more reciprocity fee! We came here fully expecting to pay $100USD to get into the country but we didn’t have to! We were trying to be prepared for questions concerning our trip and duration but our customs agent was more concerned with the memes on their phone so that may have helped.
It’s a good idea to write the name and address of your hostel down on a piece of paper so when you go to get a transvip, this way they understand where you’re going and you’ll be charged accordingly (without struggling through broken Spanish like we did!). Transvip also has a good website where you can pre book a shuttle however it was quite easy in the airport. Transvip is a shuttle service from the airport that can fit up to 7 people and they’ll leave the airport when they’re full—cheaper than trying to just get a taxi because you go to the booth in the airport to get your ticket. It is also a fixed cost (plus tip) versus haggling with a taxi.
The Lonely Planet Latin America Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary was super helpful… until we left it on a bus.
We also asked about taking an Uber to/from the airport here and the staff at our hostel told us not to do that. Apparently, even though everyone uses Uber here, it is actually illegal. We were told that if we took an Uber to the airport, they wouldn’t drop us off at the doors and we would have to walk quite a ways to get to the airport because there are so many police officers there that if they were caught driving for Uber, their car would be taken away. Take TransVIP from the airport because it’s pretty cheap and then take a cab back when you need. Just ask if your hostel books taxis because ours was only 16000pesos (about $32). Our hostel takes the money from us and pays the cab driver because they’ve had issues in the past where the taxi ended up charging more than advertised.
The tap water is also fine to drink here and in Argentina as well. So far we have heard that it’s a good idea to get bottled water in northern Chile but we haven’t had a chance to test that yet!