skiing in chile

Skiing in Chile: 2022’s
Ultimate Chile Ski Resorts and Backcountry Destination Guide

Chile ski resorts and borders are reopening to tourists in 2022. This updated travel guide will help you learn about the best skiing in Chile and how to make it happen.

If a ski trip to Chile is in your plans, you are in the right place.

Get insider tips from our experts with 23 years experience skiing Chile. Quickly learn where and when to go. From off the radar backcountry destinations to the best Chile ski resorts.

We include links to the best ski resort vacation packages and guided backcountry Chile ski tours.

Let’s drop right in, the Chilean ski season starts in June and goes through October.

Ski Chile Destination Guide Contents:

Chapter 1

Welcome to Chile:
A Narrow Paradise in The Andes

Chile is the world’s narrowest country and home to a breathtaking diversity of landscapes that has established the country as one of the world’s top outdoor adventure and winter sports destinations.

The string-bean nation is squeezed between the snowcapped peaks of the massive Andes Mountains and 3,000 miles of rugged Pacific Ocean coastline, with a Mars-like desert in the north and the windswept Patagonia wilderness in the south. In between, the South American country overflows with volcanoes, rushing rivers, lush temperate rainforest and fjords, fertile valleys and renowned vineyards galore.

Chile’s winter sport destinations are also a paradise for passionate skiers and snowboarders. Far from being a novelty, heading south to ski Chile during the hot summer months of the Northern Hemisphere is considered by many skiers to be a rite of passage to experience the mammoth Andes terrain. Much like ski resorts in Argentina (Chile’s next door neighbor), lift lines at the Chile ski resorts are the exception, not the norm.

Chile means meeting new people, being in the Andes when a condor soars overhead or after it dumps and you have the mountain to yourself… adjusting to the mellow pace of South American life.

Ingrid Backstrom
Pro Skier

Up next we cover the best ski areas in Chile. We include links to useful ski resort destination travel guides and help get you started booking your dream ski trip.

Chapter 2

Chile Ski Resorts

Chile's "Three Valley Resorts" combine Valle Nevado, El Colorado, and La Parva to form South America's largest skiable domain.

Currently there are 17 ski resorts in Chile. The ski areas are scattered along the mighty Andes Mountain range stretching from just north of the capital city of Santiago all the way south, deep into mystical Chilean Patagonia.

It’s hard to believe a country this size has less than 20 ski destinations. After all when you ski Japan, you have over 500 resorts to pick from. 

Below we’ll cover our 7 favorite main snow sport destinations to consider for your Chile ski holidays. 6 of Chile’s best ski resorts plus a unique cat ski operation. You’ll find updated lift ticket prices, and our opinion on if day skiing trips from Santiago are worth the effort. 

The Best Ski Resorts in Chile

Here we break down a list of the top Chile skiing resorts along with a map and highlights of each snow sport destination. We provide a link to each ski center so you can dive deeper into researching the resort in greater detail before booking your ski vacation to Chile.

Pro Tip: Snowboarders will also want to see our exclusive guide to snowboarding in Chile.

Most skiers have heard of Portillo, known for the best powder skiing in Chile. However there are other ski resorts and destinations that should be part of your summer skiing “bucket list.”

Smaller Chile ski resorts with just a few ski lifts dot the Andes but resorts such as La Parva, El Colorado, Nevados de Chillan, and Corralco offer a range of decent to modern chairlifts, comfortable accommodation options for all budgets, cultural activities and great dining.

Have a glance at the map of Chile’s ski resorts for reference and let’s explore…

Chile Resorts Map
Chile Ski Resorts Map

Ski Portillo: Best Family Ski Resort in Chile + Fantastic Steep Skiing

chile's best ski resorts
Poolside in Portillo with stunning vistas of Laguna del Inca and the surrounding Andes peaks.

Ski Resort Highlights

  • Often ranked as Chile’s best ski resort
  • Zero lift lines
  • No town, just one hotel and two more economical annexes keeping things intimate
  • Popular wine festivals and cultural activities
  • Only resort with slingshot lifts, which whisk skiers up to the top of runs such as the famous Roca Jack
  • Hike-accessed “Super C” one of the most iconic backcountry ski runs in the world

Celebrating 73 years in 2022, world-famous Ski Portillo Resort is a throwback to a more relaxed era of skiing, centered around the sunny-yellow iconic Hotel Portillo and fronting the shimmering Inca Lake. Portillo is known for its steep skiing, family friendly ambiance, old-world architecture and as a weeklong, ski vacation package-driven luxury resort that draws return guests year after year. Ski Portillo also draws international ski teams and a host of who’s-who during July, August and September. Portillo can easily boast Chile’s best ski school and the best expert skiing in Chile.

Valle Nevado: The Highest Ski Resort in Chile

one of chile's best ski resorts; valle nevado
Valle Nevado topping out at over 12,000ft

Ski Resort Highlights

  • Chile’s only high-speed quad and gondola
  • Part of the Mountain Collective and Ikon passes
  • Interconnect lift ticket with La Parva and El Colorado resorts opens a massive 7,000 acres
  • Quality restaurants and fun nightlife
  • Expect an international crowd with visitors from Europe, Brazil, Argentina and North America

Valle Nevado is Chile’s highest and most modern ski resort, with an upscale infrastructure and plenty of lodging, shopping and dining options. The resort is close to Santiago and totally above treeline, with well-groomed slopes and an abundance of off-piste gullies and rollers that gives the feel of a natural terrain park. With all this, the mountain skis bigger than even its 44 runs suggest. You just need to know where to go. Joining a guided trip is the best way to experience the best skiing and snowboarding in Valle Nevado.

La Parva: A Unique Chile Ski Mountain Packing an Alpine Punch

ingrid backstrom skis la parva chile
Ingrid Backstrom enjoying another powder day in La Parva, Chile

Ski Resort Highlights

  • The most extensive Andean backcountry options of the 3 Valleys
  • Home to La Chimenea steep couloir
  • Within the resort, wide-open terrain and some very fast groomers
  • Plenty of fun off-piste skiing and unique terrain features
  • Easy to get away from the crowds
  • Stellar sunsets overlooking downtown Santiago

The smallest of the Three Valleys ski resorts (home to Valle Nevado and El Colorado) caters mainly to upscale locals from Santiago, but with nearly 1km of vertical descent and a solid amount of terrain for advanced/expert skiers this resort packs a punch. Of all the South America ski destinations, La Parva has some of the most unique terrain and backcountry access. For skiers willing to earn their turns around the off-piste terrain, La Parva hosts some of the best expert skiing in Chile. 

El Colorado-Farellones: The Largest of Chile Skiing Resorts

sunsets over el colorado and farellones
Sunsets on another great day of skiing out of Farellones, Chile

Ski Resort Highlights

  • Beloved for its access to expert, out of bounds zone known as Santa Teresita (which requires vehicle transportation to get back)
  • Growing terrain park and expanded terrain has recently increased the resort’s ski and snowboard offer
  • Best variety of lodging of any Central Andes resort, from cozy lodges to private homes
  • Direct slope access from the Farellones village
  • Crowded frontside and base area but easy to escape to the backside
  • Best apres-ski and nightlife of the Three Valleys thanks to the bars and clubs of Farellones

Connected to the mountain village Farellones, El Colorado is Chile’s biggest ski resort and is the closest ski resort to Santiago. However it’s often overlooked by international visitors heading to Portillo or Valle Nevado. The cone-shaped mountain is often the first Chilean ski area to open. While the resort has plenty of easier terrain and loads of other activities like tubing, and a raucous après ski and nightlife, there is more than meets the eye. El Colorado accesses some of the best expert terrain in all of Chile, if you know where you are going. A guided trip is a great way to not miss El Colorado’s secret spots.

Nevados de Chillan: Tree Skiing + Stellar Backcountry + Hot Springs

backcountry skiing in chile
Skiing off the top of the volcano in Nevados de Chillan

Ski Resort Highlights

  • Our favorite ski resort in southern Chile
  • A true powder playground for freeriders
  • Southern Chile location offers some tree skiing unlike resorts closer to Santiago
  • Massive backcountry and side country touring opportunities, as well as cat skiing
  • A highlight destination on our popular week-long guided tours
  • Situated below an active smoking volcano
  • Known for its hot springs and extensive spa
  • 2 ski-in/ski-out hotels
  • Proximity to village Las Trancas, with more of a local’s vibe and plenty of entertaining restaurants and bars

Located in Chile’s southern region and reached via a 6-hour drive from Santiago or a short flight to Concepcion, Nevados de Chillan ski area is spread across the skirt of an active volcano and is one of the few resorts in Chile with tree skiing and hot springs. Resort-based ski-in/ski-out lodging as well as a sundry of lodging and dining options in nearby Las Trancas, Nevados is rustic but more than makes up for it with its highly varied terrain and abundance of backcountry ski touring and splitboarding options.

Corralco: Volcano Skiing + Monkey Puzzle Forests

corralco ski resort in Chile
Views of Volcano Lonquimay from the Corralco Resort Hotel and Spa

Resort Highlights

  • One of Chile’s longest ski seasons with skiing well into late October
  • Beautiful resort to learn to ski and snowboard with a relaxed atmosphere and bilingual instructors, and enough intermediate terrain to enjoy for a few days
  • Known for hot springs that are great to unwind in after skiing
  • Backcountry routes can be skied well into November
  • The main lodge allows for ski-in / tour-out oportunities
  • The relaxed village of Malalcahuello is nearby offering comfortable accommodations and local fare

A smaller, Spanish-owned ski resort with a cozy main lodge, Corralco Ski Resort on the Lonquimay Volcano is assured to become a major backcountry ski destination, with endless terrain and access to stellar volcano skiing.

Ski Arpa: Cat Skiing 12,000 Feet Above The Pacific Ocean

chile cat skiing in august
Snow cat access to Chile's best adventure skiing and mind-blowing views of the highest peaks outside of The Himalayas.


  • 4,000 acres of freeriding backcountry bliss
  • Two Pisten Bully snowcats that each carry 12 skiers and gear to 12,000 feet
  • Open bowls and steep chutes
  • Accessed via 4×4 adventure through rural Chile, cactus trees, and an old mining trail
  • Lodging in the town of Los Andes 1 hour down the hill, or doable as a day trip from Santiago
  • Stellar views of 22,841′ Aconcagua Mountain, the highest peak in the Andes

Not a ski resort but we had to include Ski Arpa SnowCats in our list of top Chile ski destinations. Hands down the most uncommon and adventurous ski experience in South America if not the planet, Arpa is a cat-skiing operation tucked away in the heart of the Andes, owned by an Austrian expat, and sporting phenomenal Andean vistas and a direct view of Mt. Aconcagua. No lifts, no groomed runs, and no accommodation, just a rustic day lodge built into the side of a hill.

Explore Chile Differently

Experience Portillo, La Parva, El Colorado and Valle Nevado all in one awesome trip. Plus you'll get cat skiing, endless culture and hosted dinners with your friendly local ski guides.

Is Day Skiing From Santiago Worth It?

The Three Valleys resorts — Valle Nevado, La Parva, and El Colorado collectively — sit directly above Santiago and can be reached in under 90 minutes when traffic is light and roads are clear. Despite a corkscrew road and an altitude jump of more than 8,000 feet, many Santiago locals and visiting skiers and riders opt for a day trip to escape Santiago and spend a day skiing in the Andes.

Our honest opinion on ski based day trips from Santiago? Don’t do it unless it is your only option.

This especially applies to weekends or holidays. Simply put, it is a huge trip for just one day. The transfer companies running shuttles up to the resorts from the city are very inconsistent when it comes to reliability and service and any weather can further extend your time in the road.

Alternatives when skiing Santiago?

Stay in the mountains. Between the classic ski village of Farellones, the condos of La Parva and El Colorado, to the 3 main ski hotels of Valle Nevado you have plenty of good options to fit different travel budgets and comfort levels. Some are even ski-in / ski-out.

That being said, there are a few “hacks” to avoid the typical Santiago ski day trip headaches if staying downtown:

  1. If you have access to an all wheel drive vehicle with good tires and are comfortable driving in winter conditions, get an early start (before 7:00am) and you can beat most traffic. You will need an international drivers license. Snow chains are required to carry even during dry spells. Explore our individual resort destination guides (we linked to in the section above) for details on how to get there.
  2. Skiers and riders with a group budget of $1500-1600 (this can be split between 5 passengers) can jump on a helicopter and get to Valle Nevado’s heli-pad in 15 minutes from the Tobalaba Aerodrome or the top of the Millennium building in Las Condes, either to ski the resort for the day or go heli-skiing. La Parva Ski Resort also has a heli-pad.

Spending some time in Santiago? Check out a few of our favorite recommended places to see and explore around the city. Guide to exploring and skiing near Santiago >

Chapter 3

Top Chile Ski Resort Vacation Packages

Chile’s modern infrastructure give peace of mind to international skiers and snowboarders and a burgeoning food and wine scene have only added to the allure of this unique South American destination.

Chile Awaits!

PowderQuest Tours offers you 2 decades experience booking Chile ski packages and holidays.

Chapter 4

When's The Best Time to Ski Chile


Now that you have a good idea where to ski, let’s cover the when.

Escape the summer heat wave but don’t get skunked. In this chapter, we’ll cover the best time to ski Chile. Discover when to visit the resorts and extensive backcountry during the upcoming Chile ski season. 

You’ll also learn about the climate and weather conditions to expect while you’re traveling through the country.

Chile’s Ski Season: When to Go

You’ve heard about the Endless Winter? Don’t pack the ski and snowboard gear away after that bucket list Japan ski tour.

Chile’s reverse seasons let you keep your skis and board waxed from June to October, and for some in the hottest US regions, winter in Chile is a refreshing antidote from the scorching summer heat. School vacations free up kids and give parents more flexibility with family travel planning.

Pro Tip: If you do put away your gear be sure to do it right. Here are our 7 pro tips on how to store your skis or snowboard >

When to Ski Chile’s Resorts

The best time to ski Chile’s resorts is mid-July until early September. Early-season winter storms in late May and June can allow for last-minute trip planning to really get the goods in June. To play it safe however it is best to book mid-July and on.

Skiing in July

High season at ski resorts corresponds with South American school holidays, normally the middle two weeks of July. Expect higher prices during this time. The holiday crowds taper off near the end of the month.

Skiing in August

Pro skiers and snowboarders and national ski teams from the US, Canada, Asia and Europe head to Chile from August until mid-September to train, film video segments, run product catalog photo shoots, and build up their social media content. It’s common to end up sitting on a chairlift or have dinner next to the best skiers and riders in the world. Chile is without a doubt the ski and snowboard “summer camp” for the world’s best. Skiing Chile in August is generally the best time to ski powder and should be on everyone’s travel “bucket list”. Snow storms build the resort bases from May through July. Come August, the bases are deep and more storms continue to refresh the slopes and backcountry. Prices from lift tickets, lodging and resort dining all drop after the July holidays. August is a good time to save and still have great quality snow.

September to October

Early to mid-September generally serves up fantastic conditions, but do keep in mind some seasons, early September can quickly accelerate into spring. Not that that is a bad thing. You can expect amazing corn skiing this time of year while still getting the occasional refresh of powder. Many Chilean ski resorts (Portillo, Valle Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado) tend to close for the ski season between the September 18 Independence holidays and mid-October, depending on snow conditions and local demand. However the further south you go in Chile the longer the ski season tends to extend. Corralco Ski Resort, on the skirts of the beautiful 9400′ Lonquimay Volcano, often remains open into late October, early November.


Now you’re pushing it. If you really want to ski in November you will need the stars to align or bring your backcountry touring equipment. Most resorts are closed, but on a big snow year a few smaller southern resorts in Chile may remain open; Antillanca and Corralco. In 2019 Corralco operated for a record 135 ski days not closing until November 4th. One of the longest ski seasons on record in Chile.

Best Time for Backcountry Ski Touring + Splitboarding in Chile

Chile backcountry skiing and snowboarding

Now let’s cover the Chilean backcountry. This next section applies to both those researching coming down on their own trip or looking into a guided backcountry skiing tour with professional ACMG guides.

When it comes to splitboarding and backcountry ski touring in Chile, few countries can compare to the country’s variety of terrain, ease of access and sweeping views that often span from Argentina to the deep Pacific Ocean.

In the Lake District and parts of Chilean Patagonia, you can splitboard or ski tour up active and inactive snow-covered volcanoes and end the day in one of a myriad of natural hot springs; locally known as “termas”.

Closer to Santiago, between the towns of Los Andes and Chillan massive peaks extend down the spine of the Andes offering some of the best and most remote backcountry adventures on Earth. While some zones are being discovered and small huts and backcountry touring lodges are opening, (Cajon del Maipo and The Maule Backcountry Region especially) this area still remains vastly untouched. The terrain? Epic. Options? Endless.

Resort accessed backcountry ski touring and splitboarding in Chile is best in August to mid-September for deeper snow bases, better chances of hitting the snowstorms rolling off the Pacific, and longer weather windows to enjoy all those bluebird powder days.

From mid-September to late October, expect more daylight hours, corn snow and south facing powder. Yep, south facing! As the main resorts begin to shut down around Santiago, this time of year is where Southern Chile really shines. Laid back ski resorts on smoking, snow-hammered volcanoes are perfect gateways for human-powered snow adventures. Looking to extend the ski season in Chile? Backcountry touring is your answer well into October and November.

For more on these areas offering backcountry access from the lifts, visit our ski resort section in Chapter 2.

Chapter 5

Getting to Chile is Easier Than You Think

getting to chile

Now that you have learned more about weather and the snow in Chile let’s cover getting there. Travel to Chile is surprisingly easy and we break it all down here.

Before we dig deeper on how to get to Chile, let’s briefly touch where it is located on the map.

Chile runs the southwestern length of South America, bordered by Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. The nation’s capital Santiago and airport is 10 ½ hours from New York, 8 hours from Miami, and 9 hours from Dallas.

All international flights arrive to Santiago’s Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez (airport code: SCL). Upon arrival, the ski resorts Valle Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado, Portillo and Ski Arpa can all be accessed in 90 minutes to 2 hours by vehicle.

For southern ski destinations such as Nevados de Chillan, Corralco, Pucon and Antillanca, travelers can catch a domestic flight to Concepción, Temuco or Puerto Montt. Domestic flight times range 1-2 hours depending on your destination. LATAM and the low-cost airline, Sky are the 2 main airlines for domestic travel.

Another option for reaching the southern Chile ski destinations is to take an overnight sleeper bus with fully reclining seats from downtown Santiago or the neighborhoods Vitacura or Las Condes. Check out Turbus, JAC and Pullman for tickets at the bus station. 

Chile’s extensive bus network is a great way to travel longer distances and coaches come in a variety of classes from cheap to near luxury. Travel time is 10-12 hours, mostly overnight, and we break this down in more detail on each ski resort destination guide. Links below. Buses are comfortable and with the overnight travel you save on hotel fares.

Getting to Chile From North America

EST time zone means little to no jet lag for North Americans. A great place to start searching for airfare to Chile is on Google Flights.

There are nonstop overnight flights from New York, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles (with LAX, some flights are direct and others stop in Lima, Peru).

American, Delta, United and LATAM all fly to Chile, and Air Canada direct from Toronto. Depart at night and arrive early the next morning. You can be skiing by lunchtime!

Low-cost flights especially from secondary cities in the US can be found on Copa Airlines and Aeroméxico, with stopovers in Panama City and Mexico City, respectively.

From Australia / New Zealand

There is nonstop service on Qantas from Sydney and Melbourne, and direct service from Auckland on Qantas or LATAM. Qantas operates on a code share with LATAM.

From Europe

Getting to Chile from most European hubs is simple. There are nonstop flights to Santiago from London (British Airways), Madrid (LATAM and Iberia), and Paris (Air France).

Airport Transportation to Santiago Hotels

From the Santiago airport, always pre-plan an airport transfer service or book a taxi or shuttle with an official company (Transvip is one of the better options offering private and shared ride options) located just outside the customs area but before entering the main arrival area. 

Warning: Do not accept a taxi ride from one of the pesty “freelancers” that clog the arrival area, as there have been many reports of price gauging or theft. They are not to be trusted.

What about Uber?

Only confirm your pickup location at the elevators exit in front of Door 5. Be sure to look for the Meeting Point, where all Uber drivers meet travelers for pickup.

Returning to the airport after your trip

When you start your journey home, if taking Uber to the airport, they will drive you to the car park and you’ll need to walk a couple of minutes to the terminal entrance.

Other options are private services best arranged by your hotel’s front desk staff. Many hotels offer reliable, trustworthy private vans that will fit your skis and luggage comfortably.

Chapter 6

Snow Reports and What to Expect With
Winter Weather in Chile

winter weather and snow in chile

Climatic conditions in Chile during the Southern Hemisphere winter vary considerably depending on where you are skiing/snowboarding or traveling. Like most mountain travel, expect a bit of everything in The Chilean Andes and pack accordingly. (These trip packing lists should help when planning on what to bring).

Let’s break the Chilean ski season weather down, north to south.

Snow and Weather in Central Chile

Around the Central Chilean Andes region (home to resorts: V. Nevado, Parva, Colorado/Farellones, Portillo, and cat skiing at Arpa), snow begins falling generally in late April to May. On wetter seasons, common during El Niño cycles, enough May snow will often suffice for early resort openings. On drier autumns and winters, the snow might not arrive until mid to late June, sometimes even waiting until early July.

From June to September, expect pounding snowstorms with very dry snow (think Utah or snow found while Hokkaido skiing, albeit not as consistent), followed by extended periods of bluebird skies and a range of cool to mild temperatures for most of Chile’s winter.

Overcast days are the exception, not the norm. A thinner ozone layer and high altitudes make for intense sun so always wear sunscreen when outdoors. When it does go cloudy, expect temperatures to cool off very quickly.

Moderate to strong winds are part of the soul of The Andes. Even on sunny days, when the Andean “wind machine” turns on, you can expect to cool off quickly. Dressing in layers is essential.

Off the Mountain

In Santiago and around the Central Valley expect winter temperatures to average 30-40F lows and 60-65F highs, with September temperatures turning spring-like and mild but dropping unexpectedly when a storm rolls through. You can often ski knee-deep powder in the morning and wear a t-shirt and flip-flops down in the valley in the afternoon. Your feet will thank you!

Snow and Weather in Southern Chile

From May to late October, expect a good amount of snow in the mountains (although not as dry as Central Chile’s snow…think Whistler). Rain is common at lower elevations during the winter months, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 20s (F). Be sure to bring your Goretex outerwear and waterproof shoes suitable for rain, mud and deep snow.

The sun does not make many appearances this time of year, but when she does shine, you might find yourself thinking Patagonia is one of the most stunning places on Earth.

The volcanoes and upper Patagonian peaks of southern Chile experience massive accumulation of snow + wind from low pressure storms rolling off the Pacific. The wind can be intense most of the year and truly is a raw part of Patagonia.

A few times a season a dry foehn-like wind from the east known as Puelche makes it’s mark. Comparable to the Chinook winds in the western part of North America, Puelche rips in from Argentina occasionally closing the ski resort chairlifts of Pucon-Villarrica, Antillanca and at times, Corralco and Nevados de Chillan.

Next we cover some must known facts and details before you plan your ski trip to Chile this year.

Chapter 7

Know Before You Go

Now that you are more familiar with the world of Chile skiing and snowboarding, let’s review some important details and facts you should know before heading to the string-bean nation south of the equator.


Passports must be in good condition and valid for at least 90 days following your return date.


As of May 9, 2020 Australian passport holders are not required to obtain an e-visa to enter Chile.

No visa is necessary to enter Chile for most other countries.

Upon arrival, officials will issue all travelers a “tourist card” that is to remain in your passport during your stay. You are required to carry it with you and show when you leave the country.

The tourist card will also be required to check into hotels and can be used to avoid a 19% IVA tax (A value-added tax)on lodging when checking out. If you lose your tourist card, you can obtain a new one at the International Police counter in the airport departure entrance at customs.

Leave the apple on the plane! No not your phone, your fruit. Chilean customs is normally a quick process, but do not enter with any fruit or dairy products or you could be detained up to two hours at the Santiago airport and pay a hefty fine.


Proof of COVID vaccinations are required to enter Chile. For updates on requirements to travel to Chile go here >

Tap water, while not particularly tasty in some cities, is safe to drink.

Travel health insurance is strongly recommended as U.S. health insurance policies will not directly pay a clinic or hospital bill while in Chile (some policies might reimburse medical costs once you’re back home but you’re responsible for paying bills upfront). Travel insurance also covers evacuation services for extreme cases.


The electrical current is 220V/50Hz. Chile uses round two-prong (type C) and three-prong (type L) plugs, so bring several adapters as they are easy to lose when traveling.


Chile’s currency is the Chilean peso, with colorful bills issued in denominations of $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000.

Coins are in denominations of 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 pesos.

The currency code is CLP. Chileans use the term “luca” to denote 1,000 pesos, so for example a 10,000-peso note is commonly called “diez lucas.” In 2020, the exchange rate has fluctuated between 800 and 850 pesos to the dollar. Check for current exchange rates.

Banking hours are Mon-Fri, 9am to 2pm; money exchange houses are open Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, and Sat. 9am to 2pm. ATMs in Chile are plentiful and referred to as a “Redbanc,” and they accept most international debit and credit cards. Most ATMs charge a fee but if you have a debit card from select USA banks listed here, these fees may be reimbursed.

Dollars are not accepted in Chile with the exception of hotels, but often at a disadvantageous exchange rate.

For tipping it is customary to leave a 10% tip at restaurants and bars. Porters receive $1,000-$2,000 Chilean pesos per bag, and the same amount per day for maid service. You do not need to tip taxi drivers.


Rapid-fire and slang-heavy Spanish, although basic English and some Portuguese is spoken in most tourist areas. Rapa Nui is spoken on Easter Island, and native Mapudungun in the Lake Region among indigenous Mapuche.


Chile is one of the safest countries in South America despite 2019’s civil unrest that occurred due to cost of living, inequality, poor public healthcare and education. The kind of violence that exists elsewhere on the continent is almost nonexistent, but vehicle break-ins are common and travelers should never leave valuables in an unattended vehicle even for a few minutes, even at remote ski areas. 

Like most cities around the world, pickpockets are common on the metro and other forms of public transportation, in tourist areas, and on crowded streets, and valuable items such as smart phones should be worn close to the body.

Chapter 8

And The Winner is...

During the past decade Chile has received numerous travel awards and recognitions as a leading adventure travel destination known for its unusual wealth of dramatic natural landscapes. As well, travel awards have gone to Chile as a tranquil, peaceful travel destination with an outstanding tourism infrastructure. Here is a breakdown of recent praises and awards from major media sources.

Best Adventure Travel Destination in South America- World Travel Awards

Chile has been awarded the best adventure travel destination in South America since 2015. Yes, 7 years running as of October when it was announced that Chile again placed #1 in 2021. According to The Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards, or WTA are the Oscars of the tourism industry and anyone that has been to Chile can honestly say that this award is well-deserved. In order to qualify for this award, a country needs to have a large variety of physically challenging adventures that take place in exotic and remote locations, and Chile offers plenty of them within their diverse country.

Travvy Awards 2020

After a historic vote from over 100,000 travel agents, Chile takes the silver award for Best Expedition/Adventure Destination, second only to Alaska in 2020. The Travvy Awards focus on the recognition for the highest standards of excellence in tourism amongst travel destinations.

Lonely Planet’s Top Country to Visit in 2018

Lonely Planet recognized Chile as the best country to visit in 2018 due to the extraordinary landscapes that are available there. For 2019, Lonely Planet listed Chile’s Elqui Valley as one of the “Top Ten Best Regions” for 2019, but recommends that visitors spend some time in Chile as they explore both the heat of the Atacama Desert, the wild region of Patagonia, and everywhere in between. Skiing powder in the Andes in August anyone?
sunset at la parva ski resort in chile

Top Destinations Lists

A handful of the UK’s top media outlets have recognized Chile’s natural beauty with accolades. The Independent newspaper named Patagonia in “25 Places You Need to Visit in 2018” and Wanderlust travel magazine named Chile’s Lake District in “12 Trips to 2017’s New Frontiers.”

Forbes magazine listed northern Patagonia as one of “15 Coolest Places to Go in 2018,” and The Ethical Travel Organization named Chile #3 in 2017 for their “Best Destinations” list.

Outside’s Best International Adventure Hub

Outside Magazine has been ranking adventurous travels for more than four decades now, so they know the best when they see it and experience it.

They have quite a few favorite things about Chile including the wide-open spaces, hiking and sailing adventures, mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, snowboarding from June to October, and the opportunity to stay at a retreat in the middle of a vineyard.

Outside also included southern Chile in its “The 2018 Adventure Bucket List”.

Chapter 9

FAQ's & Cool Facts About Chile

Chileans are extremely proud of their culture and their cuisine. It’s not uncommon when you first arrive to the mountains that you will be offered Chile’s official national drink the Pisco Sour. A cocktail mixed with Pisco (grape based liquor), lemon juice, simple syrup, and touch of egg whites for the foam.

Most ski resort daily lift tickets are priced in Chilean pesos, so the USD cost of a lift ticket depends on the exchange rate for that day. Expect a wide range of prices from USD $50 to $80 for an adult day ticket depending on the resort, day of the week and month. See our updated Lift ticket price list >

Here’s a break down of the best skis to ski on in Chile:

Resort skiing

  • skis with a waist width of 85-100mm
  • between shoulder and head high
  • not too stiff, you want to be on a ski you can bend and ski proficiently rather than feeling like the ski is skiing you.

 Off Piste Skiing

  • skis with a waist width of 85-110mm
  • head to a little above head high are preferred

Backcountry Skiing

  • skis with a waist of 95-120mm + touring bindings + skins
  • make sure your binding is compatible with ski crampons 

For the deepest snow in Chile head to Nevados de Chillan and Corralco. Large storms slam these areas dropping deep snow. It is not uncommon for these resorts to receive several feet of new snow multiple times through the winter season.

From September to October head south for the best spring ski conditions. Nevados de Chillan, Corralco, Pucon, and Antillanca are our top choices for corn skiing.

For the driest powder snow head to Portillo, or any of the 3 Valley resorts above Santiago (Valle Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado). Due to their high elevation, the snow comes in light and dry and remains cold for days.

For the best hotel nightlife Portillo is the hands down winner. Home to a rocking bar and late night dance club. 

For ski villages with more options of bars, dance clubs and pubs check out Farellones (at the base of El Colorado resort) and the town of Pucon in the south.

Portillo. Great child care, plenty of activities and one of the best ski schools in the Southern Hemisphere. Portillo is family friendly and even hosts specific ski weeks catered with special discounts to families with children. Learn more >

Cool Facts to Share With Your Amigos

  1. The northern Atacama Desert is home to the clearest skies in the world, with many of the planet’s most important observatories such as the ALMA Observatory, the most powerful in the world. It is also the only country with a government-funded UFO research organization.
  2. The Andes Mountains run along 80% of the length of the country, with the widest part being 220 miles and the narrowest just 40 miles wide.
  3. Chile is one of the most geologically turbulent countries with nearly 90 active volcanoes.
  4. Two of Chile’s offshore islands were the inspiration for the classic novels Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick.
  5. Chile is the only country in the world with original European grape rootstocks, having avoided the phylloxera bug that wiped out vineyards in Europe.
  6. Northern Chile is where the oldest mummies in the world were found.
  7. The world’s oldest tree, the alerce, can only be found in Chile and can live up to 4,000 years.
  8. Chile produces over a third of the world’s copper.
  9. Pro skier and snowboarders flock to Chile to film video edits for their sponsors and social media campaigns. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa teamed up with PowderQuest recently to film “Por Que Esquiar” Check it out below. 

More Ski + Snowboard Tours to Maximize Your Ski Trip to Chile

Chile Advanced Off-Piste + Adventure Catskiing and Snowboarding Tour

Country: Chile, South America
Style: Advanced Off-Piste + Cat/Sled
Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights
Limited to: 6 guests
From: $ USD
Dates: Coming soon! Contact us to get on the list.
Learn More >

Chile Backcountry Skiing + Snowboarding Tour: Termas de Chillan to Corralco

Country: Chile, South America
Style: Lift-Assisted Backcountry Touring
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Limited to: 8 guests
From: $ USD
Dates: Coming soon! Contact us to get on the list.
Learn More >

Chile Ski Resort All Mountain Tour: Portillo, Valle Nevado, Arpa Catskiing + Santiago

Country: Chile, South America
Style: All Mountain Resort Off-Piste
Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights
Limited to: 6 guests
From: $4499 USD
Dates: JUL 17-23 / JUL 24-30 / JUL 31-6 / AUG 7-13 / AUG 16-22
Learn More >

Chile Volcano Ski Touring + Splitboarding Adventure Trip

Country: Chile, South America
Style: Human-Powered Touring
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Limited to: 6 guests
From: $3999 USD
Dates: SEP 7-14 / SEP 28-OCT 5 / OCT 5-12
Learn More >

Ultimate Andes Ski + Snowboard Adventure: Catski + Resort Lift Access Backcountry: Chile to Las Lenas

Country: Argentina, Chile, South America
Style: Guided Backcountry Combos
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Limited to: 6 guests
From: $ USD
Dates: Coming soon! Contact us to get on the list.
Learn More >

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