Chile’s social mores reflect the European ancestry of the majority of its population, and travellers from the West will have little trouble fitting in, especially if they have a good grasp of Spanish. Chileans are not especially ebullient and high-spirited – particularly when compared with their Argentine neighbours – and are often considered rather formal.

However, they are also known for their quick wit and wordplay, and considering its relatively small population, Chile has produced an impressive array of writers, poets, artists and musicians. The overwhelming majority of Chileans identify themselves as Catholic, and the church still has significant – though waning – influence in the country. Unsurprisingly, then, this is a rather conservative country: divorce was only legalised in 2004 and attitudes towards homosexuality, though improving, are generally far from enlightened. Chileans are very family-oriented: children are popular and travelling families can expect special treatment and friendly attention. Although stereotypical Latin American machismo undoubtedly exists, it is not as strong as in some other countries in the region.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Chile features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: exploring the otherworldly landscapes beyond Santiago

In pictures: exploring the otherworldly landscapes beyond Santiago

Santiago has transformed itself over the past decade, with a burgeoning food scene and thriving nightlife to boot. But the city's real drawcard remains its oth…

15 Sep 2017 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…

02 Mar 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month