Culture and etiquette
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.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Travel offers; book through Rough Guides
Planning your trip to Chile
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
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
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?
National parks are some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one…02 Jul 2015 • Rebecca Hallett help Quiz
Off the map in the Atacama: Chile's eerie ghost towns
Thousands of foreign travellers visit the geysers, salt flats, oases and volcanoes of north Chile’s Atacama Desert, but few make it to two of the region’s m…14 Jan 2015 • Shafik Meghji insert_drive_file Article