Traveling in Chile and Argentina can be a bit of a surprise to most North Americans and Europeans who are accustomed to things operating efficiently and running on time. Here in the south you need to understand that the infrastructure is not of the same standards as in the North and the way of life is more laid back in many ways. Part of coming to visit here is slowing down and enjoying the things we have to offer in a whole different way. Just to give you an idea of what to expect we put together a few side notes to prepare you for your visit.

Language
Spanish is the official language of Argentina and Chile with each country having their own form of dialect and use of slang words. It never hurts to brush up on a little Spanish before visiting as it’s a great ice breaker and you’ll find the folks here are more than willing and friendly for visitors to give their Spanish a try.

Money and exchange rates
The official currency in the two countries is the Argentine Peso and Chilean Peso. You can expect an almost daily fluctuation for both currencies. Best exchange rates are offered when using a credit card or ATM’s (found only in larger cities). The larger cities have several official money changers with rates being set by the banking industry. It is possible to ask around and exchange US dollars on the Argentine black market when visiting most towns in Argentina. Shops will sometimes accept dollars at a higher exchange rate. If bringing cash be sure to bring new, unmarked and undamaged bills.

Safety
You will find when traveling in rural and lightly populated areas of Chile or Argentina that there are few problems with safety. As in travelling in most developed countries common sense and watchfulness are sufficient prevention against any safety issues.

Communications
Cell phone and internet coverage is usually available in most areas with good coverage. We will provide you with a list of contact phone numbers in case of an emergency back home.

Time Zones
Chile is in EST the same time zone as New York City with Argentina being an hour ahead.

Metric System and Voltage
The metric system is used both in Chile and Argentina. Power consists of 220 volts AC, 50 cycles. You will need to buy an adapter / converter for any electronic equipment you plan on bringing with you. Batteries are readily available in all sizes.