Money and duty free for Chile
Currency and Money
Chilean Peso (CLP; symbol CH$) = 100 centavos. The local symbol is simply $. Notes are in denominations of CH$20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of CH$500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1, although the latter is no longer in circulation.
Visa and Mastercard are commonly accepted – Diners Club and American Express slightly less so - in towns and cities, where ATMs are also largely available. Outside of the larger, more tourist-centred towns, currency exchange can be tricky.
Credit/debit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard and sometimes American Express) are widely accepted in towns and cities, where ATMs (also known as redbancs) are also largely available.
The government does not regulate the market of foreign currency in Chile, making it possible to exchange money and traveller's cheques at any casa de cambio at market-driven exchange rates. However, exchanging traveller's cheques in Chile has been reported to be problematic.
The import and export of local and foreign currencies is unlimited, however amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$10,000 must be declared.
Foreign exchange transactions can be conducted through commercial banks, casas de cambio, or authorised shops, restaurants, hotels and clubs. Casas de cambio are open daily 0900-1900 (Mon-Sat) and 0900-1400 (Sun). Ask to be given smaller denomination bills as these will be easier to spend, and you may run into trouble trying to get change from larger notes.
Chile duty free
The following goods may be imported into Chile without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes and 500g of tobacco and 50 cigars.
• 2.5L of alcoholic drinks.
• Gifts to the value of US$300.
Alcohol and tobacco allowances apply to travellers aged 18 and over only.
Used cars and motorbikes, asbestos and pornography.
Restricted imports requiring authorisation include firearms and ammunition, food, plants, animals (and their products), drugs and pharmaceutical products.