Chile – Eat, Drink, Sleep Like A Local

Being the longest country in the world and featuring the southernmost city on a continent, the charming Chile is becoming more and more popular travel destination among young backpackers.

The beautifully variable country offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes, including volcanoes, mountains and beaches – all of these even around one city, the capital of Santiago de Chile. Adding to the picture a few of cute and cuddly naturally wandering animals such as teeny weeny penguins, along with large southern sea lions found in the middle of the red lights on the road of Valdivia – who wouldn’t get curious to explore the country which recently also won Copa America, the international football tournament for national teams of South America for the first time in their history?

Southern sea lion in Valdivia, Chile
Southern sea lion in the middle of a street in Valdivia, Chile. Photo by: biobiochile.cl

We collected our best budget travel tips where to wine, dine, sleep – and how to get around like a local chileno:

1. GET LUNCH FROM FOOD MARKETS

If you wish to experience some of the most traditional flavours of Chile, visit the Central Market of Santiago (Mercado Central).  Typical Chilean dishes include for example beans with reins (porotos con rienda), beef casserole (cazuela de vacuno), seafood soup (mariscal), fried fish (pezcado frito), corn pie (pastel de choclo) and patties filled with spicy meat mixed with onions, hard-boiled eggs and raisins (empanada chilena). Besides these flavours you may also want to try some Peruvian or Colombian delicacies also available on the spot. A full and rich meal will cost around 2500 Chilean pesos (3-4 euros).

Central Market in Santiago de Chile
Photo by: Constanza /Flickr CC

Read more why you should travel to Santiago de Chile.

2. UTILISE LUNCH DEALS AND COOK IN HOSTELS

In many places around Chile it is common to get valuable offers for lunch deals, providing you delicious food for an affordable price. You generally get these deals on the food places itself, there’s no need to look for them or buy them in advance. And as a loyal budget traveler does, you may impress your new fellow travel mates by cooking your dinners at hostel’s own kitchen – or if you’re not really the greatest Gordon Ramsay, make friends first and agree on a common cooking night where everyone can join and participate (and split the expenses together!).

Valparaiso, Chile

3. FEEL FREE TO DRINK TAP WATER

Surprisingly enough and unlike in many other destinations, tap water is totally drinkable and tasty in Chile! Instead of buying plastic bottles after another, have your own bottle filled from a tap. However, avoid drinking water from fountains on the street – there’s no guarantee it will potable.

4. WINE, BEER…OR A MIX?

Even if a recent study shows the Chileans drink nowadays more beer than wine, there’s no deny the for fact that Chile does produce one of the best quality and affordable wines in the world. Getting your fine bottle of Casillero del Diablo, a recommended red wine by the locals from a grocery store is one of the best ways to enjoy the espiritu de Chile on a budget. Or, if you prefer to drink beer instead of wine, try for example Kunstmann Lager sin Filtrar. The locals also love to mix refreshing KemPiña and pineapple-flavoured ice cream – together with white wine.

Wine in Chile
Photo by: David Horowitz /FlickR CC

5. TRAVEL BY BUS AND GET YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE

Instead of using rather slow, expensive and limited trains often having rail problems – go and take a bus! The bus connection network of Chile is extensive and the most popular form of transportation by both locals and tourists, thanks to its affordability and reasonable prices.  Make sure to buy your bus tickets in advance, since you will pay less and because they often tend to be sold out due to the frequency of the buses. Another alternative is to rent a car, since driving in Chile is considered relatively safe despite the chaotic traffic of the downtown of Santiago.

6. GO HOSTELLING

Valpackers Hostel in Valparaiso, Chile

There are a few cool and laidback hostels for you to sleep over while touring around Chile. Try for example one of these:

Valparaiso: Valpackers Hostel offers 7 colourful, relaxing and quiet rooms in the downtown of Valparaiso, on a walking distance from bars and pubs largely ejoyed by young travelers. Prices starting from 14.17 €.

Santiago de Chile: Traveler’s Place Hostel in the downtown of Santiago de Chile features chilled atmosphere and is designed with the touch from the 50’s. Prices starting from 9.21 €.

Santa Cruz: B&B Bellavista de Colchagua offers a pleasant stay with full or queen size beds, handmade furniture and private bathrooms. Prices starting from 45.68 €.

And if you need more travel advice where to rest your head in Chile, feel free to drop us an email at info@hostelsclub.com!