If you’re hunting for a holiday that will allow you to appreciate just how big, beautiful and awe-inspiring the world can be, a trip to Chile is definitely on the cards for you. You’ll want to set aside a good amount of time for a road trip in Chile: there is so much to see here you won’t want to rush it. There is a Patagonian saying, “Those who hurry waste their time” which perfectly sums up the ideal approach to travel in Chile. This is a country that somehow incorporates all the most magnificent natural features from the rest of the world. Vast deserts, fjords, glaciers, hulking volcanoes, primeval forests… the raw majesty of Chile’s untouched wilderness is enough to inspire the most cynical soul.
Renting a car in Chile is the first step you’ll need to take before launching yourself on the trip of a lifetime. This will give you the opportunity not only to delve into some of the greatest natural treasures the world has in store, but also the freedom to do this on your own schedule, tailoring the ideal experience to suit your taste and requirements.
AirportRentals.com - the quick and easy way to rent a car in Chile
High on your list of priorities once you land in the country will be picking up a Chile airport car rental. This should all be taken care of well ahead of time, preferably online. Sifting through tens of different car rental supplier websites in an effort to find a decent deal can be annoying and time consuming - that’s why AirportRentals.com lets you skip all that.
All you have to do to in order to find the ideal Chile car rental is type a few basic details about your trip into the AirportRentals.com search box. Once you’ve hit the search button, a list of rental deals tailored for your trip will appear, with the cheapest at the top. If you need to narrow the selection down a little, you can always filter your results using criteria like vehicle type, rental supplier, transmission type and so on. The actual booking part comes next, but this will only take a couple minutes and then you can forget about the whole thing until you fly into Chile.
Airport rentals around Chile
Although it covers a relatively narrow band of land along South America’s west coast, Chile runs north to south for more than half the length of the continent. This means that the city you pick up your car hire from for a Chile road trip will have a big effect on what kind of journey you experience, at least initially. No matter which airport you fly into though, chances are you’ll be able to find a cheap car rental for your Chile experience.
● Santiago car rental - If you’re ever driving through endless Chilean wilderness and start to wonder where all the nation’s people are, the answer is Santiago. A little under half of Chile’s inhabitants call the city home, which means this is the perfect place to get a taste for Chilean culture. Picnic in a park, strike out for the ski resorts to the east or wineries to the west, or simply luxuriate in the rich, yet low-key nightlife.
● Punta Arenas car rental - It may not keep visitors for long, but the far south city of Punta Arenas does serve as a stellar base for expeditions into some of Chile’s most famous natural attractions, including the awe-inspiring granite vistas of Torres del Paine National Park.
● Puerto Montt car rental - There’s not a whole lot to do in Puerto Montt itself, but adventurers and sightseers may still find themselves flying into the city thanks to the excellent access it provides to Chile’s hauntingly blue glacial lakes, mountain riddled national parks and tempestuous volcanoes.
● Calama car rental - Copper mining raised this city up from insignificance, but most visitors will be interested in Calama as a stepping off point to discover the Atacama Desert. Outside of Antarctica and the Arctic, the Atacama is the driest place on earth, deprived of moisture by two sets of mountain ranges. Don’t miss a visit to San Pedro de Atacama, where you can visit a 16 century Spanish church and glimpse prehistoric mummies.
● Temuco car rental - Those keen to romp across Chile’s scenic Lake District will find Temuco is the perfect place to start, but don’t rush away from city straight away. This is the cultural centre of the Mapuche, an aboriginal people who staunchly resisted European takeover for hundreds of years. When you’re done with Temuco, don’t miss Conguillío National Park, which lavishly showcases all that’s good about the gorgeous Lake District.
● Antofagasta car rental - This is another Atacama Desert gateway city which has experienced a boom in recent years thanks to robust economic growth and a corresponding lift in population. If you’re not heading north into the desert, you may want to head south to Copiapó and its stunning nearby national parks.
● La Serena car rental - La Serena is particularly popular with visitors during the summer months, with tourists thronging the golden beaches of Avenida Del Mar. The city (which is the second oldest in Chile) also boasts some beautiful architecture, so don’t forget to take time for a stroll around La Serena, no matter what time of year you visit.
Car rental suppliers in Chile
When you’re in the process of renting a car in Chile, there are quite a few different rental brands to select from. You can go with the international name recognition of suppliers like Avis, Alamo, Budget and Europcar or try to snag a bargain with smaller brands such as Chilean, Keddy or Nu.
Chile road rules
Like most countries, traffic drives on the right hand side of the road in Chile. If there are no signs at an intersection, you should give way to traffic coming from your right. In built up areas the speed limit will be somewhere between 40 and 60 km/h, highways have a 100 km/h limit and on motorways the speed limit will vary between 100 and 120 km/h. These are just default limits of course: always keep an eye out for speed limit signs. There is little tolerance for drink driving in Chile, which has a strict 0.03% blood alcohol limit. Most people can’t get away with even one drink before exceeding that small amount, so it really is safest not to risk it. Somewhat unusually, it’s also illegal to smoke while driving. Unlike many other countries in South America, on the spot fines and bribes are unacceptable - police won’t ask for them, and you might end up in jail if you offer them. Always keep your driver’s licence, passport and rental documents with you when you travel, in case you’re pulled over.
Chile driving tips
● Traffic can tend to get quite backed up, especially in larger cities, so be patient and always schedule extra time to deal with potential gridlock.
● Gas stations can be few and far between in Chile, particularly as you get further from major centres. Always fill up your tank when you can.
● Give minibuses a wide berth. The state of driving in Chile is actually pretty good, but this is a common exception - these vehicles tend make unpredictable maneuvers.
● Keep some spare change on you for toll roads unless your Chile car hire has electronic toll tags.
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