Helpful Chilean Customs and Airport Tips!

Bruce Balick from U. Washington provided the observations below about the cost of passing through airports in Chile based on a trip in July, 1998.  Supplementary commentary by Tom Ingerson and an update from Brian Patten. Further information from Bruce and Tom inserted June 2000 with some updates by Kelle Cruz January 2002. Updates and corrections are always welcome.

1. Airline identity

2. Problems of dealing with immigration in Santiago. 3. Baggage 4. Money tips 5. Final Notes

FYI on politics (from TI), the head tax that Chile charges American, Canadian and Australian tourists upon entry to Chile is retaliation for a charge that these countries put on Chilean nationals coming to the U.S. The fee is deliberately discriminatory. The US imposes no similar charge for Argentinians, for example.

This is why these are called "reciprocity fees". The Chileans say that they'll elminate their charge immediately if and only if the other countries remove theirs.

The bottom line is that if you don't like paying $61 when you get to the airport in Santiago, you should write your congressman rather than the Chilean ambassador.

Don't even bother to complain to the person collecting the money. It's a waste of time and energy. The charge is imposed from very high up and the folks at the airport cannot waive it no matter how important or inconvenienced the tourist perceives himself to be. They have heard so many complaints on this theme that telling angry gringos to get lost has become a game for them.

Different fees may or may not apply to nationals of other countries, based on how they treat Chileans, I suppose.  Alan Watson tells us that folks from the U.K. don't get charged anything, which presumably means that the Brits don't charge Chileans either. 

Please drop us a line if you find any of this information to be incorrect or you have anything to add.