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Keep Your Hemispheres Straight!

It’s not just whether the North Star or the Southern Cross governs the night sky. There are hemispherical differences that go beyond climate or weather concerns, and how clocks are set in relative countries; people in Chile should especially be aware of them.

I just chuckle every time I have to deal with ignorant people, especially school teachers, that say things like “Christmas is in winter” or that June 20th (or is it the 21st?) is the “longest day of the year.” Someone needs to explain to them the difference between the northern and southern hemispheres. Yet so many teachers do not even “get” such basic stuff. So, how can we expect that their students will? I just ran into this issue again today with a “white Christmas” slide show presented by an online academy.

With so much misinformation how can we possibly expect students to know other more crucial and insightful things that require interpretation of facts and some analysis when we teach them incorrect “facts”? How can they possibly evaluate whether the U.S. government’s story about 9/11 is true, for instance?

Christmas is in the summer for many millions of people, at least twelve percent of the world’s population, living in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and many other countries. It is certainly not “white” (except maybe on beaches in Tahiti, Samoa or Fiji) or “cold.” And for them it is in summertime–when Christmas Day is very long, too!

It is also worth mentioning that around forty percent of the world’s population live in the tropics, with no significant seasons or snow whatsoever, except perhaps a very high altitudes such as in the altiplano of Chile, Peru and Bolivia, or a couple of peaks in Hawaii. The vast majority of them may have never seen a snowfall, let alone a white Christmas.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

A Couple of New Scams by “Friendly” Chileans

Chile is well-known for its scams.

It is society built on lying, cheating, stealing, dishonesty and deception. I do not know how I can put it more plainly. Yet, those of us raised in other cultures, even after living here many years, can still be blindsided by criminals and scammers. Thus, one can imagine how bad the situation can be for newcomers. That weakness is something profound that you should not take lightly, starting from the moment that you step off the aircraft at the Santiago airport. If you do not, beware the biblical adage: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12), because you likely will fall!

Recently, a new client of mine arrived in Chile. It was the first international trip he had taken in his life, fueled by fears of being “Trumped.” He got scammed by a taxi service, ignoring careful instructions from me, or at least not taking them seriously.

Normally, we pick up all clients personally from the airport with VIP service. However, this one had made a last-minute plane reservation and had an arrival time that conflicted with other commitments we had, thus making it necessary to find an alternative means to pick him up. The client was so worried about President Trump and the coming expected world war that he did not want to waste any time in leaving “the land of the free.” Unfortunately, he paid the price for not acting sooner and giving us a chance to better-prepare for his arrival.

Many Chilean hotel transfer drivers have long since given up writing names of arriving guests on placards. Crooks would simply look for the names that drivers had written and write them on their own placards, figuring out ways to get to the customer first. Then they would drive him off and either rob him or at the very least charge him an exorbitant amount to get to the hotel–sort of a “ransom service.” Under current practice, many hotels just hold up a placard with the logo of the hotel and the customer is instructed to look for that logo instead of their name.

Nowadays, there are pirates at the arrival gate, masquerading as airport employees. The merry thugs and thieves hire a front-man that can speak good English, providing a welcome voice to weary international travelers in a sea of foreign language confusion. Yet, sometimes bilingual Chileans are the least trustworthy, even if they wear a convincing uniform!

The tactic is simple: identify a target as he leaves the sliding glass doors at customs. Gringos are usually easy to pick out, especially when they look lost or a little tired and bewildered. Then politely ask him if he needs some assistance, noting that (the pirate) is an airport employee assigned the task of helping international travelers: a sort of “welcome to Chile” service.

In the case of my unwary client, the pirate was informed that he needed no help since he was awaiting a transfer van from the Renaissance Hotel. Then the pirate replied, “unfortunately, that van had already left.” (Literally, “he missed the bus” and was about to get bent over without knowing it was coming.) No worries, however, replied the “airport employee,” since he had other trusted taxis that would whisk him away to his destination. This sort of mishap “happens all the time,” but the airport is prepared to serve visitors caught up in such difficulties.

In fact, the hotel driver was waiting just a few meters away with his placard held up, but was never able to connect with the client. Instead, the client was quickly taken to the nearby ATM by the pirate, who explained that it was necessary to pay for service in cash, in advance. Then, the pirate took him to one of the ring’s cabbies and loaded his luggage, He was then charged four to five times the normal rate for taxi service to the hotel, and of course paid in unfamiliar cash, further confusing the tired, bewildered traveler, not quickly apt to convert between currencies or to know that the normal rate should not exceed US$25 to US$30. Also, the employee (curiously) requested a 10,000-peso “tip” (which is about one-third to one-half a day’s wages for a common worker here).

Obviously, paid employees do not normally request tips, as if they were customary and obligatory. The fact that he did, should have immediately tipped off the client. The scoundrel was probably drooling as he watched the blue bills being spit out of the ATM. Thankfully, the client arrived safely at the hotel, even though he was ripped off and the hotel was annoyed that the airport driver had to wait in vain for over an hour at the airport.

We were worried, too, and had been on the phone with the hotel driver since the time the client exited customs. Indeed, prior to that we had been on the phone with the client since the moment he got his passport stamped, trying to ease his way out. During the 2 minutes that we lost contact with the client and he left customs, the pirate got him.

The point man probably split the cab fare with the cabbie thieves. Notice that it pays to be bilingual in more ways than one! In Chile, crime pays. And P.T. Barnum’s “sucker” gets off the plane “every minute,” from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and beyond!

In another new, Samaritan-esque scam, local criminals are going around and letting the air out of people’s tires while parked. When an unsuspecting driver returns, and starts to drive off, the villain appears and points out that the driver has a pinchazo or a punctured tire. Not to worry, however, since the feigned Samaritan knows where to go to have the flat repaired. Once he leads his victim somewhere out of sight, especially if the victim has let him inside his car, he will pull a knife or gun and assault or rob his victim. Yet another reason to beware of helpful and courteous Chileans!

Furthermore, Chileans might be exporting this craft more frequently and easily in coming years. Did you know that of the 35 OECD countries, only South Korean and Chilean passport holders have visa-free travel to all G-8 countries (including Russia)? Another nice feature of Chilean citizenship, but perhaps not such a boon for the rest of the world that has just made it easier for criminals to arrive and practice their craft in new “territories.”

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s older (2014), not updated, abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Immigrants that Are not Welcome in Chile

Immigrants from 51% of the countries of the world are not readily welcome in Chile. It is very difficult for most people in the world even to obtain a tourist visa. The restriction applies mainly, although not exclusively, to Third World, Muslim, violence-ridden and communist countries. Some notable non-Muslim standouts included in the lists are Armenia, Georgia, East Timor, Belarus, Ukraine, Guyana, Granada, Dominican Republic and Taiwan. Notable poor countries not on the lists include Haiti, Bolivia and Central American nations.

In our residency program, we frequently receive queries from people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iran, Vietnam and other Asian or African countries (other than South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji, Mauritius or South Africa), as well as some countries from the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. There is little that we can do for them.

According to a document from the Chilean Consulate in New York, the Chilean government requires extra-normal steps for citizens of the following countries to receive a tourist visa to come to Chile. These nationals must apply for a tourist visa prior to coming to Chile, unlike the rest of the world’s countries whose citizens receive visas in the Santiago international airport or one of Chile’s ports of entry. I have highlighted entries that might be surprising to our readers, especially ones that tend to have people that make residency program inquiries or ones where former Americans choose to become citizens of after renouncing their American citizenship (e.g., the Dominican Republic).

Applications and background checks submitted at least FOUR weeks in advance of travel to Chile:

Afghanistan, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Brunei, Burundi
Cape Verde, Chad, China (People’s Republic of), North Korea, Cuba
Djibouti
Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Eritrea, Ethiopia
Georgia
India, Iran, Iraq
Jordan
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait
Lesotho, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya
Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique
Namibia, Niger, Nigeria
Oman
Pakistan, Palau, Palestine
Qatar
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan
Tanzania, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Yemen

Applications and background checks submitted at least TWO weeks in advance of travel to Chile:

Belarus, Botswana, Burkina Faso
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste), Equatorial Guinea
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Granada, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana
Ivory Coast
Kiribati
Laos
Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar
Nauru, Nepal
Papua New Guinea
Rwanda
Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Swaziland, Solomon Islands
Taiwan, Tuvalu
Uganda, Ukraine
Vanuatu, Vietnam
Zambia, Zimbabwe

To apply for a tourist visa, these nationals must submit the following documents: (1) a visa application form; (2) their passport valid at least from the beginning to the end of the visa; (3) a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Chile stating his/her name, address and telephone number or letter of the company or institution that invited the applicant stating the reason for his/her trip to Chile; (4) proof of economic solvency such as bank statements, and/or a letter from the company that supports the visa applicant stating his position and compensation, and/or letter from parents to ensure their financial support for the duration of the visa; (4) marriage certificate (only if the applicant is married to a Chilean citizen); (5) a health certificate issued by a physician stating that the applicant is in good health and has no diseases, issued within 30 days prior to the date of application; (6) a certificate of HIV blood test issued by a health department, laboratory, or physician, in the same period of time; (7) a criminal record certificate issued by the police; and (8) a recent photograph color passport size (2″ x 2″). All documents have to be translated into Spanish, but I imagine that documents printed in English will also be accepted. Consular fees vary according to applicant’s nationality.

Once a visa is approved by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the applicant must appear before a Chilean consulate for an appointment to have his/her visa stamped. For further inquiries, folks may write to cgchileny.visas@minrel.gov.cl. Stateless persons, refugees whose status has been recognized by international organizations and political refugees also must apply for a tourist visa.

The long and the short of it is that for the great majority of human beings, coming to Chile will be difficult if not impossible. While I personally feel sad for any libertarians trapped in the aforementioned countries, I have to admit that Chile’s immigration public policy probably does reduce the risk of threats to Chile and thus makes Chile more attractive to others. This policy explains in part why there are so few Muslims in Chile. I should also note that there are significant Palestinian and Chinese (mainly Cantonese) populations in Chile, indicating that people from some countries on the lists above are more readily welcome than others.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they

would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Marine Layer on the Chilean Coast

Having grown up on the Southern California coast (Santa Monica, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach), I got used to the frequent “marine layer” of clouds and sometimes fog that crept onshore most days.

The marine layer hardly ever extended past 5 miles inland, and served to keep the coastal communities far cooler than inland counterparts. For instance, Woodland Hills, Pasadena or Riverside might be 100°F while coastal cities remained at 80°F. The marine layer is produced when the cold Pacific Ocean water hit the desert mainland, rolling in late at night and not “burning off” until around 11am to 2pm the next day. It was especially prominent in certain months and for this reason was often termed “the June gloom.”

Central Chile is in many ways a mirror image of Southern California. While Santiago may have sunny 85°F to 90°F days throughout the summer and fall, coastal communities in the 5th Region, such as Viña del Mar, will have highs in the 60°Fs and be covered by the marine layer, whose name in Spanish is vaguada costera.

The main difference in Chile is that it does not burn off so quickly. In fact, sometimes it stays all day, making places like Viña del mar somewhat dreary. Nonetheless, the quality of life in Viña is marvelous and anyone coming to Chile should consider living there as an option in spite of the pesky marine layer. At least it keeps you cool!

     Chile is a freer place than most countries and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on theOverseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

A Sober Discussion About Immigrating to Chile

Too many expats think that they’ll get the red carpet treatment just for arriving in Chile. Showing up with nothing and no ability with Spanish is a recipe for disaster. This is made even worse if you’re not willing to just hunker down and do whatever it takes. Pioneers rarely have it easy. And an entitlement mentality will only serve to make things harder for you.
That doesn’t mean don’t do it. It’s rewarding and wonderful. Just don’t do so in such a manner that destines you for failure.

Eighth Wonder of the World

According to a survey by USA Today, the majority of five million voters elected Torres del Paine national park in Chile’s 12th Region as the 8th wonder of the world. Those of us who have been there are hardly surprised. In fact, I have been saying for years that southern Chile is the most beautiful part of the planet, especially that national park and the western side of Lago General Carrera in the 11th Region running a close second, with honorable mention going to Lago Todos los Santos in the 10th Region.

The scenery on a sunny day is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many beautiful things there that make it special.

One can say that many places have one or two things with are outstanding, like Mount Blanc, Yosemite, Mount Cook or Banff. But I know of no other place in the world that offers so many different spectacular sites: glacier, five lakes each of a different color, waterfall, jagged and multi-colored glacier-encrusted peaks (with two very different main ranges), and interesting wildlife.

Torres del Paine is one of those interesting and wonderful benefits about life in Chile. It earns a 10 on the Cobin scale of natural beauty, with the other places mentioned earlier earning 9.9 and 9.7 respectively.

Chile has dozens of places over 9 and many over 9.5 on my scale, but Torres del Paine stands at the top. The voters in the USA Today poll certainly got it right. I try to get down there every few years and each time is just as worthwhile as the time before. Don’t miss it!

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.

Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).

Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.