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PUNTA ARENAS

USEFUL INFORMATION

What clothes should I take to Punta Arenas?

As in all of Chilean Patagonia, Punta Arenas has low temperatures, in both winter and summer, so it is essential to take warm clothes.

You must bring along waterproof coats and trousers, warm vests, polar anoraks, headgear with earmuffs, gloves, warm socks, shorts, sandals, glasses with UV protection, face sunscreen (with a minimum sun protection factor of 30), lip balm, a mosquito repellent, a cap, waterproof trekking shoes (if they are new, you should wear them before traveling), and other warm clothes.

Is it necessary to leave tips?

In restaurants, pubs and cafés, although it is customary to leave 10% of the bill as a tip, it is not strictly obligatory.
In taxis a tip is not left, but it is customary to round the bill upward, leaving the small change to the driver.

What are the inhabitants of Punta Arenas like?

The inhabitants of Punta Arenas - and all Patagonia - are of a rather serious disposition; however, they are very friendly towards tourists, and, as long as they are able, they are very willing to help you. It is advisable to approach them in a friendly way to gain their trust and break the ice.

Where should I go to buy handicrafts?

On Bories Street, in Punta Arenas, a lot of interesting handicrafts can be found. The shops are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Is there much commercial activity in the city?
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    Punta Arenas has a Tax-Free Area where imported goods are sold. In the city there are wholesale shops and a two-story shopping center. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 and from 3 to 8 p.m. In other parts of the city, shops are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Is it possible to change currency in Punta Arenas?

    Dollars and euros can be changed without any problem in Punta Arenas. There are currency exchange agencies and an important banking network (with ATMs). This is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Can I pay in dollars or with credit cards?

    Most of the shops and tourist centers in Punta Arenas accept Visa, Master Card, Diners and American Express, as well as Visa Electron and Maestro. Besides, it is possible to pay in dollars or euros. However, it is advisable to take a certain amount in Chilean pesos because in some areas far away from the city transactions are only done in local currency.

    Do I have to have any vaccines before visiting Punta Arenas?

    It is not necessary or obligatory to have any specific vaccines to enter Punta Arenas. However, it is always wise to ask your doctor before coming.

    Will I have any problems with the water in Punta Arenas?

    The city has drinkable tap water, but it is always better to drink bottled water, especially on tours far away from the city.

    Does the city have efficient amenities?

    As it is the main city in the Chilean Patagonia, Punta Arenas has private and public hospitals which are fully equipped. Besides it has an efficient telephone service (both local and international) and it is easy to get on to the Internet.

    Is Punta Arenas a dangerous city?

    On the contrary, the capital of Chilean Patagonia is a quiet and gentle city where burglary or violence are not usual.
    Just in case you have a problem, you should go to the Carabineros Police Station, on Mateo de Toro and Zambrano Street, corner of Perez de Arece, or call 261-252 / 262-323.
    You should also keep the following telephone numbers handy: (132) Firefighters, (136) Andean Rescue Squad (Socorro Andino) (131) ambulance, (103) phone information.
    If you need more information, you should go the National tourist Office of Chile (SERNATUR), on Magallanes 960, 1st floor. Telephone Number 225-385. Email Address: infomagallanes@sernatur.cl



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