Why carry an IDP while driving in Chile?
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.
It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Chile highly recommends an International Driving Permit.
How to get your IDP
We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application
1. Apply Online
Start your application for International Driver's License Get the IDP.
2. Upload Photos
Make sure to upload an updated photo and with the correct parameters.
3. Get approved
Wait for your confirmation and you are ready to go!
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Officially the Republic of Chile is a country in western South America with Spanish as a national language. The country is a long narrow length of land between the Andes to the east and the west of the Pacific Ocean. Today, the country is a World Bank high-income economy with high living standards. As part of South America's most economically and socially stable and prosperous nations, Chile leads Latin American colonies in rankings of competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.
Chile is a country of extremes. Experiencing it by hitting the open road can be exhilarating and liberating, and a rental car in Chile is the first step in planning a wonderful trip. But before everything else, make sure that you already have your International Driving Permit for Chile. An International Driving Permit for Chile is an English translation of your native driving license, and it is highly required for tourists that's licenses are in a non-Romanized letter.
The International Drivers Association offers an International Driving Permit for Chile on their website, and it's fast, easy, and cheap. All you need to do is fill up their form and decide how long you would want your IDP to last (1 to 3 years validity). Your International Driving Permit for Chile can be billed for as low as 49 US dollars with a digital and printed copy already included. The physical International Driving Permit for Chile will directly be delivered to your address between 7-15 days outside the US and up to 30 days within the United States.
Top Destinations in Chile
Jungle and ocean. The country's unusual long shape has given it various climates, with one of the world's driest deserts in the north and home to cold-weather creatures in its southern tip. And if you want to drive along the country's long and adventurous roads, make sure to check that you have your International Driver's License.
If you still haven't applied for one, you can apply for an International Driver's Permit for Chile online, and after registering, it will take two hours for it to be reviewed and approved. Your physical International Driver's License for Chile will directly be delivered to your address between 7-15 days outside the US and up to 30 days within the United States.
Why do you need an International Driver's License in Chile? Well, maybe having an International Driver's License in Chile may not be required for people who hold a license from Canada, Germany, Australia, or the United States. Still, there is no guarantee that car insurance is available if the driver does not have a Chilean license or an International Driver's License for Chile.
Easter Island, located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, initially called T Pito O Te Henua, which means the Navel of the World. The island draws plenty of interest and countless visitors each year despite being one of the world's most remote spots. It is the home of the Moai’snic statues and is what the island is best known for.
It is the main attraction on Easter Island and the one place you should not miss. It is where Moai's are made, and the place where you'll see their glory in all production stages, and about half of the Moai of Easter Island is located in this national park.
One of the iconic sights on Easter Island and has been in countless pictures and tv shows. In Tongariki, you will see 15 Moai statues stand next to each other on an Ahu (ceremonial platform) that faces inland, as you see the sunrise right behind them, creating a shadowy contour out of the statues.
According to oral tradition, Anakena served as the first settlement on the island. It is one of the best beaches on the island and is effortlessly open. A small beach that you could take your time to relax in its white sandy shore and swim in its crystalline waters.
Easter Island is located in the southern hemisphere, meaning that the seasons are reversed. Flying to the island during December through February are the best times to go. While October, November, March, and April will provide more opportunities to explore the island, it is essential to know that the Antarctic winds can make the temperatures less comfortable during those months.
Visitors on the island can enjoy two white sand beaches with off-coast diving and several native-run tours that offer views of things that are unique and well worth it. But it would be best if you remember when touring that you should have a respectable distance from the statues to keep you from having huge fines.
It is a protected volcanic crater where it was once a sacred ceremonial space, and in its center is a large freshwater lake. Climbing to the perimeter of the crater will allow you to have access to the village of Orongo. Orongo was once a home for a local cult that worshipped a bird god. Pieces of evidence of petroglyphs were carved into the landscape, depicting bird-men hybrids and bird gods.
One of Hanga Roa's (the main town on the island) top attractions, the museum introduces Easter Island's history, explaining more about the culture, and displaying artifacts like replicas of the Rongo-Rongo tablets. Rongo-Rongo tablets are covered in a mystery where the hieroglyphics inscribed can't be deciphered but are recognized by the Hotu Matua people.
A perfect place to meet with history, nature, mystery, relaxation, and the beautiful people that help protect their traditions, music, language, dance, and food and are ready to receive visitors with open arms. There are also myths revolving around the family caves guarded by Aku-Aku gods, where local stone handicrafts, more than 4,000 petroglyphs, and detailed wooden carvings are seen.
Sad to say that you can not drive to Easter Island, the only option for you to go to the island is by flight. You will start at the Chilean capital, Santiago, and from there, you will take a local flight to take you to the island. Take note that there is only one flight to Easter Island daily, so make sure to plan your trip wisely.
Easter Island was known as Rapa Nui to its earliest inhabitants and was given the name Paaseiland or Easter Island by Dutch explorers in honor of the day of their arrival in 1722. It was added to Chile's territory in the late 19th century and now maintains an economy based mostly on tourism.
Rano Raraku National Park
Diving and Tours
Rano Kau and Orongo
Museo Antropologico Sebastian Englert
Torres del Paine
Also known as Towers of Blue, is part of the ten most beautiful Natural Parks in Chile and is probably the most popular in the country. The three massive pillars in the park give it its name and are also home to several horns or mountains and glaciated lakes.
One tip you should know when going to Torres del Pain is that there are many checkpoints when going to the destination. Make sure to have every document needed and that your International Driver's License is addressed only for Chile.
The giant and bold glacier stretch over 270 square kilometers - even though it has shrunk over the years, it still maintains an overwhelming size to the eye. The park offers a great day trip on the lake where they bring passengers to the glacier's various faces by boat. It is a great option to view incredible landmass and be relaxed and stress-free at the same time.
The name Laguna Azul means Blue Lagoon, and it consists of a gorgeous body of deep blue water, surrounded by tall grass with a great background of the Granite Towers. One way to enjoy this beautiful lagoon is to take a bike ride around the lagoon and explore the area. If lucky, you might find some Guanacos in the area; these are animals that resemble a Llama.
French Valley is located right off Pehoe Lake’s shores. It is a trekking route that is part of the W Trek. It is a one-day trek and is rated as an intermediate level in difficulty. It is a perfect opportunity for people who love a challenge and a chance to check the region's unique geological formations.
The best time to visit will be November to early March where it's summertime in the southern hemisphere. You will need to compete with massive crowds during this season because its weather is the ideal time for exploring the National Park and Tierra del Fuego.
One of the most common activity you can do in Torres del Paine. Hike the base of the beautiful granite towers or ice hiking on one of the unique Grey Glaciers is just some of the activities if you want to get each landscape's feel and see its beauty.
It is a great way to enjoy the national park and cover a lot more territory; even when hiking, some trails can get you escorted by a horse if you get too tired of walking. The national park is home to many large estancias (ranches) and still vibrant with the gaucho culture (traditional horsemen) - some would say it's a rider's paradise.
A once in a lifetime experience is to have kayak safely among the massive icebergs up to the face of Grey Glacier towering above. A half-day activity following a hike up Grey Lake if you like - whichever you choose, it is a winning combination.
It is a breathtaking landscape with stunning snow-topped mountains, crystal clear waters of the lakes, and the rolling hills and valleys around them that need to be seen to be believed. A representation of beauty, this natural wonder is mesmerizing and captivating, such is its brilliance.
Before heading down Torres del Paine, there are some things that you need to know. The first is that you would need to have an International Driver's Permit for Chile, and second, there are two road routes to get to Torres Del Paine. The first option would be slower due to road constructions, and the second route would be longer to take. Also, do take note that both ways have tolls, and both cross through Argentina.
An International Driver's Permit for Chile is an English translation of your native license. That's why an International Driver's License is part of the requirements, especially if you have a non-Romanized driver's license. Your IDP is also required for a car rental. If you lost your International Driver's License for Chile, you need to call the respective contact number of the company you applied to.
Torres del Paine is where the famous Grey Glacier, the W-Trek, the O-Trek, and the three distinct and well-known granite peaks called “Torres del Paine” are found. It was first established in 1959. This park was first named Parque Nacional de Turismo Lago Grey in 1959 (Grey Lake Tourism National Park) before receiving its present name in 1970.
- From Santiago, head north on Virginia Opazo toward Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins.
- Take Ruta 5, Ruta 215, RN40, RP29 and RN40 to Ruta 9 in Cerro Castillo.
- Continue on Ruta 9 and drive to Y-150.
- Continue to Y-156 until you see the entrance to the park at your left. The name of the park will be Portería Laguna Amarga.
- Head north on Virginia Opazo toward Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins.
- Take Autopista Los Libertadores/Ruta 57, Ruta 60, RN7 and RN40 to RN143 in Pareditas, Argentina.
- Follow RN143 and RP10 to RN35 in Conhello.
- Continue on RN35. Drive from RN154 to Pichi Mahuida.
- Follow RN251 to RN3 in San Antonio.
- Follow RN3 to RP5 in Güer Aike.
San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is located in the Antofagasta Region of Chile and is surrounded by countless mountains, lakes, and rock formations. It is a striking town full of dusty cobbled streets, and it is the perfect place to start and explore the Atacama Desert.
It is gorgeous and is very popular among visitors to the Atacama Desert. The jets of steam and water of the Geyser spurts into the air, looking majestic amidst the desolate terrain surrounding them. The Geysers are a very unusual phenomenon and are one of the desert's highlights.
A landscape that looks so lunar-like in appearance that matches its English name Moon Valley. Visitors are amazed by i's beauty with its trails of ridges, caverns, dunes, and rock formations. Visitors can cycle, hike, rock climb, or dive their way around the terrain.
It is a relaxing and peaceful spot where visitors can float upon its tranquil waters amidst the gorgeous scenery. Laguna Cejar floats upon the salty waters with its pleasant sensation as volcanoes rise around the lake and the clear blue water sky stretches endlessly towards the horizon.
The months from September until November and March up until May are considered “shoulder season.” This is the best time to visit the Atacama Desert. Taking advantage of the pleasant temperatures and desert atmosphere during this season is a must because summertime is where the desert is at its hottest temperatures.
The Atacama Desert is known for its uncontested stargazing locations in the world. The high altitude, together with the low population density, means there's almost no light pollution, so it creates the perfect condition to see the Milky Way.
Suppose you want to learn about the history of San Pedro de Atacama. In that case, the Yerbas Buenas is the location for you to see the Petroglyphs, where you can learn about the area's history and humanity.
If you want to see the Atacama Desert at sunrise from high above the ground, flying in a hot air balloon is the activity you're looking for and is one of the best things to do in San Pedro de Atacama. It is an activity worth doing even if you're afraid of heights because who knows when you can see its mesmerizing landscapes again above ground.
San Pedro is a pleasant town where you can enjoy the lively cafes with its laid back vibe. Most people use it as a base to explore the surrounding area; starting at the center of the city, you can easily arrange a visit to any of the impressive pre-Columbian archaeological sites and ruins that lie nearby.
Take note that driving from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama has tolls and would take you 18 hours depending on the traffic's slow or fast pace. Also, remember always to bring your International Driver's Permit for Chile when driving around the country.
To apply for an IDP for Chile, you can go to the International Driver's Association website to register and learn more about the International Driver's Permit for Chile and all the list of countries that you are required to have an IDP. The IDA accepts credit card payments for your convenience. If you have any inquiries about your International Driver's License for Chile, their contact number can be seen at the website's top left corner.
San Pedro's importance was historically massive due to water in the middle of the desert. It supported years of human inhabitants as an oasis town and became the popular stopover for ancient indigenous civilizations, a resting place for people and cows during Chile's nitrate boom.
El Tatio Geysers
Valle de la Luna
Learn about ancient history
Fly in a hot air balloon
- Head north on Virginia Opazo toward Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins
- Take Ruta 5, Panamericana Norte, Ruta 1, B-710, and Ruta 23 to San Pedro de Atacama - Guatín - Linzor/B-245 in San Pedro de Atacama.
- Turn left onto San Pedro de Atacama - Guatín - Linzor/B-245. From there you will see a lot of lodging areas.
Most Important Driving Rules in Chile
Driving in Chile can be stressful and dangerous if you're not a Chilean driver who knows the rules before getting behind the wheel. Because Chile has some of the longest roads in the world, knowing some of the most important rules when driving is highly recommended for you to drive around the country safely.
International Driver's Permit for Chile
Visitors that plan on self-driving should have their International Driver's License for Chile to be legally allowed to drive in the country. You can apply for an International Driver's License for Chile online if you don't have one. An International Driver's License for Chile is an English translation of your native driver's license and does not replace your original license.
What are the requirements for an International Driver's Permit for Chile?
Some companies like the International Drivers Association offer a three-year validity at a low price on their website if you want to apply for an International Driver's License for Chile. To apply for an International Driver's License in Chile, the basic requirements needed are:
- Photocopy of your native driving license (front and back)
- Credit Card for Payment
- Passport size picture
- Completed form of your application
How to get an International Driver’s Permit/License in Chile?
You may register for an International Driver's License for Chile online, or you can apply by the time you get to Chile. However, it can not be guaranteed that there won't be any test if you get your International Driver's License for Chile in the country. And if it's your first time applying, you might wonder, 'do you need an International Drivers License in Chile?' The answer to that is yes. First, an International Driver's License for Chile is an English translation of your native license, and second, it can guarantee your car insurance if you are to rent a car in the country.
Where to get an International Driver's Permit for Chile in my home country?
If you need to get an International Driver's Permit for Chile in your home country, the government offices' address is available online. However, we can not guarantee that there wouldn't be any test for your International Driver's License for Chile in your local government. You should call them at their respective contact numbers to know more about the International Driver's License for Chile.
But you can also get your International Driver's Permit for Chile on a website called International Drivers Association - it's way faster, easier, and cheaper. An International Driver's Permit can be billed for as low as 49 US dollars - it can be valid for one to three years depending on your choice and already has a digital and printed copy. To know more about the International Driver's Permit for Chile, you can go online and visit their website.
Driving Under the Influence
The alcohol driving limit in Chile is very low, about 30mg (0.05%), and if you are caught exceeding, a hefty fine and driving license cancellation will be the minimum punishment. Some violators often result in imprisonment for having high alcohol intake.
The maximum driving speed in the city is 50 - 60km/hr (31 - 38mph); on highways, it is usually 120km/hr (75mph); and on rural roads is 100km/hr (62mph) unless otherwise posted. Make sure to navigate the posted speed limit since the Carabineros (Chilean Police) are actively enforcing them, and don't ever try to bribe a Carabinero. They are proud of their honesty and integrity; attempting to do so will get you in trouble if you aren't already in one.
In Chile, the minimum age requirement for the locals should be at least 18 years old and have a valid Chilean driving license for them to get behind the wheels, and for tourists that want to drive around the country, you should be at least 20 years old to rent a car. But this will depend on the car rental company. Some companies have a minimum age requirement between 21-25, so check on the requirements carefully and if you will need an International Driver's License for Chile.
For foreign drivers, always check all documents such as your International Driver's License, driver's license, passport, visa, and car rental papers before every drive. There are many checkpoints all around Chile, and the Carabineros (Chilean police) would require all documents stated at every checkpoint. Also, make sure that your International Driver's License for Chile has a visible zip code of the country, and make sure to check your list that your International Driver's Permit for Chile is still valid for you to use it.
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