In Central and South America, Destinations by EditorLeave a Comment


A long thin strip of land Chile sweeps South America’s Western shores stretching from Peru to the continent’s southern tip. Similarly, to other South American nations, Chile is a land of tumultuous dichotomy. Chile is a rollercoaster of ecosystems. Ride across wind whipped deserts that roll on to sandy fields. Dip down into lush valleys before racing up their sentinel volcanoes. Creep around corners to discover dark secrets guarded by even darker forests. Finally accelerate out on to glistening glaciers.

Chile has settled, only recently, into a prosperous calm. The late 20th century saw upheaval sweep Chile’s political scene. In the 70s a coup d’état ripped their government from power beginning 16 years of a brutal military dictatorship. Only in the early 90s did Chile begin to flourish anew. While the Chilean people are on average happier than many others in South America, Chile is still making up for lost time. Educational averages are below that of many other nations and environmental issues are on the rise.

Why volunteer in Chile

Volunteering in Chile offers a chance at a rich experience that will immerse you in local culture. Many programs offer community focused opportunities that suit any traveller. Teaching opportunities abound here at all levels—look after kids at a day care, help students study at the local library or try some one-on-one tutoring. If you’ve got a taste for the arts, there are even programs to help teach language through song or make your media debut on community radio.

If you’re more of a hands on person get stuck in the mud with natural building—programs create sustainable buildings for communities using cob and thatch techniques. Try your hand at bringing food to the table with natural cultivation techniques.

While there will be plenty of work to do during the week most volunteers here spend their weekends exploring Chile’s beautiful charms. Keep your energy up and visit the mysterious Easter Island statues (a short boat ride away) or take a top shelf sip in one of the myriad famous wineries. If you’ve got time to celebrate then visit the nation’s capital—scintillating Santiago for divine dancing and madcap midnight adventures. If flights of fancy aren’t you style you can always relax instead in Viña Del Mar’s inspiring garden’s and sweeping boulevards.

Getting there

When you arrive in Chile expect to pay a reciprocity fee at Santiago airport (it changes often but it’s roughly around $120 USD). However, you won’t need to apply for any visas as long as you only stay 90 days. If you can’t bare to leave Chile after that time you can always do a ‘visa run,’ take a day trip to a close by country and when you cross back over the border they’ll renew your tourist visa.
Chile is a fairly safe country to visit, but it does have higher instances of crime that Australia including recent small scale explosive attacks. Be wary in crowded shopping centres or large civil protests.
Make sure before you leave to get your vaccinations particularly typhoid and hepatitis, though infections there are uncommon.
The Australian Embassy is located in Santiago

Image: Marble cathedral inside by Javier Viera 2013

Do you have a story to tell, a travel secret to share or an image to submit? Get in touch and join our journey. If you work on a project and need volunteers just reach out as we'd love to profile your story.

Get in touch here

Leave a Comment