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Chile Reopens for Tourism—with Lots of Red Tape | Frommer's Antonio Soletti / Shutterstock

Chile Reopens for Tourism—with Lots of Red Tape

Chile, like many countries, declared itself off-limits to international tourism about a year and a half ago.

Starting October 1, the South American country is finally putting itself back on the market.

But the host of requirements introduced would be difficult to fulfill on a backcountry hiking vacation to remote places such as eastern Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park (pictured above).

So even though vaccinated visitors are being invited to Chile, only those with plenty of free time will be likely to take advantage of the reopening in its current form.

Each visitor must submit proof of vaccination to get a "Mobility Pass" via the Chilean government's online portal; obtain travel insurance that pays for Covid-19 expenses with a minimum coverage of US $30,000; electronically file a “Travelers’ Affidavit” form 72 hours prior to travel that supplies contact information, medical history, and previous travel history; and submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the flight.

That's all before arriving. Even though international tourists must be vaccinated to enter Chile, once they land they must also quarantine for five days at their own expense at the address of their choice, "which may be a hotel or a residence," according to the local government.

Once tourists are finally permitted to enter the nation freely, they must "comply with the traveler’s follow-up process, which is done over a period of 14 days and consists of daily self-reporting of health status, current location, and testing via email." 

Only after completing that six-point plan over two weeks will a person be let off the leash to explore. 

Short-term visitors may find all that too onerous to undertake. Long-term travelers may be more willing, though. That's why Chile's comeback is currently better suited to backpackers than quick vacationers.