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Higher Education

5 Things You Must Not Do When In Chile

South America deserves more recognition than it gets. It houses some of the most eye-catching destinations in the world—one of them is Chile, which is more than just its bright and clear skies which have fascinated people from all over the world.

Like every other country you travel, there are certain rules you must keep in mind. Chile has her own dos and don’ts which every tourist must remember. In this article, however, I am going to talk only about the don’ts.

Here are 5 things you must totally avoid to enjoy the best there is in Chile:

  1. Everyone Speaks English
    No, they do not. Nearly all Chileans know and speak Spanish, and in case you are a non-Spanish speaker, you must know that English cannot rescue you from awkward murmurs and stares.
    It is highly recommended that you rope in the help of a travel agency. In case, however, you are not interested in one, I strongly suggest that you get a pocket translation book and learn a few basic words in Spanish. Spanish is not really that tough, and you can effectively memorise a number of words and phrases in a short period of time.
    Some of the words and phrases you should memorise before you travel to Chile include Como estas (how are you?), Qué onda (what is going on?), weon (idiot), Cachai (do you understand?), sip poh/no poh (Yes/no), and Gracias (thank you).
  1. Chileans Go Crazy For Salsa
    Anyone might think that Chileans love Salsa as much as their neighbours but this is not the case. Chile is cut off from its neighbours because of its peculiar geography, as a consequence of which there has been the development of a distinct culture in comparison to that prevalent in neighbouring countries.
    Considering the above case, you must not expect Chileans to leave everything aside when Samba kicks in. Chileans are not thrilled about Salsa so do not pester them about the same—you will not be positively entertained. Moreover, Chileans have inward personalities and may be shy so even if they loved Salsa they would not go all out on the streets.
  1. We Need Fire In National Parks
    One of the most cherished places in Chile is the Torres del Paine National Park. The park is remarkably picturesque, and people from all over the world come to see it. Because of its richness, Chileans love it and hence, do not tolerate anyone who takes it lightly.
    In the years 2005 and 2011, major fire incidents damaged the vegetation in the park. These incidents were bigger than they ordinarily should have been because the area is marked by combustible greenery and strong winds. You are not allowed to create fireplaces during camping—and you are expected to follow the rule diligently!
  1. It Is A Poor Country
    Unfortunately, every country goes through stereotyping. While I do not completely reject stereotypes, I do not completely believe in them either. The same should be the case with everyone. But, that is asking too much from people.
    Chile lies in Latin America and many people think that that region is underdeveloped and lawless. I am sorry to burst your bubble, but Chile is not what you imagined it to be. It is one of the safest countries in the continent, particularly its capital Santiago, which is a highly developed city and serves as the regional headquarters of several multinational corporations.
  1. Here Is The Salt
    We have heard of weird superstitions peculiar to countries so why we should leave behind Chile. There is a common but hugely followed superstition in the country concerning the way you pass the salt to the other person.
    It is regarded as inappropriate and insulting when one passes the salt from one’s hand to another’s. Chileans believe that this creates a rift between the two people and eventually leads to a fall-out.

While most of us would laugh at it and brush it off as ridiculous, Chileans will not. Also, it should not hurt you from not doing something as simple as this. Just do not pass the salt in this way; instead, put it alongside the plate.


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Ayushi Kushwaha
Ayushi Kushwaha, Fashion + Travel writer at CEOWORLD magazine.
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