To rent a car in Chile, normally you must be at least 22 years old. You should get an international driver´s licence before travelling to Chile: The car rental companies and the police also accept a national driver´s licence at times. However, insurance companies may not cover damages in case of an accident if the car driver cannot provide an international licence. Our advice: bring them both!
You must leave a blank voucher of an international credit card with sufficient funds (minimum of approx. 1,000 USD) as a security deposit with the car rental company. The credit card has to be owned by the person who rents the vehicle.
When returning the car in a different location, one-way fees apply. The price of the car rental always includes unlimited mileage (kilometraje libre), insurance (seguro, generally including deductible) and VAT (IVA). With our partners, you can count on a 24 hours emergency hotline and breakdown/towing service in some parts of Chile.
If you want to take the car abroad (to Argentina) you have to consider an additional fee consisting of an additional foreign car insurance and notary costs.
An important information to keep in mind when using the rental car or camper is not to leave personal documents or valuables unattended inside the vehicle for any reason, whether in a parking lot or otherwise.
Car Choice & Accessories
When choosing the car type you should take into account the number of passengers and the level of comfort required. Above all, consider carefully where you plan on travelling:
- When you plan to visit well-connected tourist centers, a common small or compact "city" vehicle will do.
- When you plan to visit the national parks in the Andes, or to discover remote regions (i.e. the Carretera Austral) you should choose a pickup truck (4x2) with sufficient clearance. Most access roads are unpaved.
- For wilderness tours in very remote regions (i.e. to reach starting points of mountain tours) and at very high altitudes, we recommend a vehicle with four wheel drive. These cars are much more expensive than common off-road cars.
For longer trips on unpaved roads we recommend a pickup truck (camioneta) instead of a jeep. Trucks are more stable on the road, more robust and easier to drive than jeeps. The pickup trucks with full equipment have a spacious cabin (4 doors), comfortable seats and air conditioning. You can protect your luggage against rain and some dust with a hardtop or a plastic cover (availability and costs depending on the operator).
If needed, please ask for a second spare wheel and a reserve canister. Both are very useful when travelling in remote regions for a longer period.
Travel guides and maps of Chile
Recommendations for current travel guides and maps of Chile you can find here.
More information on Driving in Chile.