Passport and Visa
Visitors to Chile must have a passport with six months remaining validity at the time of arrival, which is something of a standard in international travel. Chile issues a standard tourist visa to the citizens of most Western countries, including the United States and Canada, upon arrival. This visa has a duration of 90 days. There are no requirements for the visa beyond having a valid passport, but there is a separate reciprocity fee which must be paid. In 2009, the fee was $131, and could be paid by cash or credit card.
The Centers for Disease Control CDC) recommends only routine vaccinations for Chile. As a practical matter, that means that if a visitor's shots are already up to date they need not be worried, and in general one is as likely to contract a disease in Chile as they are in the United States. However, there are two special concerns. First, the CDC considers Easter Island, which is Chilean, a risk area for dengue fever. Dengue fever has no vaccine, so the best precaution is to use mosquito repellent and netting while there. The other is that the ozone layer is thinner at the southern end of the world, so visitors in southern Chile should take extra care with their sunscreen precautions.
Most examples of outdoor sporting equipment follow the same rules as regular checked luggage for international flights: if you can stuff it in a backpack or duffel bag, it's good to go. The standard among U.S. airlines is for two 50-lb checked bags and 62 linear inches (linear inches are the sum of the bag's width, length, and height), with similar standards among foreign airlines. Moving 100 lbs of mountain climbing gear for a trip to the Andes will pose little difficulty under those circumstances.
Larger and heavier bags count as oversized luggage and are subject to extra fees. However, certain oversized items have special exceptions, which vary from airline to airline. For example, both Air France and American Airlines have the same rules regarding shipping a bicycle: take the pedals and front wheel off, have the handlebars fixed sideways, and put the entire thing in a box. In another example, Air France allows passengers to haul surfboards and the like as oversized luggage items, but only if the linear dimensions are under 3 meters (9.8 feet). That rule might allow you to get a small sea kayak on a flight to Chile. As a general rule, anything you can manage to get on a plane will also be acceptable as luggage on an intercity bus or a train, but certain highly unorthodox items (like that sea kayak) may require renting a car with a roof rack to transport.
Chile's electrical outlets are on the 220-volt standard and use either the 2-pin Europlug or Italian 3-pin plug system. Visitors who want to use electronic devices will need a socket adapter and probably a voltage converter as well. Note that most laptops only need a socket adapter because their power bars already function as voltage converters. Look at the power bar and check to see if it has a voltage range listed under "Input." A typical modern power bar will have a range of "100-240V," which means the maximum voltage it can handle is 240, and therefore you will have no trouble in Chile.
Taxes and Fees
Visitors to Chile should be aware of the airport tax for international departures, which is paid separately from the actual ticket purchase. In 2009, $18 or the equivalent in Chilean pesos was due prior to departure. In addition there is a sales tax (EVA in Spanish) of 18 percent on accommodations charges, but visitors can bypass this by showing a tourist card/visa and paying for lodging in U.S. dollars.