Work and Travel in Chile

Help us grow. Share what you know about getting work in Chile for travellers.


Chile is on the west coast of South America. It’s an increasingly popular place to visit for backpackers and delivers a mix of both Latin American culture and a unique insight into the old Inca Empire. It’s an amazing place to spend some time. But now you can go further than most travellers. Now you can do more than the average person by picking up some volunteer opportunities in Chile.

Work and travel in Chile and you can live an experience rarely encountered by the average person. These are the memories that no travel guide for Chile can ever direct you towards.

Here are some great ways that you can start to work and travel in Chile.

1. Conserve a Nature Lover’s Paradise

Travel in Chile and you’ll soon discover that this is a natural paradise for nature lovers everywhere. Anyone interested in conservation will be able to join in with farm stays, learn organic farming practices, and help improve environmental sustainability in the country.

You can take a project in the driest non-polar desert in the world, enter the shimmering lakes of Central Chile, or step into the land of Patagonia.

There’s no shortage of opportunities here.

2. Teach English in Chile

Teach English in Chile and you’ll get the chance to both change Chilean society and improve your Spanish skills at the same time. Chile realizes it needs English if it’s going to continue to progress in the world. It’s attracting volunteers and paid teachers from all over the world to help them out with that.

Most of these programmes are located close to the capital of Santiago and the other major urban areas in the country.

3. Improve the Standard of Health in Chile

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a qualified doctor to be a medical volunteer. A lot of backpackers who want to work and travel in Chile decide to pick up these roles before they’ve even applied for any medical school. You may not be able to treat patients alone, but you can certainly play a role in their care.

Again, the majority of these positions will be located in Santiago, but occasionally you will find open positions at a new project in the rural areas.


Chile, like the majority of South American countries, requires no visas for foreigners to enter it. Anyone who isn’t from Guyana, French Guyana, and Suriname in South America doesn’t even need a passport. They can enter with any old ID card issued by their country.

For Europeans, North Americans, Russians, Kiwis, and South Africans they can enter without a visa for up to three months. The same goes for Asian countries like South Korea and Japan, making Chile one of the easiest countries to enter in South America.

The only exception is for Australians. If they land at Santiago International Airport they will be forced to pay a fee of $117, and they’re the only country in the world that has to do this.

This is due to the fact that Chile is imposing what they call a ‘reciprocity fee’ in retaliation for Australia imposing a similar fee upon citizens arriving from their country.

A temporary residency visa, which is obtained by most volunteers, will provide you with the chance to stay for up to a year in Chile. These do take some time to get because of the bureaucratic system in force here.



Chile lays deep in the Southern Hemisphere, so bear in mind that the seasons are reversed. When we talk of the seasons we talk of the Western seasons, so spring here is actually the Western version of autumn. The spring time will bring about the start of the school year and the opportunity to begin picking up teaching work.

The school year runs from March until December, so it’s relatively easy to teach English at this time of year; both in schools and in a private fashion.


The summer time is actually the winter time, but how serious that is depends on where you are in the country. Snow mainly lies in the mountains. It does snow in Santiago, but it rarely lasts more than a few days.

You should look into applying for work in the ski resorts in the mountainous areas of Chile at this time of year. The most popular ski resorts for this are: Valle Nevado, La Parva, and El Colorado.


Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere is like spring and will bring you no particular seasonal backpacking opportunities in Chile. Work and travel in Chile reaches its lowest point at this time of year as the ski tourists have left and the backpackers have yet to arrive yet.

It’s a good time to start preparing for the height of the tourist season at this time of year, however.


The winter time in Chile is the beginning of the main tourist season. Backpackers from all over the world will come to travel in Chile. You should concentrate your efforts on finding tourism work, such as working in hostels or joining excursion companies that need an extra hand.

This is also when the kids leave school for the year. Summer camps are a great option to work in, especially if you’re able to play football.


Foreigners who decide to work in Chile will find that it’s more cosmopolitan than they think. This is partly due to its history and partly due to its popularity on the backpacking scene. The major cities are extremely cosmopolitan and you won’t be paid much attention at all, even out of curiosity.

Go into the rural areas and things can change. The work you’re eligible for is work that can’t be easily carried out by the locals. They’ll be appreciative of your efforts because you’re not taking work that could be done by local people.

With all this to digest, are you ready for your next challenge in Chile?

Recent Contributors

  • Edited on Jan 15 2018 by Yara

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