Traveling with my dog in Chile

Traveling with a dog in Chile is quite complicated, compared to other South American countries. I only spent a few days (I was coming from Peru to Santiago to take the flight back to Spain), but I am afraid that it will be difficult for you to find a public transport driver who turns a blind eye for you can travel with your buddy in the passenger area. Best thing is hitchhiking. Our trip was from the border with Peru (Tacna) to Santiago de Chile, and it could not have been more full of setbacks. As a positive note I have to say that Chileans are probably the most dog lovers in South America.

JOURNEY

Tacna (Perú), Arica, Iquique, Calama, Antofagasta, La Serena, Santiago de Chile (little trip to Viña del Mar), Madrid.

LENGHT OF THE TRIP

Seven days.

TRASPORTATION

As I was carrying the cage I assumed that there would be no problems on the buses. I was wrong. It turned out that a dog had died a few days ago in the cellar and nobody wanted to take me. And I did not know if I wanted to go after hearing that. But I had no other option, with the damn cage in my possession (impossible hitchhike). Also, my experience hitchhiking in Chile when I traveled with my brother in March had not been very good precisely.

Every bus station we arrived we had to wait for hours until some driver agreed to take us. On one occasion, instead of going on the shortest route, from Iquique to Antofagasta along the coast, I had to go to Calama, inland. And it was the only company that wanted to take us. Be that as it may, after much suffering, we made it: we arrived in Santiago! Of course, I would not do it again this way. The next time I travel to Chile I will throw the cage away and ask for a ride. Or we will look for a ride sharing. It seems that there are some ridesharing websites in Chile, but at that time I did not know. Here are some:

  • http://compartirauto.cl/

  • http://www.carpooling.cl/

  • Blablacar? It does not work at the moment, but who knows in a few years...

By this I mean that not because it is a hard place to visit for dogtravelers you must give up knowing this beautiful country with your dog. There is always a solution.

There were several days with the house to slope and sleeping on buses and terminals, but we did it!

ACCOMMODATION

The first nights were either on buses or at bus stations. In Santiago, although I was going to stay with a friend, my great friend César came from Concepcion to see us and she could not accommodate us both. But, after wandering around the streets for a while, we got a room that, although grumpy (but not the worst we have slept in), accepted Coqui. We stayed for three or four days (in which I did the dog's documents), and they did not kick us out even though Coqui peed in the corridors, which she had never done before... Probably she was nervous because the date of flying to Spain was coming!

Deserved rest in a room in Santiago

We also slept for a couple of nights at Aunt César's house in Viña del Mar, after we were done with Cocaí's papers and were only waiting for the date of our flight. I cannot say much more about accommodation with dog in Chile because I only stayed for a week. However, I find it quite difficult to find dog-friendly rooms.

FOOD LOCATIONS AND ESTABLISHMENTS

I do not have enough experience to say so much here. We do walked into some food place and they did not tell us anything. I also entered other establishments, in some of them nothing happened and in others we were told that we could not enter with a dog. How amazing was that my friend was there to look after her while I was doing paperwork.

OTHERS

From what my Chilean friends tell me and from what I have researched, dogs are not accepted in the National Parks of Chile. Another added difficulty for the dog traveler!

DOG DOCUMENTATION

They ask for many requirements to enter with dogs in Chilean territory and they are very demanding. The minimum that you miss something they will not let you go on (they will make you come back). This applies both by air and by land. On the other hand, my experience with the SAG (Service of Agriculture and Livestock/Ganadería) tells me that they are very professional and explain everything very well.

ASSESSMENT

  • Pros: Dog culture, people love dogs. You can notice that in Chile most of the stray dogs (there are thousands) come to say hi wagging their tails happily (sometimes it is almost impossible to get rid of them!), while in other countries the dogs go away with their heads and tails down if you go close to them.

  • Cons: Very difficult to get around and generally travel for the backpacker. There are many stray dogs with scabies and fleas, although less than in other countries and better cared for.

  • Degree of difficulty to travel: 9, but I think we should give it another chance.

I would love to hear testimonials from dog travelers (backpackers) to see how they made it in this country. Here a couple of photos to prove that not all were bad moments.

Sun and "sandbathing" in Viña del Mar Beach

A wonderful sunset in Viña del Mar

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