In the main tourist centers, there are alternatives for every budget, but some remote areas have only shoestring sleeping quarters.
Sernatur publishes an annually updated accommodations brochure with approximate prices; often, but not always, it excludes budget options and even omits some midrange and high-end places. Prices may be negotiable, especially outside the January–February peak. Travelers should not take hotel ratings literally as they often represent an ideal rather than a reality, and some one- or two-star places are better than others that theoretically rank higher.
Prices often rise in January and February—Chileans and Argentines (the most numerous foreign visitors) usually take their vacations after the school year ends in December—and during holiday periods such as Semana Santa (Holy Week) and patriotic holidays (mid-September).
Midrange to top-end hotels levy 18 percent in Impuesto de Valor Agregado or IVA (Value Added Tax or VAT), but they will discount that to bona fide tourists with appropriate documentation—passport and tourist card. Foreign residents of Chile are not eligible for this discount. At the same time, the discount can be smaller than expected if the hotel exchange rate is unfavorable.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition