Do's and Don'ts in Chile

Chilean Etiquette Tips

If you're visiting someone in Chile and you'd like to give them flowers, beware of what you give! By picking the wrong color you could be sending a bad message. Yellow roses indicate disrespect…yikes! Not a good gift! Purple and black flowers are generally used for mourning, so those should also be avoided. Below is a list of etiquette tips to help you out on your trip to Chile.

1. Dress Attire

  1. DO dress conservatively. Women will usually wear modest skirts or dresses and men will usually wear pants.

2. Table Manners

  1. DON'T sit until told where to sit. Women will usually sit before men.
  2. DON'T begin eating until the hostess invites everyone to start.
  3. DO rest your wrists at the edge of the table.
  4. DO finish everything on your plate.
  5. DON'T begin drinking until a toast has been made. The most common toast is "Salud!" During the toast, look at the person who is being toasted.
  6. DON'T use your left hand to pour wine.

3. Tipping

  1. DO tip about 10%-15% in bars and restaurants.

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DON'T give black or purple flowers or yellow roses.
  2. DON'T give scissors or knives as a gift. Those kinds of gifts indicate severing the relationship.
  3. DO open a gift upon receipt.

5. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands upon meeting someone. The handshake should be hearty, accompanied by eye contact and a smile.
  2. DO understand that traditionally in Chile, some women may not shake hands with men. This is becoming less common these days, but keep it in mind.
  3. DON'T move to a first name basis until invited to.

6. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO send flowers in advance to your host.
  2. DO bring dessert or wine.

7. Business Meeting

  1. DO have one side of your business card translated into Spanish.
  2. DO keep your business cards in good condition. A business card that's ripped or tattered might give a bad impression.
  3. DO be patient. Meetings may last a while.
  4. DO understand that decisions are not usually made during a meeting.

8. Socializing and Conversation

  1. DO be friendly and kind. Chileans don't like arrogance.
  2. DO be careful when discussing politics.
  3. DO note that most Chileans can speak and understand English.
  4. DON'T get upset if you're called a "gringo." Chileans tend to call all foreigners that.

Since English is so widely spoken and because Chileans are so friendly, if you are ever in doubt about what to do or how to act, just ask! Try to behave on the conservative side whenever possible, and have a safe and wonderful trip to Chile!

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