The ultimate Chile guide, part one: What you need to know
PokerStars will be bringing a ton of fun and poker excitement to South America when its latest PokerStars Festival event invades Viña del Mar, Chile May 20-27.
Viña del Mar is an exciting beach resort area that has played host to a very popular stop on PokerStars' Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) in the past. PokerStars Festival Chile will return to the Casino Enjoy Viña del Mar that LAPT Chile had called home the past few years, while bringing the PokerStars Festival format to South America for the first time.
Brazilian Team PokerStars Pro Felipe Ramos is thrilled that PokerStars is bringing the festival to Chile. "PokerStars has always been a great supporter of the South American market, providing the best events, such as the previous LAPT's and Brazilian Series of Poker, which are the largest events locally. I think that being able to play a PokerStars Festival in so many great destinations is amazing, especially when we think about South America that surely has the most beautiful places on earth to visit, such as Chile."
Viña del Mar literally means "Vineyard of the Sea" and it is an international tourist destination off of Chile's Pacific coast. It lies in the Greater Valparaíso area, close to Chilean wine country and the City of Santiago.
Viña del Mar is widely known for its beach resorts, malls and entertainment options. The area enjoys a Mediterranean climate where the summers are dry and warm and the winters are mild. PokerStars Festival Chile will be at the perfect time of year to visit the area and the weather isn't likely to disappoint.
Visitors from European Union countries, the United States, Canada and Australia do not need a visa to enter Chile and can stay up to 90 days provided they have a passport valid for the next three months.
While there is no fee for U.S. residents, a reciprocity fee is collected from travelers from several countries, including Canada and Australia, arriving by air in Santiago. However, it's a one-time fee and good for life.
Tourists receive a 90-day tourist card which should be kept in a safe place throughout your trip, because you'll need it to exit. Tourist cards can be renewed for 90 more days if you wish to spend your winnings exploring Chile beyond the festival.
However, travelers are usually required to have a return ticket upon entering the country.
The peso is Chile's official currency and usually trades at a rate of approximately 650 pesos for each U.S. dollar.
Like many countries, you may have difficulty entering or leaving Chile with more than US$10,000 cash, but that should still be enough for the $3,300 High Roller and $1,650 Main Event on the PokerStars Festival Chile schedule.
Viña del Mar is serviced by Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Santiago, Chile. Santiago is about an hour and a half from the area. Any number of major international airline carriers offer direct flights to and from several international destinations daily.
Casino Enjoy is right on the beach in Viña del Mar and local taxis and other ground transportation services should know exactly where it is.
Players looking for assistance with hotel bookings, airport transfers and other concierge services in Chile can check out PokerStars Travel to make sure the experience is top notch.
Poker and more
The eight-day festival will be packed full of tournaments of various shapes and sizes. The Main Event features a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool and event buy-ins range from the $220 PokerStars Open to the $3,300 PokerStars Festival High Roller.
Players looking to qualify for the festival still have time with qualifiers being offered daily on nearly every PokerStars platform. There will also be live satellites for various events at the venue during the festival.
Ramos says to expect a great field of players. "As poker grows a lot in the region, I think we expect to see a pretty awesome field in Chile... People in South America are very passionate about poker and it wouldn't surprise me if things continue to get bigger and bigger."
Of course, Viña del Mar is a seaside resort, and while the poker action may keep you busy, there's plenty more to do and see in the area. Viña del Mar is a vacation destination and the perfect place to ensure your PokerStars Festival Chile experience is as much about fun as it is competition.
Check back tomorrow to read part 2 of our ultimate guide to PokerStars Festival Chile, where you will find a three-day itinerary that will ensure you have the best poker holiday ever!