The official currency in Chile is the peso Chileno, where 1 euro is about 750 pesos and 1 US dollar is a little less than 600 pesos (as of 2006). You may exchange foreign currency at the airport or at an exchange bureau (of which there are many) in downtown Punta Arenas. Travelers checks are also widely accepted in this city. However, many businesses accept US dollars directly for pay and some are even starting to take euros. ATMs can be found at many places within the city, but you will probably want to withdraw cash before any excursion to the rural neighborhoods. One of the benefits of paying in US dollars is that you are not subject to tax at hotels and for some transportation services.

Before wandering around the city, check out the regional tourist office near the Plaza Muñoz Gamero, which has English-speaking staff and information about hotels and city services. There is also an information kiosk that is open for longer hours and offers limited free Internet access.

Be aware that shops often close for about two hours during the middle of the day for lunch. Normal hours for businesses are something like 9:30am to 1pm and 3pm to 8pm on the weekdays, except banks, which are generally only open in the morning. Almost no businesses are open on Sunday except restaurants.