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Can you bring backpacking food to Chile?

Almost everyone who goes on a W-trek or O-trek of Torres Del Paine asks this question as a part of their planning. Can you bring backpacking food to Chile?

I have already addressed this topic in the Patagonia packing list. However, this topic deserves bit more digging if you are a foodie, vegan or a vegetarian and/or have dietary restrictions.

Yes you can take backpacking food to Chile.

What we took from home.

Are you a risk taker ? If you are one of those lucky ones, you will skip this process. We were not that lucky and was asked to open the bags.

As a follower of this blog, you might already know that we are into dehydrating our own food for the hikes and backpacking trips. Dehydrating on our own, turns out to be cheap and suits our taste buds. Since, I started dehydrating, the south Indian in me doesn’t crave for the Sambar rice on long trips anymore.

Coming back to Chile and to answer your question on can you bring backpacking food to Chile? – Yes, as long as it is commercially packaged. Trust me, the custom officers have seen your version of self packaging. So, there is no point trying to get away. Suppose you still want to take a chance and go this route, be prepared to declare. Otherwise, you risk being fined.

Food we bought for first leg of the hike.

Assuming your food does get confiscated, don’t fret. There are some shops in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales, where you can most certainly buy freeze dried food. But, it comes at a cost. And, you may not get your preferred food.

Checklist for your reference:

What is accepted?What needs to be declared ?
Commercially packaged and branded
food.
Home packaged or home sealed
packets.
Any brand as long as it is un-opened.Re-using the branded
covers to pack your own food,
that won’t cut it.
Any type of food:
* Meat based freeze dried
* Vegetarian
* Noodles
* Powdered food like mashed potato
* Bars
* Fruit roles
Loosely packed meat stuff like
jerkies, cheese, dairy or veggies.
Result: This list of food will go through
customs just fine.
Result: You run the risk of
confiscation & potential fine.
Have you ever paid a $200 for a
banana ?!

Finally, what do I recommend ? Stick to safer side and go with commercially packaged food, especially if you have dietary restrictions, like we do.