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Safety in Chile

Before continuing

We highly recommend reading the State Department’s Country Specific Information about Chile, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler program before leaving.

Below, we have a brief summary of their report, and contact information for the U.S. Embassy. Please also feel free to contact us directly with any safety questions or concerns: info@keteka.com.

Important Phone Numbers

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency in Chile:

  • Ambulancia / Ambulance: 131
  • Bomberos / Fire Department: 132
  • Carabineros / Police Department:  133
  • US Embassy Phone Number: +(56)(2) 2330-3000

The U.S. State Department on Safety in Chile

Santiago, Chile

Overall, Chile is an extremely safe country. There are often protests and demonstrations throughout the country. These protests are almost always non-violent and often use pre-approved routes, but they can become violent or unpredictable with little or no warning. Avoid protests and demonstrations if possible. The U.S. Embassy Chile website has frequent updates about protests.

Protest and anarchist groups have also been known to place small explosive devices at ATMs and Chilean business/government locations. To date, non of these attacks have targeted foreigners, and generally seem to be intended as political statements, rather than attacks, but some have occurred in public places and injured people. The devices are usually comprised of black powder inside a fire extinguisher. Be aware of your surroundings and report anything unusual to the police.

Crime

Most foreigners visit Chile without incident. That said, there are incidents of street crime, particularly in the touristy areas of big Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Patagoniacities. Exercise caution in Santiago and Valparaiso, particularly around Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal, and Mercado Central in Santiago – these are heavily trafficked touristy areas with higher levels of pickpocketing and petty crime. Criminals frequently work in groups, employing tactics to distract and then rob unsuspecting visitors. If someone spills on you or asks for your physical help, be extremely aware of who else is around you and think first about your safety, and second about being polite.

For the full State Department travel report on Chile, click here:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/chile.html

In Our Experience

We have traveled extensively in Latin America and have generally felt the safest in Chile. Most tourists spend at least a little time in Santiago and Valparaiso and should realize that Santiago is a huge city, and Valparaiso a very touristy one. Thus, exercise caution when sightseeing, since this is one of the easiest ways to be identified as a foreigner, and a target.

Chile for Foreign Women

Tourist in ValparaisoWe spoke with several female travelers who have spent at least a few months in Chile and got consensus opinions. They rarely feel seriously threatened walking around in public, but, for obviously foreign women in particular, street harassment is a bit worse than in Europe or many cities in the United States (though possibly a bit better than New York). It is, however, much better than in most Latin American countries, where a stronger machismo culture is much more prevalent and results in much more harassment, particularly of foreign females. 

As a generalization, blonde or redheaded women are more likely to receive street harassment, because those hair colors are unusual in Chile. It is unusual for the men to approach, however – they mostly just say or shout things in passing. Harassment is more likely in the downtown or “Central” parts of Santiago, and less likely in upscale areas like Providencia or Las Condes. Street harassment is unlikely when women are walking with men. 

Embassy Information

U.S. Embassy Santiago

Other Links

Travel tips from Fodor’s

Safety information from Gov.uk