The threat from terrorism is low. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. There are occasional acts of low level domestic terrorism by left wing groups, such as the exploding of noise bombs, but these have not been directed against foreigners. Please read: Security and General Tips
and Risk of Terrorism when Travelling Overseas
for further information and advice.
Pickpocketing, other thefts and muggings are increasingly common throughout Chile, particularly around well-known tourist sites and bus stations. You are therefore advised to take great care with your belongings, keep in groups and not walk alone late at night. There have been increased reports of people being given ‘spiked’ drinks in nightclubs and bars, particularly in the Suecia and Bellavista areas of Santiago. These can have the effect of causing short-term amnesia, leaving the victim open to theft or worse.
You are advised to leave your passport and larger amounts of money in a safe place and to carry a photocopy of the details page of your passport.
Chile is a politically stable multi-party democracy. There are no current, active threats to this political stability.
The Police occasionally use tear gas and water cannon against demonstrations, which take place from time to time. You are advised to avoid becoming involved in such incidents.
Chile has a small but significant landmine problem. Mine accidents mainly affect livestock and represent only a slight risk to travellers. In 2001, there were three civilian injuries and one military fatality caused by landmine accidents. Of the three civilians, two were attempting illegal entry into Chile and one had wandered into a military training area. The military fatality occurred during a military exercise. Minefields are located primarily in border areas adjacent to Peru and Bolivia in the extreme north of Chile Regions I and II, and Argentina in the south in Region XII. Although most minefields are clearly marked, some signs and fences have been subjected to the effects of weather or vandalism and may be hard to recognise, particularly in the north of the country. Minefields are, in some cases, laid right up to the edge of highways. You should also be aware that there are mined areas in six government-protected wilderness areas in Regions I, II and XII. Although neither Park Rangers nor visitors have ever been injured or killed by landmines, you are advised to check with local authorities before travelling to Regions I, II and XII, stick to clearly marked roads and observe all warnings signs.
If you wish to go exploring or mountaineering, we strongly recommend that you notify the local authorities of your intended expedition before you set off. For further information on mountaineering you should contact the Federación de Andinismo de Chile, at Almirante Simpson 77, Santiago, Chile. Tel: (56 2) 2220888. For any other type of exploring, we advise that you contact: Chilean Representation in the UK
to see if any permits are required. There are good rescue facilities in Chile. They may charge you for the service provided.
Car hire is possible throughout Chile and the most well known firms are represented. You are advised to take out adequate insurance including for windscreen damage, which can be expensive. You will require a valid international driving licence or new European format driving licence (bearing a photograph).
Main roads in Chile are paved. However, you may wish to consider a four-wheel drive vehicle for driving in the countryside. Chile contains a complete range of driving conditions, from snow and ice to hot sandy deserts. Road tolls are increasingly common.
Travel on ferries and cruises within Chilean waters is generally considered safe, though you are advised to take care on local ferries where standards might not be up to British ones.