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Chile

If you’re travelling to Chile, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

 You can contact the emergency series in Chile by dialling (133).

There is no Irish Embassy in Chile, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Chile before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Chile, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Other EU embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

 

Safety and security

Landmines

Chile has a small but significant landmine problem. Landmine accidents mainly affect livestock and small numbers of local people crossing the borders at unauthorised crossing points. 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 damaged by 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, we advise you to check with local authorities before travelling to border areas of Regions I, II and XII, stick to clearly marked roads and observe all warnings signs.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Chile but you should take sensible precautions. 

Petty theft

Pickpocketing, other thefts and muggings are increasingly common throughout Chile, particularly around well-known tourist sites and bus stations. You shouldn’t leave luggage unattended and be particularly attentive at bus terminals, restaurants and other areas frequented by tourists. We advise you to take great care with your belongings, keep in groups and don’t walk alone late at night. 

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Chile, be prepared and take some basic precautions:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. You’re advised not to become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to significant prison sentences.

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquake

Chile is in a high-risk zone for earthquakes. 

Volcano

Because Chile is in an active seismic zone, volcanic eruptions can occur. A serious earthquake or volcanic eruption is always a possibility; however, building regulations require new structures to take account of seismic risks. Safety measures are widely known and put into practice by national organisations and local authorities. If you’re travelling to or living in Chile, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake or volcanic explosion.

Additional information

Passports

It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling (8 weeks) to see if you need any vaccinations for Chile.