Is Chile safe for travel in 2021?
Chile is the most underrated country in all of South America. Whether you’re chasing the Andes, on the search for incredible wildlife, or posing with Easter Island Moais.
Chile has a lot to offer but sometimes falls by the wayside due to its seismic reputation.
You don’t need to be an experienced hiker or a seismologist to enjoy what Chile has to offer.
Is Chile Safe?
One of the most unique countries in the world, Chile has natural splendors such as the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine and interesting history, to say the least.
It is definitely suited for the fit and healthy; with its high altitudes, long-distance hiking, and surfing.
Most tourists, who plan on traveling to safe South American countries, must ask themselves; is Chile safe?
This guide is here to tell you all about the safety of this wonderful country and if you should take any necessary precautions.
Is it Safe to Travel to Chile?
The simple answer is; yes.
Compared with neighboring countries to the north and the east, Chile is quite tame as far as crime is concerned.
Since the 80s, Chile was ruled by a dictator who imposed martial law.
However, Chile has largely improved due to the new democratic laws implemented during the transition period.
Protests against the government-funded violence still take place, so make sure to check the news before booking a plane ticket.
The UK and other government bodies have advised against all travel to Chile during this transitioning period of the COVID-19 virus.
All ports and most public transport are currently at a standstill and all foreign nationals within the country have been advised by the Chilean government to leave as soon as possible.
However, this will all be neutralized in a few months when the coronavirus issue resolves itself.
The main concern when traveling to Chile is to stay away from public protests.
Which in many cases can be a part of everyday life in Chilean culture and Latin America in general.
Safety Facts about Chile
You should know your safety precautions for natural disasters, but the protests will occur in the major cities you’ll fly to or pass through.
- 80,000 UK nationals visit Chile each year, with mostly trouble-free visits.
- Nationally, there were 44,565 reported cases of inhabited homes broken into in 2018, a reduction of 5.2% from 2017.
- The intentional homicide rate of Chile is the lowest out of all South American countries.
- The homicide rate is 4.3/100k, making it almost six times less than Colombia and almost eight times less than Brazil.
- A crime of concern to travelers in Chile is burglary by gunpoint or theft.
- In the last few years, however, there was a reduction of almost 20% in robberies using intimidation with a weapon compared to last year; robberies with violence decreased by 8%, and home invasions decreased by 11.5%.
- Earthquakes are quite common, but only minor ones you cannot feel. The last major earthquake was the infamous 2010 earthquake.
Is Chile Safe to Travel Alone?
Chile is perfectly safe to travel alone. Most of the minor crime happens within the inner city of Santiago.
So most other areas are safer than most cities in America or the UK.
Even in the popular tourist attractions in Chile such as Valparaiso you’ll still need to be very conscious of your surroundings.
You’ll need to abide by the unwritten rules of independently traveling to South America: such as don’t go out at night, don’t trust strangers, and don’t flash expensive items.
Chile is a great stop-off point for exploring most of the continent.
A lot of backpackers dream of traveling the length of the country to reach the penguin parks near the southern tip.
- Day Trips from Santiago, Chile
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Backpacking Chile Safely
Backpacking is great in this country since the public transport and private transport is incredibly secure.
Although Colombia is becoming safer by the day, compared with the safe locations in Chile, coming here will make for an easier trip.
There are tens of thousands that visit the country every year just to try scaling the length of the country itself, so there are touristy regions when you don’t expect there to be any.
There are hostels everywhere, transport can be cheap and the food is pretty good.
Chile Travel Safety Tips
Chile can be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
You could assume that since it’s quite an advanced country compared to the others with a low crime rate that it’s safe.
However, there have been reports of unlawful taxi drivers taking tourists to undisclosed locations and stealing their possessions.
Here are some top tips to help you before you make the trip out:
- Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked your room, book taxis or buses through the hotel.
- Keep away from crowds of people. You could be attacked or arrested if it’s an anti-government demonstration.
- Read up online on how to deal with high category earthquakes. You’re likely to experience small ones but it won’t hurt to know what to do when a big one hits.
- Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets in the urban areas and keep your money hidden away. Bras, money belts, or secret bag compartments will do.
- If you are a person that suffers from typical culture shock symptoms see our tips on adapting to new surroundings on this blog.
- Book a taxi through your hostel or another trusted service such as the airport. Unlicensed taxis preying on tourists are a real issue in Chile, especially Santiago.
- Don’t take too many valuables with you. If you want to take expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden.
- Make sure to take sunscreen. This doesn’t depend on whether you’re in the north, because you may be surprised how hot the mid-regions of Chile can be.
Finally, if you plan to carry expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden, locked away, or on you in person.
Try a PacSafe backpack which work perfectly for conceling items whether at your room or on the go.
Traveling Around Chile Safely
It’s more than 5000km by road from Arica to Punta Arenas, which makes flying by far the quickest and most convenient way of traveling to both the north and south ends of the country.
Prices can be high, but if you plan accordingly, you’ll find a good deal.
Chile’s long-distance buses are honestly better than most services in America or Europe.
Enormous amounts of legroom, frequent departures, and flexible itineraries make for the best coach trips you’ve ever been on.
A Pullman or Clásico contains standard semi-reclining seats, a Semicama has seats with twice the amount of legroom and a Salon Cama has seats that recline to 180 degrees like business class airplanes.
All buses have toilets and stop at restaurants or rest stops. The best way to explore Chile is with the coach services, trust us!
Travel Insurance for Chile
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Is Chile Safe?
Chile is an amazing country to visit and is perhaps the most comfortable South American country in the whole continent.
In Chile, you can surf, hike or just chill out.
It’s fun for anyone and everyone. Best of all: it’s completely safe!
Despite the 2019 protests, the people of Chile are so proud of their heritage and culture.
Give it a visit, and see this guide on things to do in Santiago for more ideas in the capital, you won’t regret it!
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