Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and thefts from vehicles, can occur in any parts of the country. However, you should CANADA VISA FOR CHILE CITIZENS especially vigilant in larger cities such as:

  • Santiago
  • Calama
  • San Pedro de Atacama
  • Pucon
  • Iquique
  • Valparaíso
  • Viña del Mar

Thefts commonly occur in:

  • popular tourist areas, including viewpoints
  • bus terminals, train stations and airports
  • the subway system in Santiago
  • hotel lobbies
  • restaurants, including patios located near streets

These types of crimes are often carried out using distraction. Pickpockets and bag snatchers work in pairs or groups and employ a variety of ruses to divert their victim’s attention. In some cases, thieves on foot work with thieves on motorcycles, “motochorros,” to snatch purses, cell phones and backpacks.

In Valparaíso and Santiago, thieves target rental cars likely to be driven by tourists. They puncture the tire of a vehicle, then stealing items when the occupants get out to check the tire.

Another distraction technique involves spilling a substance on victims and then robbing them while pretending to help clean the stain.

To avoid becoming a victim:

  • be suspicious of strangers approaching you, because they may attempt to distract and rob you
  • don’t hang bags and purses on CANADA VISA FOR AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS chairs or keep them on tables or between your feet in public places
  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • don’t carry large amounts of money
  • avoid showing signs of affluence

On the road:

  • don’t leave your personal belongings visible on the seat beside you
  • keep windows closed and doors locked at all times
  • don’t leave bags, luggage or other valuable items in a unattended car, even in the trunk

Violent crime

The number of armed assaults and robberies has increased in recent years. Tourists have been attacked, even during the daytime. Be particularly careful:

  • around Cerro Alegre in Valparaíso
  • in Cerro San Cristóbal park, north of Santiago
  • in Santiago:
    • parks
    • Plaza de Armas
    • Mercado Central
    • the Bellavista and Barrio Lastarria neighbourhoods
    • in common tourist areas

Carjackings can occur, including as drivers leave their vehicles to open or close gates or wait for gates to open or close.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Avoid walking after dark
  • If you are threatened, hand over your cash and valuables without resistance

Araucanía and Biobío regions

There has been politically motivated violence in some parts of the Araucanía and Biobío regions of southern Chile.

Violent protests, barricades, looting, arson attacks and fatal shootings have occurred.

If you’re travelling in these regions:

  • exercise caution
  • avoid travelling at night


Explosions of small-scale devices occasionally occur in Santiago.

Targets of attacks have included:

  • transportation hubs
  • churches
  • government buildings
  • businesses
  • banks
  • ATMs

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant during:

  • religious holidays
  • public celebrations
  • major political events, such as elections

Demonstrations and strikes

Demonstrations and strikes occur regularly in Santiago, particularly in Plaza Italia, also known as Plaza Baquedano, as well as in Valparaíso and Concepción. They also occur occasionally elsewhere in the country. They may lead to:

  • roadblocks
  • public transportation disruptions
  • confrontations with police

Public sector strikes also occur and can affect service availability.

Large demonstrations often take place on dates of national significance such as:

  • March 29 (the day of the Young Combatant)
  • May 1 (International Worker’s Day)
  • September 11 (anniversary of the 1973 military coup)
  • October 18 (anniversary of the 2019 civil unrest)

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Chilean law prohibits political activities by foreigners. Participating in demonstration or promoting dissent, including on social media, may result in you being detained and/or deported.

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)


Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Telephone scams are also frequent in Chile.

  • Never provide any personal or financial information over the phone
  • Never provide information about the whereabouts of your family members

More about overseas fraud

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women

Spiked food and drinks

Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

  • Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
  • Pay attention when drinks are prepared and served, especially in Santiago’s Bellavista and Suecia neighbourhoods

Adventure tourism

Outdoor activities, such as volcano tours, desert expeditions, boat trips, mountain biking and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer.

Safety features in vehicles and on small boats used in river and lake excursions are not always reliable.

If you plan on any adventure tourism:

  • never do so alone, and do not part with your expedition companions
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • avoid venturing off marked trails
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
  • refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety

Useful Links

  • Parks and wilderness areas – CONAF (in Spanish)
  • Local weather forecast – Chilean Meteorological Service (in Spanish)

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