Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and thefts from vehicles, can occur in any parts of the country. However, you should remain especially vigilant in larger cities such as:
- San Pedro de Atacama
- 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 CANADA VISA FOR CHILE CITIZENS 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 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
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:
- Plaza de Armas
- Mercado Central
- the Bellavista and Barrio Lastarria neighbourhoods
- in common tourist areas
Carjackings can occur, including as drivers leave their CANADA VISA FOR AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS 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
- government buildings
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:
- 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.