Health & Safety
Emergency Telephone Numbers (within Chile)
Police (carabineros): 133
Ambulance (ambulancia): 131
Fire (bomberos): 132
Sea Rescue (rescate del mar): 137
Air Rescue (Busqueda y Salvamento Aereo): 138
Mountain Rescue (rescate del montana): 699 4764
As a visitor to Chile it is recommended that you have your own health insurance and check with the Chilean Embassy in your country of residence to see if any specific vaccinations are required, but at time of writing (April 2011) there are no specific health concerns for visitors to be worried about.
Chile has a well developed urban and communications infrastructure and private health clinics in Santiago are generally excellent, but expensive. Foreigners should consider drinking bottled water and be wary of eating any uncooked vegetables (e.g. raw salads) only because different foods will contain different bacteria and this may result in food poisoning.
Chile is politically stable and considered a safe country to travel within, however, foreigners should remain vigilant and “street-wise” when in public areas as there are pick-pockets and opportunists in Chile as there are in most countries of the world. Do NOT “INVITE” the bad guys to rob you. Do NOT walk around with your wallet showing in your back pocket or your back pack and nor with an expensive camera hanging around your neck.
It is certainly considered to be the safest country in Latin America by foreigners who live here and a good place in which to bring up children. Santiago is thought by many to be safer than cities such as London, New York and Paris.
The Andes mountain range runs the length of Chile and is a result of formidable forces of nature pushing the South American continent up against a tectonic plate. Consequently the entire country sits upon one of the most geographically active and unstable parts of the world and earth tremors are common. It is NORMAL for the ground to shake and buildings to sway. Should you be caught in a strong tremor or a major earthquake the only thing you can do is to try to STAY CALM, seek shelter under the strongest overhead part of the room you are in, which is usually under a support beam or under the door arch. Modern buildings have been constructed to withstand major earthquakes; nevertheless, the swaying motion and the rumble that accompanies a tremor will frighten the life out of the hardest of people.
The sun is VERY strong in central and northern Chile, especially during the summer months of December / January / February / March. Use sun protection cream, wear a hat and drink plenty of water.
In the event of severe illness or an accident that requires medical attention, all private hospitals offer first class medical attention, facilities and treatment but make sure your travel insurance covers such necessities. Santiago boasts a number of top class private hospitals (see below) which will be known by any taxi driver or hotel porter.
Santiago Prívate Hospitals
Av. Vitacura 5951, Vitacura, Santiago.
Tel: 210 1111
Clínica Universidad Católica
Camino Alba 12351, Las Condes, Santiago
Tel: 754 8700
Av. Santa Maria 1810, Providencia, Santiago.
Tel: 362 5555
Clínica Santa Maria
Av. Santa Maria 0500, Providencia, Santiago
Tel: 913 0000
Clínica Las Condes
Lo Fontecilla 441, Las Condes, Santiago
Tel: 210 4000