Chile travel advice
Latest updates: Removal of COVID-19 information
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Chile - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Chile due to ongoing demonstrations and civil unrest.
Safety and security
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 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 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.
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
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
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
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
- Parks and wilderness areas - CONAF (in Spanish)
- Local weather forecast - Chilean Meteorological Service (in Spanish)
Road safety and road conditions can vary greatly throughout the country.
Road conditions in urban areas are generally very good. However, driving on some secondary roads or in mountainous areas can be dangerous due to:
- poor lighting
- lack of guardrails
- poor maintenance
- difficult winter weather conditions
- strong side winds
- unpaved roads
Driving standards are poor. Accidents, particularly in Santiago, are common. Drivers are often reckless or aggressive.
You should drive defensively if you are driving in Chile.
Criminal groups target tourists. They use their ploy of distracting their victims and then taking their belongings on buses, the metro, bus stations and airports.
Tourists travelling on intercity buses, especially from Calama to Antofagasta, San Pedro de Atacama or Santiago, have been robbed while sleeping.
- Always be vigilant and take extra care when using public transportation
- Watch your bags at all times while waiting for transportation, such as a taxi or shuttle service
- Always carry your valuables and identification with you and avoid storing them in overhead compartments
Taxis are plentiful, relatively cheap and generally safe.
When arriving or leaving Chile, you can book a registered taxi at the airport and prepay the fare inside the terminal.
In the cities:
- book a taxi in advance rather than hailing one on the street, especially in the late evening
- avoid using taxis that do not have a meter
- agree the fare with the driver before you get in to avoid overcharging
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Chilean authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in Chile.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required
Business visa: not required
Student visa: required
Work visa: required
You will receive a tourist card upon arrival. The card is valid for a maximum period of 90 days.
You must retain the card and present it to immigration officers upon departure from the country. Failure to do so may result in delays.
Replacing a lost or stolen card
If your card is lost or stolen, you may obtain a new one online.
Alternatively, you may go, well in advance of departure:
- at a special police unit (Jefatura Nacional de Migración y Policia Internacional) in Santiago
- at the nearest office of the Police Investigations Service outside of Santiago
- Jefatura Nacional de Migración y Policía Internacional, Santiago (in Spanish)
- Policía de Investigaciones de Chile - PDI (in Spanish)
- Replacing a tourist card - Police Investigations Service (in Spanish)
Extension of stay
You can request an extension of stay for up to 90 days online. You must do so before your current tourist card’s expiration date. A fee applies.
If you have stayed in Chile for longer than the allowed period, you will have to pay a fine at the Chilean immigration office before you can leave the country.
Stays on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) are limited to 30 consecutive days for all travellers, including Chileans who reside on the mainland. To board, and upon entry, you will have to:
- have a round trip ticket
- have a passport valid for the duration of the stay
- show proof of reservation of an accommodation authorized by local authorities
- fill the Rapa Nui Entry Form
- Requirements to visit Rapa Nui island – Government of Chile
- Rapa Nui Entry Form - Government of Chile
Canadian-Chilean dual citizens residing in Chile must enter and depart the country using their Chilean passport.
Canadian-Chilean dual citizens travelling to Chile on their Canadian passport must request an extension of stay if they decide to stay longer than 90 days. They may have to depart the country on a Chilean passport if they fail to do so.
Children and travel
Chile has strict requirements for the entry and exit of persons under the age of 18, including special documentation.
Children born in Chile require a Chilean passport to leave the country.
Adults traveling with a minor must show evidence of their relationship to the child when entering or departing the country. You should carry the child’s original birth certificate.
Contact the nearest Chilean embassy or consulate before departure if your child is planning on travelling alone, or with only 1 parent, to ensure that the latest entry and exit requirements are met.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like, American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is good. Service is widely available in Santiago and other major cities, but can be very limited in remote areas.
Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive. Most doctors and smaller hospitals typically require advance payment in cash.
Carry an up-to-date medical report from a Canadian physician for reference if you have a pre-existing health condition.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
- Pack your luggage yourself
- Don’t carry items that do not belong to you
Protected areas of national parks are safeguarded by Chilean legislation. Penalties for violations can be severe, especially in the case of fires.
Open fires are strictly forbidden in national parks outside permitted camping areas. This includes burner for cooking purposes.
Local authorities may revoke your tourist permit if you’re caught starting a fire illegally. They may ask you to depart Chile within 72 hours or be subjected to deportation proceedings. You may also face detention and heavy fines if the open fire results in forest fire.
- Respect protected areas, even if there are no warnings or signs to this effect
- Ensure you have a good understanding of local rules and regulations before entering national parks
Nature conservation - Chilean national forestry organization (CONAF)
Heritage areas are safeguarded by Chilean legislation. Penalties for violations can be severe, from payment of a fine to imprisonment. If you are detained for breaching rules of a heritage site, local authorities may prevent you from leaving the country during the investigation.
- Ensure you have a good understanding of local site and park rules and regulations
- Don’t alter landmarks in any way
Importation of agriculture products
Chile imposes severe restrictions, such as detention and heavy fines, on the importation of agricultural products, such as food and animal products.
Make sure to declare all agriculture items when entering Chile, including packaged products.
Chilean customs regulations - National Customs Service (in Spanish)
You can drive with your Canadian driver’s licence for up to 90 days. However, you should still carry an international driving permit. If you are a resident of Chile, you must apply for a Chilean driver’s licence from the municipality in which you live.
The country has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving. Penalties for drinking and driving include licence suspension, fines and detention.
Right turns at red lights are prohibited, unless otherwise posted.
Some car rental companies may not allow for international trips. If you intend to travel outside the country in a rental vehicle:
- make sure the rental company allows it before making your reservation
- request written authorization from the car rental company 3 to 5 days before your trip
Some insurance companies might not cover pick-up truck rental or have exclusion related to damages caused on unpaved roads.
There is no car insurance available on Easter Island. In case of accident or damage to your rented vehicle, you will have to pay for the repairs yourself.
Restrictions in Santiago
To combat high levels of pollution in winter, restrictions on driving in central Santiago, within the Américo Vespucio ring road, are in place from May to September.
Vehicles with a green seal registered before September 1, 2011 are subject to a daily restriction based on the last two digits of the license plate. Restrictions are in effect:
- from Monday to Friday
- between 7:30 am and 9 pm
If a pre-emergency or environmental emergency is decreed, additional digits could be restricted.
You may check the list of affected plate numbers in newspapers and online.
Vehicle restrictions - Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication (in Spanish)
Chilean law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
While homosexuality is generally tolerated, Chilean society remains fairly conservative. 2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Chile.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Chile, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Chile.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Chile, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Chilean court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Chile to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
The currency in Chile is the Chilean peso (CLP).
Some small restaurants and stores outside Santiago may not accept credit cards.
U.S. dollars are easily exchanged at banks and official foreign exchange bureaus across the country. However, purchases in U.S. dollars can only be made in certain stores in Santiago.
Natural disasters and climate
Chile is subject to various natural disasters such as:
- volcanic eruptions
- torrential rains
- floods and mudslides
- forest fires
Border crossings can close due to severe weather conditions.
- Latest alerts Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Safety (ONEMI) (in Spanish)
- Recommendations for your safety - Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Safety (ONEMI) (in Spanish)
- Border crossing status (in Spanish)
Chile is located in a very active seismic zone.
There are 500 active volcanoes in Chile.
Debris from erupting volcanoes can clog rivers and cause them to overflow, resulting in flash floods and landslides. Ash clouds may also cause disruptions to domestic and international flights.
If you are travelling near active volcanoes:
- monitor levels of volcanic activity through the local media
- pay careful attention to all warnings issued
- follow the advice of local authorities
- be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice
Earthquakes and tsunamis
Earthquakes and tsunamis can occur anywhere throughout Chile.
A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.
In the event of an earthquake or tsunami:
- monitor local news for to stay informed on the evolving situation
- follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- Volcano monitoring - National Geology and Mining Service (in Spanish)
- Latest earthquakes – U.S. Geological Survey
- Tsunami warning system - U.S. National Weather Service
Flooding is frequent during fall and winter, especially between May and August. It occurs throughout the country, mainly as a result of heavy rains and overloaded sewage systems. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
Flooding from rising river levels after heavy rain cause injuries and deaths.
Avoid riverside accommodations, especially in central and southern Chile, as dry riverbeds swell rapidly.
Bush and forest fires are common during the summer months. They can happen anywhere, but they usually occur between Santiago and Valparaíso, and in Magallanes.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the advice of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Santiago has one of the highest pollution levels in South America. Heavy smog can pose serious health hazards from May through October.
The ozone layer is especially thin over parts of Chile.
Take precautions to protect yourself from sunburn.
Regional UV index - University of Santiago (in Spanish)
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 133
- medical assistance: 131
- firefighters: 132
- helpline for women victims of violence: 1455
- maritime search and rescue: 137
Santiago - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Chile, in Santiago, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
- Date modified: