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Reviewed: 17 April 2012, 16:25 NZDT
Still current at: 19 May 2013
Protests and demonstrations occur regularly, particularly in the major cities, and have the potential to turn violent. We recommend you avoid such situations. Dates of national significance 11 September (anniversary of military coup), 29 March (anniversary of the Young Combatant) and 1 May (Workers’ Day) may be a focus for protesters.
There is occasional politically motivated violence in southern Chile in the Araucania region. We recommend you monitor the local media, exercise caution and make amendments to your travel routes if necessary.
Small scale bomb attacks and bomb-threats occur from time to time in Santiago. In November 2009, a small bomb exploded at the Marriott Hotel in Santiago, injuring one person. These incidents are generally associated with anarchist groups. New Zealanders are advised to take any bomb threats seriously and closely adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities for their own safety.
There are landmine fields both in northern and southern Chile primarily in, but not limited to, border areas. Most of these areas are clearly marked and a demining programme is underway. Travellers should observe all warning signs and not enter restricted areas.
The most common natural disasters in Chile are earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Other less frequent emergencies include flooding, forest fires, mudslides, heavy snowfalls (which can leave rural communities isolated) and off-shore tsunamis.
Earthquakes of low and medium intensity are common and occur in all regions. The southern provinces of Maule, Biobio and O’Higgins, in particular, have experienced some very large and destructive events. The most recent, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake (and resulting tsunami) struck near the city of Concepcion on 27 February 2010 causing considerable loss of life.
Chile has a number of active volcanoes. On 5 June 2011 the Puyehue volcano near Osorno erupted. Ashfall from the eruption caused major disruption to air travel within Chile and to and from neighbouring countries.
New Zealanders should follow any restrictions and instructions issued by the local authorities. Chilean civil defence authorities use a series of colour codes to convey the public level of threat involved in any emergency event. Current alerts are available on the website of the New Zealand Embassy in Santiago. Information (in Spanish) is available on Chile’s National Emergency Office website.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Chile should have comprehensive travel or medical insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Chile are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Contact details are
Street Address: Isidora Goyenechea 3000, 12th Floor, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile
Telephone: +56 2 616 3000
Facsimile: +56 2 951 6138
Website: New Zealand Embassy Santiago [External link]
Office hours: Mon-Fri 0845-1300, 1400-1715 hrs