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Chile Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: South America
Full Name: Republic of Chile
Capital City: Santiago
Language Spoken: Spanish

Chile Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

30 00 S, 71 00 W

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m

Land boundaries

total: 6,339 km border countries: Argentina 5,308 km, Bolivia 860 km, Peru 171 km

Natural hazards

severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis

Natural resources

copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 2.62% permanent crops: 0.43% other: 96.95% (2005)

Environmental current issues

widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage

Climate

Ranges from hot and arid in the north to very cold in the far south. The central areas have a mild Mediterranean climate with a wet season (May to August). Beyond Puerto Montt in the south is one of the wettest and stormiest areas in the world. Required clothing Lightweight cottons and linens in northern and central areas. Rainwear is advised during rainy seasons. Mediumweights and waterproofing are needed in the south.

Time difference

time difference: UTC-4 daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March

Population

16,134,219 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.7% (male 2,035,278/female 1,944,754) 15-64 years: 67.1% (male 5,403,525/female 5,420,497) 65 years and over: 8.2% (male 555,075/female 775,090) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 30.4 years male: 29.5 years female: 31.4 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.94% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

15.23 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

5.81 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.77 years male: 73.49 years female: 80.21 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

2 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business people should wear formal clothes in dark colors for official functions, dinners, smart restaurants and hotels. Dress is usually stipulated on invitations. There is a tendency to formality with many Old World courtesies. Overall business practices in Chile are similar to those in North America and Europe. The business day usually begins at 9 a.m. and ends between 6 and 7 p.m. Lunch breaks usually begin at 1 p.m. and are an hour long, unless business is being conducted, in which case two to three-hour lunches are common. Although social occasions rarely begin at the indicated time, business meetings nearly always do. Many Chilean business people are well-educated professionals who travel internationally and speak English. However, not all speak English, and foreign business people will often find the ability to speak Spanish or use of an interpreter very useful, if not an absolute must.

Crime

Visitors should be aware of the criminal environment in Santiago. Street crime, endemic to many South American cities, is a problem in the metropolitan area in general and specifically in downtown Santiago. Be particularly alert while walking in the downtown area, especially in the late afternoon and after dark, or on weekends, even in well-traveled areas. In Santiago and other large Chilean cities, thieves thrive on rush hour crowding on the street and aboard public transportation. Crime is also prevalent at crowded tourist locations, at metro (subway) stations, and on trains and buses. Police sources also report that robbery is on the rise in taxis. Persons wearing expensive-looking jewelry or carrying luggage or cameras are favorite targets for pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Bags and briefcases are stolen from chairs in restaurants and outdoor cafes. Outside Santiago, robberies and assaults have occurred most frequently in the Vina del Mar and Valparaiso area, which becomes increasingly crowded during the height of the Chilean summer season (December through February).

Hotels

Chile offers excellent accommodation and several new luxury hotels have recently opened in Santiago elsewhere in the country. In all regions of Chile, whatever hotels lack in facilities is made up for by a comfortable homely atmosphere; Chile's famous hospitality is very apparent in provinces where it is common to see the owner or manager sit down to dinner with guests. The cost of accommodation in Santiago is rather higher than in the provinces. VAT of 18% is levied on all hotel bills, except those paid in foreign currencies by foreign visitors for whom an export bill is required.

Communications

Telephone: Full IDD available. Country code: 56. Outgoing international code: 00. Compa??a de Tel?fonos de Chile provides most services though there are a few independent companies. Cheap rate is applicable 1800-0500 Monday to Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Fax: Telex Chile, Transradio Chilena and ITT Communicaciones provide services in main towns. Post office hours in Santiago: 0900-1800 Monday to Friday; 0900-1230 Saturday.

Electricity

: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs and screw-type bulbs are used. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs and screw-type bulbs are used.

Plug Types

C,L

Food And Dining

Santiago has many international restaurants; waiter service is usual. The evening will often include floor shows and dancing.

National specialties:
? Empanada is a combination of meat, chicken or fish, with onions, eggs, raisins and olives inside a flour pastry.
? Humitas is a seasoned corn paste, wrapped in corn husks and boiled.
? Cazuela de ave is a soup with rice, vegetables, chicken and herbs.
? Bife a lo pobre is a steak with french fries, onions and eggs.
? Parrillada is selection of meat grilled over hot coals, often including delicacies such as intestines, udders and blood sausages.
? Seafood is good. Best known are the huge lobsters from Juan Fern?ndez Islands. Abalone, sea urchins, clams, prawns and giant choros (mussels) are also common. National drinks:
? Chile is famous for its wine.
? Pisco is a powerful liqueur distilled from grapes after wine pressing.
? Grapes are also used to make the sweet brown chicha as well as aguardiente, similar to brandy.
? Beer is drunk throughout the country. Tipping : Restaurants and bars add 10 per cent to the bill. However, waiters will expect a 10 per cent cash tip in addition. Note Dates for special events in Chile change frequently.

Nightlife
While many restaurants and hotels offer entertainment, there are also a number of independent discos and nightclubs. Casinos: The Municipal Casino in Vi?a del Mar offers large gambling salons, full cabaret and bo?te with Chile?s best dance bands. A casino operates in Gran Hotel in Puerto Varas between September and March. Arica also has a casino operating throughout the year with baccarat, roulette, black jack, a restaurant and late-night cabaret.

Entry departure requirements

Visa immigration information

Passports

Valid passport required by all except:
(a) nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay, provided not entering under commercial contract or as students or as immigrants, can enter with a special identity card (C?dula de Identitad) for short-term visits (except foreign residents of these countries who do need a passport); (b) Chinese residents of Taiwan (China) and nationals of Taiwan, Mexico and Peru who have an official travel document issued by the Organization of American States. Documents have to remain valid for six months after departure.

Note

Passports issued to children must contain a photo and state the nationality.

Visas

As regulations are subject to change at short notice it is advisable to check with the Chilean Consulate for the latest information. At present, a visa is not required by the following:
(a) 1. nationals of countries mentioned in the chart above for a tourist stay of up to 90 days (except nationals of Greece, who can stay up to 60 days, and nationals of Latvia, who do need a visa);
(b) nationals of Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, San Marino, Serbia & Montenegro, South Africa, Surinam, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey and Venezuela for stays of up to 90 days;
(c) nationals of Indonesia and Peru for stays of up to 60 days;
(d) nationals of Belize, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Singapore for tourist stays of up to 30 days;
(e) transit passengers continuing their journey on the same or first connecting aircraft provided holding required travel documents for onward destination and not leaving the airport transit lounge.

Note

2. Nationals of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the USA entering Chile for tourist purposes will be charged a processing fee payable on arrival and in cash only. For nationals of the USA, the fee is US$100; for nationals of Canada, the fee is US$55; for nationals of Australia, the fee is US$34; and for nationals of Mexico, the fee is US$15.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist, Visitor (visa required for nationals of countries with no diplomatic relations with Chile), Residence (visa required if intending to carry out paid employment or study in Chile). Cost varies according to nationality of applicant. Enquire at Consulate or Consular section of the Embassy for further information.

Validity

Tourist and Visitor (up to 90 days depending on nationality); Residence (enquire at Embassy).

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport. (b) Evidence of sufficient funds to cover stay. (c) Return or onward ticket. (d) Fee.

Working days required

Up to 15 depending on nationality and whether application has to be referred to the relevant authorities.

Temporary residence

Not readily granted. Enquire at the Consulate or Consular Section of the Embassy (see see Passport/Visa Information).

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

US$18.

Embassies

Embassy and Consulate of the Republic of Chile in the UK

12 Devonshire Street, London W1G 7DS, UK
Tel: (020) 7580 6392 (embassy) or 1023 (consular section).
Working hours: Mon-Thurs 0900-1730, Fri: 0900-1430; Open to public: Mon-Fri 0900-1330.

Embassy of the Republic of Chile in the USA

1732 Massachussets Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Tel: (202) 785 1746.
Website: www.chile-usa.org

Chilean Consulate General in the USA

Suite 601, 6th Floor, 866 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (212) 980 3366.

Most visits to Chile are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Pickpocketing, other thefts and muggings are increasingly common.
Minefields are located in regions I, II and XII. Travelers are advised to contact the local authorities before traveling to the border areas of these regions.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel

Currency

Chilean Peso (CLP; symbol CH$) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of CH$20,000, 10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of CH$500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1.

Currency restrictions

There are no restrictions on the import and export of either local or foreign currency.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1400.

Currency exchange

Foreign exchange transactions can be conducted through commercial banks, casas de cambio, or authorized shops, restaurants, hotels and clubs. Visitors should not be tempted by the premiums of 10 to 15 per cent over the official rate offered by black marketeers. Casas de cambio are open daily 0900-1900.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques

Must be changed before 1200 except in casas de cambio (which in any case tend to offer better rates than banks). There may be some difficulty exchanging traveller's cheques outside major towns. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, traveller's are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Antofagasta55+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Arica58+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Chill?n42+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Concepci?n41+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Copiap?52+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Coyhaique67+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Curic?75+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Iquique57+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
La Serena51+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Linares73+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Los Andes34+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Los Angeles43+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Osorno64+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Ovalle53+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Puerto Montt65+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Punta Arenas61+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Puyuhuapi68+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Quillota33+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Rancagua72+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
San Antonio35+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Santiago2+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Talca71+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Temuco45+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Valdivia63+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
Valparaiso32+ 6/7 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Good dental care is available in the larger cities

Medication Availability

Medication is available and regulated by the Chilean Government

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered as safe, collected from volunteer donors and screened to international standards

Medical facilities

Medical care is generally good, but it may not meet Western standards. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood or rare meat. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Only pasteurized dairy products should be consumed.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Heavy smog in cities and sharp temperature changes contribute to a high incidence of respiratory illnesses. Sore throats and sinusitis are common. Smog is a particularly serious problem in Santiago and has resulted in restrictions of motor vehicle operation and industrial production. According to news reports the area surrounding the Lonquimay volcano presents significant health hazards to all persons. Scientists have reported potentially toxic levels of particles containing iron, silicon, calcium and aluminum - as well as chloric, sulfuric and fluoric gases. Both air and drinking water are contaminated. The volcano which erupted on Christmas Day 1988 is 375 miles southeast of Santiago.

Immunization

Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: these diseases are relatively unimportant in this area. Food-borne and water-borne illness: Cholera - occurs Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - occurs Hepatitis (viral) - occurs Taeniasis - occurs Typhoid fever - occurs Other hazards: Influenza risk extends from May to October. Anthrax - occurs Rabies - occurs rarely (particularly in bats found in caves and abandoned mines) Risk of hantavirus is present in southern Chile for those who may have close contact with rodents.

Entry requirements

None

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Centro de Cancer NuestraSenora de la Diagonal Paraguay 319 Santiago
Centro Medico AlcantaraAv. Apoquindo 3990 Santiago
Centro Medico IrarrazavalAv. Irarrzaval 3695 Santiago
Centro Medico Nuestra Senora de la PazSan Borja 122, piso 2. (Mall Paseo Estacion) Santiago
Centro Medico San JoaquinAv. Vicuna Mackenna 4686 Santiago
Centro Medico San JorgeCruz del Sur 177 (esquina Neveria) Santiago
Clinica AlemanaAv. Vitacura 5951 Vitacura Santiago
Clinica Alemana TemucoSenador Estebanez 645 Temuco
Clinica AraucoAvda. Presidente Kennedy 5413-B Parque Arauco Santiago
Clinica Avansalud Bio BioAv. Jorge Alessandri No. 1315 Talcahuano Concepcion
Clinica Avansalud ProvidenciaAv. Salvador 130 Providencia Santiago
Clinica Avansalud VespucioSerafin Zamora 190 Costado Mall Pza. Vespucio La Florida-Santiago
Clinica Avansalud Vina del Mar13 Norte No. 635 entre Av. Libertad y 1 Poniente Vina del Mar
Clinica Cordillera Centro de DiagnosticoAmunategui 465 Santiago
Clinica Cordillera Centro de DiagnosticoEduardo Castillo Velasco 4890Nunoa Santiago
Clinica IndisaAvenida Santa Maria 1810, Providencia Santiago
Clinica Las CondesLo Fontecilla 441 Las Condes Santiago
Cl?nica Las CondesLo Fontecilla 441 Las Condes Santiago
Clinica Las Condes - Medical CentreEl Puente 2082 Lo Barnechea Santiago
Clinica Las LilasAv Elidoro Yanez 2087 Santiago
Clinica Las NievesAvenida Santa Maria Vitacura 5950 Santiago
Clinica RenacaJardin Del Mar Anabaena 336 Renaca
Clinica San CarlosCamino El Alba 12351 Santiago
Clinica Santa MariaAv Santa Maria 500 Santiago de Chile
Hospital Clinico Universidad de ChileSantos Dumont 999 Independencia Santiago
Hospital Universidad CatolicaAvenue Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins 340 Santiago
Mutual De SeguridadEl Santo 1475 La Serena

Media

Chile's national and local TV channels operate alongside extensive cable TV networks, which carry many US and international stations. The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the media, and this is generally respected by the authorities. A 2001 Press Freedom Act supressed many of the Pinochet-era restrictions on the media.
Press: Spanish dailies include El Mercurio, La Tercera, conservative evening newspaper La Segunda, business newspaper El Diari and La Nacion which is government-owned. Foreign newspapers are available. The Santiago Times is published in English. Television: Although state-owned, National Television of Chile is not under direct government control; TV Universidad Catolica de Chile (TVUC) and Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso are owned by Catholic universities; Chilevision is owned by Venezuela's Cisneros Group; Megavision is a private network; Red TV is a commercial channel.
Radio: Radio stations include Radio Nacional de Chile; news-based national commercial network Radio Cooperativa; commercial networks, Pudahuel FM; Bio Bio La Radio and El Conquistador; FM and music-based FM network, Radio Horizonte.

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