Crime risks in Chile - Read these tips to travel safely

Sightseeing, adventure sports, relaxation and friendly welcoming people all await, making up just a small part of what Chile is all about and what's to be discovered there.

But while this beautiful country is a relatively safe place to visit, the threat of crime does still exist. Here are a few things to consider for a safe trip.

Petty crime hotspots

Chile is no different than any other travel destination that tourists frequent in that petty thefts like pickpocketing and bag snatching is an ongoing concern. Crowded places such as shops, restaurants and public transportation hubs are all hot spots for petty crime.

The Las Condes, Providencia and Vitacura areas of Santiago are notoriously frequented by thieves. Additional areas to be cautious in include Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Manquehue, Cerro Santa Lucia and the Lake District.

Before you head out on the town, take appropriate precautions to avoid becoming a victim; don't flash your cash, keep valuables well concealed and always be aware of your surroundings.

Luggage theft in Chile

Luggage and bag theft is also a growing problem in Chile, especially up north in San Pedro and near the Atacama Desert. The Pucon and Villarrica areas of the Lake District have also seen an increase in criminal activity, particularly theft.

Travelers are advised to never leave their baggage unattended in public transportation hubs and to avoid storing them in overhead compartments during travel. When moving throughout the country, if you have your bags with you do not let them out of your sight.

Mugging and other crime

While violent crime is thankfully quite rare in Chile, there have been  reports of daylight muggings occurring in the Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal Park, and Cerro Manquehue areas of Santiago.

These muggings are particularly dangerous because they are often carried out by armed groups, making the threat of violence much more likely. Visiting places off the beaten path at night is not advised, and travel within the busier areas should be done in the safety of groups.

If you plan on using a taxi service after dark, it's advised that you book one in advance. Hailing one on the street may be dangerous.

Drink spiking risk in Chile

Chile has its share of bars and nightclubs offering an exciting nightlife experience for visitors. If you plan on drinking, however, keep in mind that reports of drink spiking have been on the rise.

The Santiago locations of Suecia and Bellavista are particularly dangerous for this type of activity. Victims are given drinks laced with a drug meant to render them unconscious, making them susceptible to robbery, assault or worse. Don't accept drinks from anyone you don't know, and always keep your beverage in your sight at all times.

Protests and demonstrations

Large demonstrations and protests arise occasionally in Chile, and while most of them are carried out peacefully, they all present a certain level of danger of possible violence due to their political nature.

Clashes between rebels and the Chilean government can often become violent and quickly. If you happen upon a protest or demonstration, you are advised to steer clear of it.

Additionally, although terrorist acts such as bombings cannot easily be anticipated, you can lessen the chances of becoming a victim by monitoring local news reports and government warnings and by understanding the political climate of the areas you're planning to visit prior to and during your trip. This will help you determine what areas to avoid while you are there so you can stay out of harm's way.


  • Brian Patrick Corcoran said

    I've lived in Chile for five years now and I can tell you that these people have a culture of theft. It is a sport with them and if they can get "one up" on you by ripping you off while you back is turned, they will. It seems even the most "trustworthy" of them feel entitled to boost whatever is not nailed down. There is a lot of social/economic disparity in Chile and the lower class feels entitled to whatever they can get their hands on. That attitude permeates on up to the middle class. Never trust a Chilean. They are two-faced, treacherous, low-life scum.

  • Fred said

    I don't recognise that description at all not even as a generalisation. Lovely people Chileans. Santiago has become more dangerous place the last 5 years but remains a great place. Take care as you should in any big city.

  • Felipe Benavente said

    Hey Brian, if you think that we're all thieves, what are you doing here in my country? you should go back to USA, I lived in the States for a while, you have crime and murder, but I don't tell people that you're all thieves and murderers. Are you all americans like this guy? I dont think so.

  • Grace watkinson said

    This is all lies and sound like someone have issue. Chileans are the most beautiful and caring people I came crossed in Chile. They would go so far to help you. I been to Chile four times and nothing ever happen to me or my families. I went to Europe once and I got my hand bag snatched in the bus. I am too scare to go to America, I probably will get shot

  • Shane Corcoran said

    Don't ever say anything bad about Brian Corcoran and never tell him anything you've ever done that you don't want the world to know.
    He will rat you out and snitch on you to your friends,associates,family and his primary
    target will be your employer. Nothing is sacred to him!
    He will steal money from a child or elderly.

    There is no code of honor with this guy.
    America is a better place without this rat.
    You keep him in Chile and do the United States a favor

  • Shane Corcoran said

    Hey Grace Watkinson

    You won't get shot in the US, just avoid high crime areas and keep your eyes open.
    Be aware of your surroundings and do so with a situational awareness.Simple plan!!

    The vast majority of gun owners in America are lawful and " aim " to protect themselves. Good luck and come see our great country.
    Just don't bring Brian with you.

  • Shane Corcoran said

    I' d rather trust a Chilean than a treacherous,two-faced, back stabbing, low life

    blood sucking scumbag named Brian.


  • John Jason said

    Hey, guys. Leave Brian alone. He apparently has had a rough time. Maybe he just had bad luck or brought it on himself.
    He needs friends, something, judging by your reactions to his sad world, you are not.

    I will be your friend Bri, just chill a bit.

    Uncle John

  • Brian Patrick Corcoran said

    Thank you for your support and understanding, John. I think that if the US had any colonies, many American men would gladly emigrate to them. Many are leaving anyway for Canada, Australia, South America and Europe. Those who remain feel rootless and displaced - from their jobs, their country, and even, as demonstrated by the vituperative nature of the comments above, their families. It is difficult to feel any sense of belonging to what America has become today. What I really love about Chile is the strong sense of family that still abides here; a value that once formed the very cornerstone of American culture and appears to have since lost its relevance. I can live with the petty crime in Chile. All I know is that the US certainly did not work for me and I am glad to have left it in my past. And yes, I can use all the friends that I can get.

  • Dave Runle said

    My daughter is going to down there in about a month and I am worried about crime there. Her mother says that it is a pretty nice and safe place to visit I just worrie about crime as I was around Mexico a lot and lived just several miles from there. You hear about kidnapings around South America area so I'm just trying to feel better about her going there. So far what I see here is it's not so bad

  • Brian Patrick Corcoran said

    actually, the only time I was robbed in Chile was when I was trying to buy drugs on a street corner while I was higher than a kite.. I take back everything I said in my first post. I deserved it.. I'm a total loser and I deserved it.. Chileans are great people.. me, not so much.. I need help..

  • Mike said


    I have been living with my family here in Chile for the past year and a half. It has proven to be safe. Santiago is a Big City, and as such precautions should be taken. However I have found it safer than almost all big cities in the States. It is true that petty theft is high, but kidnappings are not anything to be concerned about. I am very familiar with Mexico and the concerns that exist there. Chile does not have those concerns.

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