Is Chile still a safe destination to ride? We live in Santiago and have some clarification for those visiting the country in the near future…
We don’t want to take the long way to explain this topic, cause we prefer getting straight to the point of the question:
Is Chile still a safe destination to ride?
Last weekend, Santiago de Chile reported violent protests that replicated in several areas of the metropolitan region and in many other municipalities scattered throughout the territory, giving rise in a few hours to an escalation of violent acts that led to drastic measures of containment by the Chilean government and army.
It all started with the increase in public transport tariffs and the initial non-violent protests called the “day of evasion” in which hundreds of Chileans jumped over the underground ticket machines to protest against the rise. But when the first acts of vandalism were recorded by an ever-growing violent minority, President Piñera entrusted the army with the task of containing the situation and restoring order.
The images broadcasted by international news shows clearly vandalism, looting of shopping centres and clashes between military and civilians on the streets of the capital. But they also show non-violent protests by students and people who verbally demonstrate because they are opposed to the increase in public transport costs.
However, insurrections by the violent minority have not subsided and to prevent the possible growth of further insurrections, the government has called the army to intervene, entrusting the latter with the task of establishing the state of national alert and even the obligation of curfew, set from 10 pm to 7 am.
Because of the vandalism of the public transport service (the Transantiago metro in the first place), many shops, including banks, shopping centres and offices with night shifts, have been kept closed and will be closed until at least tomorrow, while schools and other public establishments are suspended until a new date. Even our administrative office in Santiago is still closed, although it is possible for us to reply to the emails of our customers and suppliers directly from home, remotely.
Although the news has received great media coverage throughout the world, it is important for us to communicate that from within, Santiago de Chile is still a safe city, as long as you avoid areas where protests and clashes between armed forces and insurrectionists take place: Santiago Centre and the municipality of San Bernardo, located 30 km south of the capital.
The airport of Santiago de Chile, on which most of our customers land, and the area of Las Condes are not considered to be at risk, as are the city of Osorno (where our trips to Patagonia depart) and the city of Antofagasta (where our journeys to the Atacama Desert and the Andean Plateau of Peru and Bolivia begin and end).
With this warning we also remind our customers to pay attention to the arrival times of their flights on Santiago and the internal ones, taking into account the curfew times which, we recall, are currently active from 10 pm to 7 am, but which could change as they are confirmed every evening for the following day.
All the other areas that affect our motorbike tours such as San Pedro de Atacama, Elqui Valley, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine National Park are safe and continue to receive visits from hundreds of tourists every day from all over the world, even on days when the state of alert was declared in Santiago.
Here is an article from the Tourism Superintendency:
Recommendations for tourists visiting Chile: Most tourist attractions continue to operate.
Santiago, Chile. Monday, October 21, 2019.- The Undersecretary of Tourism and the National Tourism Board have reported today that most of the touristic activities throughout the country continue to operate normally, especially the most visited destinations, such as San Pedro de Atacama, Elqui Valley, Rapa Nui, Juan Fernández Island, the Chilean Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park, among others.
As for the situation in the capital, Santiago, there is limited public transportation and commercial activity.
Furthermore, in the cities of Valparaíso, Concepción, Coquimbo and Rancagua, businesses and transportation are operating normally, although not to full capacity.
The Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport is operating on a regular basis, however, some airlines have rescheduled their flights to and from the capital, causing delays in flight departures. Transfers and taxis to the airport are operating partially, therefore passengers may expect delays in travel. The airports in all other regions of the country are operative, although flights have been and may be rescheduled.
In the event that the authorities restrict transit on public roads to the airport, the recommendation is to have one’s passport and copy of the boarding pass for arrivals, and for departures, one’s passport and proof of a plane ticket, which serve as a safe-passage for travels to and from the airport.
As for the bus terminals, these are operating normally in the entire country.
The Undersecretary of Tourism and the National Tourism Board insist on the importance of being well informed regarding responsible tourism, and to act accordingly. Their recommendation is to gather background information about the destinations they will visit and to be permanently informed, in addition to adopting a behavior of self-care and being respectful of the rules stipulated by local authorities.
Tourists are called upon to approach the Tourist Information Offices for further information and inquiries, and to always use official taxi services at the airports and tourist service providers certified by Sernatur.
Links of interest:
- Airport: to find out about rescheduling of flights, check the websites of each of the airlines.
- Public transportation: check the website of the Ministry of Transportation
- Metro network in Santiago
- Recommendations and procedures for entry into Chile: check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Tourism information: www.sernatur.cl and https://chile.travel
Certain to have published a useful press release to all, we are waiting for you here in Chile to discover this beautiful and world famous land for its welcome and generosity.