Allowances And Precautions For A Safe Chilean Retirement

Chile is a fairly stable country in South America, particularly when compared to other nations on the continent. In many ways, however, life in Chile will be very different from life in the United States. Having a safe Chilean retirement is contingent on understanding the various natural and urban safety concerns the country may present.

Natural Hazards of Chile

From a geological standpoint, Chile’s location can be considered somewhat unfortunate, as it’s located directly atop several unstable tectonic plates. As a result, large and damaging earthquakes are fairly common.
The largest earthquake in the world’s known history as of 2011 took place near the Chilean city of Valdivia in 1960. Rated of 9.5 on the Richter scale, the quake killed More than 1,600, injured 3,000 and caused the equivalent of $550 million United States dollars (USD) in property damage. A resulting tsunami spread as far as Hawaii and Japan, causing further destruction, and the earthquake triggered the eruption of the nearby Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano.
Volcanoes, mud flows and landslides are other natural hazards in Chile. Retirees living near any potentially dangerous areas will want to contact the Chilean government’s Oficina Nacional de Emergencia (ONEMI)–equivalent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States–for advice.

Safety Issues in Chile’s Major Cities

Violent crime isn’t a major concern in Chile, a marked change from South American countries such as Colombia and Brazil. Even so, retirees should exercise caution if living in or visiting major cities such as Santiago and Valparaiso.
Street crime is a prominent safety concern in these cities, mostly petty theft in areas frequented by tourists and foreigners. If traveling in a taxi, for instance, certain drivers may attempt to overcharge you.

Minefields in Chile

The borders between Chile and Argentina in the south, particularly near the Patagonia region, and the northern borders of Peru and Bolivia, are littered with minefields. Most are marked, but some are not, and a mine that is not visible can be lethal. Since traveling to Patagonia is a popular activity for tourists and new foreign residents of Chile, this is a particularly significant concern.

Driving Safely in Chile

When comparing retirement in Chile to that in other countries, more than a few nations will exceed Chile in their levels of road safety. Drivers often fail to signal when changing lanes, and speed limits are considered little more than suggestions. Observe extreme caution when driving in Chile, especially if you don’t have experience driving in South America.