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SANTIAGO DE CHILE

USEFUL INFORMATION

- Although Santiago is a safe city, certain precautions are advisable, especially in the downtown area. Do not wear costly jewelry, and keep an eye on your handbags and cameras. Try not to walk in deserted areas, and only take the cash you need with you when you go out.

- In Santiago earthquakes (tremors) are commonplace. If one happens during your visit, stay calm because the whole city is built with seismic protection and high safety standards.

- Chilean gastronomy is, generally speaking, quite mild and light, which makes it easily digestible; however, one should always be careful when sampling the delicious seafood recipes. We recommend you try these dishes only in clean and confidence-inspiring eateries.

- You can drink water from the faucet, but as an added precaution, it is recommended you drink bottled water, especially in towns on the outskirts.

- Credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Diners and American Express) and travelers' checks are widely accepted in Santiago.
The situation is different in the more remote areas, where it is better to take cash, especially local currency (Chilean peso), although the U.S. dollar and the euro (to a lesser extent) are excellent alternatives.

- If you lose your credit card you can phone the following numbers: 631-7003 (Visa), 631-7003 (Master Card), 232-0000 (Diners) and 800-201022 (American Express).

- For currency exchange go the authorized Exchange Shops, banks, business centers and malls. It is not a good idea to exchange currency with street vendors. Currently the exchange is 720 pesos to the dollar and 800 pesos to the euro.
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  • Basic Services

  • -In Santiago restaurants, a 10% tip is customary. When paying taxis (cabs) one usually rounds off the figure indicated by the meter.

    - Bank branches are open to the public from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the exception of a few entities that remain open to 4 p.m. Exchange shops are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Department stores and malls open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. General business hours are from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. through 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Bear in mind that there is usually a one-hour refreshment break from 1 to 2 p.m.

    - To rent a vehicle in Santiago, you need the following: to be at least 21, to possess a national (from your own country) or international driving license, a passport and a credit card. Speed limits are 60 kilometers per hour in urban areas and 120 kilometers per hour on highways.

    - If you suffer a robbery or an accident, report it to the closest "Carabineros" (police) station. You are also recommended to consult with the embassy or consulate of your country to obtain advice.

    - Emergency medical treatment in a private clinic can cost up to more than 100 dollars. The public and university clinics are cheaper, and in most cases attend round the clock.

    - The following are phone numbers that may be useful:

    131 (ambulance), 132 (fire brigade),
    133 ("carabineros" or police),
    135 (drug abuse),
    136 (Andean Life-Saving Brigade),
    103 (information by phone).

    - Electric power in Chile is 220 V/ 50 Hz, while the video system is VHS / NTSC



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