Health & safety
Violent crime is relatively rare in Santiago, but petty crime is on the increase. And unfortunately gringos tend to be targets, especially for opportunist thieves. Be on your guard but not paranoid around the Plaza de Armas, Mercado Central, Barrio Brasil, Cerro Santa Lucía and Cerro San Cristóbal in particular. Don't be flashy with your belongings, and try not to talk conspicuously in English into your cell phone. Finally, don't drop your guard if you're out on a big night in Bellavista. Organized groups have been known to target drinkers, especially on Pío Nono. As with any big city you are safer in a pair or group late at night, although there is no need to worry unduly. Santiago remains one of South America's safest cities and with a little common sense and awareness the chances of any problems are slim.
Around Cerro Santa Lucía and the Plaza de Armas you may be approached by someone handing out poetry on slips of paper, telling you how they cannot afford to pay for their studies. They probably are not students and the poems are unlikely to be theirs.
Make sure that you are not charged a fee to go into Cerro Santa Lucía. Santiago's parks are free.
Clínica Dávila (730-8000; www.davila.cl in Spanish; Av Recoleta 464, Recoleta; Puente Cal y Canto)
Clínica Las Condes (210-4000; www.clinicalascondes.cl in Spanish; Lo Fontecilla 441, Las Condes)
Clínica Universidad Católica (369-6000; www.clinicauc.cl in Spanish; Lira 40, Centro; Universidad Católica)
Posta Central (634-1650; Av Portugal 125, Centro; 24hr; Universidad Católica) Santiago's main emergency room is here.
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