On December 25 Chilean authorities reported a seismic event measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale with an epicenter at Quellón, to the south of Chiloé Island, more than a thousand kilometers from the nation’s capital of Santiago.
As a standard preventive measure in the wake of an event of this magnitude, the authorities ordered an evacuation of the region’s coastal areas due the potential risk of a tsunami; this warning was rescinded at 7pm on December 25, with the entire country returning to normal.
Citizens and tourism services located on Chile’s coasts are fully prepared for this type of situation, with an impressively calm, organized, and rapid response to the tsunami warning.
From Chile’s far northern destinations in Arica & Parinacota Region through to its southernmost reaches, the country’s tourist sites were not affected. Conditions are entirely as normal in areas such as San Pedro de Atacama and its surroundings. In central regions, popular destinations such as Santiago and its surroundings, Valparaíso, and areas known for their vineyard tours are fully operational and were not affected in any way. In Southern Chile, areas such as the O’Higgins, Maule, Biobío, Araucanía, Los Ríos, and Los Lagos Regions (including the Chilean Lake District), and Chilean Patagonia – home to the Torres del Paine National Park – are fully operational and working as normal.
- Airports throughout Chile are operating as normal, including the country’s international hub in Santiago, Arturo Merino Benítez Airport.
- The country’s main highways are operating as normal.
Popular destinations on Chiloé Island, near the epicenter:
- Canal de Chacao crossing operating as normal.
- Castro Airport operating as normal.
- No roads are blocked on the island, except for some connectivity issues affecting Chonchi District and Quellón District.
- Chiloé’s 16 churches, which are listed as World Heritage and three of which are national monuments, are all 100% open and operational.
- There has been no damage to the island’s National Parks and National Monuments.
- There is no damage to the Puente de las Almas (Bridge of Souls).
- Forts: Ahui, San Antonio, and Pauco have suffered no damage.
- The handicrafts fairs and markets in Dalcahue, Castro, Ancud, and Chonchi are 100% operational and undamaged.
- Wetlands areas: Undamaged.
- Beaches: Lechagua, Cucao, and Mar Brava are undamaged, but temporarily closed as a precautionary measure.
- Palafitos (stilt houses): Castro and Chonchi, undamaged.
- Hiking trails: 100% open and available.
- Hotels and restaurants: 100% open and available.
- Tour operators: 100% open and available.
- Ferries: Operational, both to and from Chacao and serving the smaller islands.