Healthcare standards are remarkably high in Chile, although you should have full insurance as it can be expensive. Your best health protection is to be fit and well before you set off; have your teeth checked pre departure and carry your prescription if you wear glasses (or save it as a Hotmail/Gmail message).
No vaccinations are legally required, but make sure you’re up to date with tetanus and diphtheria – which these days comes with polio as the all in one Revaxis – and hepatitis A. Typhoid will also be recommended for most trips unless you’re going for a week or less and there is no time for immunity to develop. Hepatitis B may be recommended for those working in hospitals or with children. Three doses of vaccine should be given ideally over a minimum of three weeks for those aged 16 or over. Longer is needed for younger travellers. Rabies vaccine is advised for people working with animals, but ideally all travellers should be offered a course of three pre-exposure vaccines, as Chile is considered a high-risk rabies country and treatment is not always readily available. Yellow fever is not present in Chile and there is no requirement for proof of vaccination even if you are entering the country from yellow fever infected areas.
Chile is a very conservative society, but it’s not as ridiculously macho as some Latin American countries. Women travelling in Chile can relax, as this is one of the safest and most hassle-free countries in Latin America. Men may shout and whistle, but as a rule that’s as far as it goes. There are certainly bars where women should not go alone, or in some cases at all, but they’re pretty obvious. Dressing and behaving reasonably modestly is simply good manners here.
Travellers with a disability
Arriving at Santiago airport, you may think that all is perfect for disabled travellers in Chile. There are wheelchair-accessible lifts, phones and bathrooms, and tactile indicators and Braille signs. Once outside in the real world, however, you’ll realise that all is far from ideal. Although modern hotels are required to provide level access, this tends not to be thought through; elsewhere access is often impossible, and pavements are narrow, often blocked and have high kerbs. The Santiago Metro’s lines 1 and 2 are not accessible, but more recent lines have lifts, and new buses have powered ramps. The tour operator Korke has a division, AMAPI, dedicated to accessible travel, and should be able to cater to your needs.