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social unrest in Punta Arenas?

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Orlando, Florida
posts: 1
social unrest in Punta Arenas?

We're traveling to Punta Arenas first week in March. Friends recently returning from a South American cruise told us their ship's captain told the passengers they would not be stopping in Punta Arenas due to "social unrest."

My wife is now questioning me is it safe to go? Does anyone know what this is about, or have first hand knowledge whether it's safe to travel there at this time?

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
posts: 8,370
reviews: 20
1. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

It was a general strike with road blockages due to a lowering of the subsidies on natural gas. It finished last month.

Santiago
posts: 494
reviews: 6
2. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

It finished and everything is going well again.

Options to have a strike like this one again are very very low.

In Chile strikes are really strange things.

florida
posts: 2
3. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

Your trip to Chile is now in progress so this message is too late. Our experience in Punta Arenas was totally disastrous. We had no idea there was a strike against the government because of heating oil price hikes which resulted in the city shutdown and we were incoming tourists who were forced to carry/drag our own luggage from the airport into town (about 2 miles) the first day and were checked into a hotel which was not our itinerary. We were supposed to get a bus to Puerto Natales and then on to Torres Del Paines and Perito Moreno. We were held there in the hotel for 4 days with no way of getting out of the city - all roads barricaded and shops closed so no services. Each day and night there were demonstrations in the city and people in their cars driving around blowing their horns. Our vacation totally ruuined and we spent a lot of money on this trip. There were 4,000 other tourists involved. If you are planning a trip to Patagonia, avoid Punta Arenas; these people have no regard for tourists. In fact, do your homework with U.S. State Dept. website. We feel this type of incident could very well occur again.

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Chile, Santiago
posts: 4,753
4. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

The crisis over the increase in natural gas prices in Punta Arenas has long been resolved. There is no indication that there will be more problems.

Middlebury, Vermont
posts: 239
reviews: 10
5. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

Incidents like these can happen in any country. Recently many tourists were affected by these situations in Europe (Greece, etc.). To make statements such as "these people have no regard for tourists" and "this type of incident could very well occur again" is a bit shortsighted. There is no indication that this may happen again in the near future. Every trip anywhere in the world is a bit risky which may include flight delays, bad weather, and strikes.

San Marcos...
posts: 189
reviews: 23
6. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

When was your trip? Do you know if the strike is settled.Thanks

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
posts: 8,370
reviews: 20
7. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

If you read the previous replies you will see that the strike was resolved a couple of months ago.

florida
posts: 2
8. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

As you can surmise by our "handle" we are on a fixed income and a budget and we have been saving for years to see the wonders of Patagonia. When we arrived at the airport we were given no hint that there was a problem in Punta Arenas. We were just taken in a van from the airport, stopped on the highway and told we had to get out and carry our own luggage to the next point where another van was waiting. There were roadblocks set up by the protestors which shut down the whole city. The police and mayor were in sympathy with the protestors. We were taken to a hotel which was not on our itinerary and held there for 4 days thereby totally destroying the rest of our trip because there were 4,000 other tourists at other tourist points where we needed to be. It was total chaos and at times we felt severly threatened. Wouldn't you be upset and feel used? I feel we should be compensated by someone - not our tour company - but someone from either Punta Arenas or Chile.

San Marcos...
posts: 189
reviews: 23
9. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

Thanks.. we are looking forward to our trip!

10. Re: social unrest in Punta Arenas?

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