Chile Earthquake – update

An 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile at 19.54 local time on 16 September. The epicentre was 144 miles north-west of Santiago at a depth of around 6 miles. It produced tremors, caused buildings to sway and 15ft high waves along the coast around Coquimbo. Five people are confirmed to have died and a million people were evacuated from coastal areas including Valparaiso for a short time. The tsunami alert which was issued for neighbouring Peru was quickly  rescinded.

Mercator Travel and South America Revealed’s thoughts are with the Chilean people and for those suffering any injury or hardship as a result and particularly to the families who have lost a loved one.

Our ground agents in Chile have advised that some flights were delayed on 16 Sept but that everything was back to normal the following day. The earthquake caused some damage in the village of Illapel but that the main destinations for international tourists are all unaffected and operations are not affected.

Our people in Peru have confirmed that the earthquake and aftershocks were not felt in any of the tourist areas of Peru and that the tsunami alert was cancelled shortly after the event.

It is not unusual for there to be earthquakes in Chile as it is where the South America and Nazca tectonic plates meet.

The infrastructure in Chile is generally very robust and the emergency services can usually cope well with such events.


On 17 Sept, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued the following notice:

An 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Coquimbo region of central Chile on 16 September, approximately 250km north of Valparaiso. Communications may be affected in seven of Chile’s central regions from Atacama to Araucanía. Power outages may also occur. The Chilean Government has ordered an evacuation of the coastal region from Arica to Los Lagos regions. British Nationals on Chile’s coast should follow local advice, including from the National Emergency Agency ONEMI or @onemichile

If you are a British National travelling or living in the area and need Consular assistance please contact the British Embassy main number +56-2-23704100

Please click here to view the travel advice in full: