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Bridge Survivor Guide: Communicating in Chile

Bridge Survivor Guide: Communicating in Chile
July 08
10:25 2011

chile news, noticias chileIn the latest instalment of BridgeChile’s Survivor Guide, we take a look at how to get in touch with your friends and family back home once you’re in Chile.

Call centers / International Calls

If you do not have a calling card and do not wish to call collect, you can go to a Centro de Llamadas (Call center). These offices exist all over Santiago (and in most cities of Chile), and are run by various phone companies.

Here an employee will assign you to a private phone booth where you dial the telephone number, talk, and then pay for the call when you are done.

Another option is to buy a pre-paid phone card (sold in amounts of up to $10,000 pesos) which you can use in a pay phone that accepts these cards.

Pay Phones

Public pay phones accept either coins or telephone cards (tarjetas de llamadas) but are notorious for ‘eating’ money and then not allowing you to make a call. They also often have a lot of background noise. On some pay phones, it is necessary to activate the call by pushing a button once the receiving party has answered.

Cell phones

chile news, noticias chileMost Chileans own cell phones, and use them to both call and send text messages. If you plan to stay in Chile for an extended period of time getting a cell number is a good idea and having a telephone that is always easily accessible is also a good safety precaution.

Chile has several cell phone companies. The major companies are Movistar, Entel PCS, and Claro. All cell phone companies offer cell phone plans which are cheaper but often require a credit record or checking account.

Foreigners without a permanent visa (i. e. most tourists) can only buy prepaid cell cards and these are available at most stores or malls in Chile. To recharge you can often do so on the carrier’s website, at many convenience stores, pharmacies and in some metro stations.

If you bring a compatible (GMS only) cell phone to Chile, it will only work if your provider offers roaming for the country (check before you leave).

Dialling codes

Chilean cell numbers have 8 digits and landlines normally 7. When dialing a cell phone from a landline you will need to add the 09 prefix, but if you making a cell to cell phone call, you do not need this prefix.

When dialing a landline from a cell phone you will need to add the 02 prefix, but if you are making a landline to landline call, you do not need this prefix.


Internet has flourished in Chile, and even the smallest towns have some version of an internet café. Rates are usually about US $1 an hour and the connection is quick, except for the south and very rural areas.

Snail Mail

Correos is Spanish for post office. At the nation’s post offices, you can both send and receive mail. Airmail postage for letters and postcards to the US runs at about US $0.45 and to Europe and Australia rates are about US $0.50. Delivery is slow, and letters arrive approximately two weeks after being sent. You should never send anything valuable through the mail system, because mail theft can be problem.

If you would like to receive mail at a Chilean post office, request that your mail is sent ‘poste restante’ or to the ‘lista de correos’ of the post office of the city where you will be staying. Your mail will need to be addressed with your name (with your last name capitalized), ‘lista de correos’, town, postal code, and country. There is usually a small charge to pick up mail sent ‘poste restante’.

Note: In rural areas and small towns, all forms of communication are less accessible.

Important telephone numbers

Police (or carabineros) – 133

Ambulance – 131

Fire brigade – 132

Directory assistance – 103

Chile’s country code – 0056

Bridge Language Center in Providencia, Santiago specialises in both English and Spanish lessons for individuals, groups and companies. Follow Bridge’s Chile Survivor Guide every Friday, only on I Love Chile.

chile news, noticias chile

Bridge Language Center in Providencia, Santiago specialises in both English and Spanish lessons for individuals, groups and companies.
chile news, noticias chile

Latest posts by Bridge Chile (see all)


  1. Puzyrev Vladimir
    Puzyrev Vladimir July 09, 10:28

    Thanks Rodrigo for your msg. I’ll be glad to make correspondence with you & Bridge – if you? P.S. @oster_twits Vladimir Puzyrev
    Also check out my amazing trip slideshow tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-021…

    Reply to this comment
  2. Puzyrev Vladimir
    Puzyrev Vladimir July 09, 01:51

    Thanks Rodrigo. I’m kind of been in Chile. Everything is so sensibly and in detail. I am a professional in IT, so I will not “fooling” and ask questions of self-PR. I understand that Chile is an advanced country, and there is all – all that is necessary for life and business. (But the Bridge Centre – it is unique. And may I ask you about it later.)

    Reply to this comment
  3. rodrigo.hunrichse
    rodrigo.hunrichse July 08, 12:00

    The 02- prefix only works to Metropolitan Region (Santiago) fixed phones. Check a list of codes if calling to land lines elsewhere.

    Reply to this comment

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