INTRODUCTION


The word Chile is known to have many meanings. One of them is where the land runs out; it also means snow and the deepest point on earth. Chile has also been called country with a crazy geography, a geographical extravaganza, country of a comic geography. We are just going to say that is a country made for poets, just as Pablo Neruda once wrote.

The above definitions talk about a country whoses geography is its main and most unique feature. Chile is over 2650 miles long, as big as Texas. If superimposed on North America it would stretch all the way from Juneau in Alaska to the capital of Mexico, Mexico City. Imagine the diversity of landscapes between those two points.

Chile has 13 regions from north to south. As for 2006, two more regions are being added. There you will find a little hard to understand that the 13th region is not on Patagonia or Antarctica, but is right in the middle of the country, is its Metropolitan region, where Santiago stands.

The country is a photographer’s paradise, since the landscapes and its colors change dramatically from the extreme north to the far south.

Chile is often regarded as South America's safest, most economically and politically stable nations. It experience an increase just shy of 10% in US citizens travel in 2006. US outbound travel to Chile in 2005 increased by a full 13% over the previous year, representing clear confidence in leisure travel to and within a country of uncommon cultural, geographical and historical diversity.

There are approximately 15 million inhabitants in this territory – including various ethnic groups like the Aymaras, the Mapuches, the Easter Islanders and a small number of people from Tierra del Fuego. The official language is Spanish; the majority religion is Catholicism and the currency – the Chilean Peso - is valued at around 520 pesos per US dollar.

Travelling in Chile feels like visiting several countries at a time. In its nature and the work of man Chile is a country of extremes, where one can find anything from totally arid lunar landscapes to densely forested areas, with ferns and waterfalls from the nearly deserted southern ice fields to the crowded cities full of life, first-rate shopping malls, international restaurants and five-star hotels.

Much longer than it is wide – over 4000 kilometers long, 8000 if you count the Antarctica -, touring Chile from one end to the other means covering a greater distance than that between Paris and Dakar. Crossing Chile however, takes only a few hours. In Chile you can ski in the mountains in the morning and enjoy a delicious dinner by the sea in the evening, with excellent seafood and a good Chilean wine.

Its geography makes Chile a fascinating country where nature is featured in a thousand ways. Not surprisingly, legend has it that when God finished the Creation, he took leftovers of desert, pampa, jungle and mountains, and with them he created the patchwork that is Chile. In Chile’s bewildering
diversity there are, however, two constants that run the length of the country: the sea and the Andes mountain range.

The mountains and the sea have given Chile its climate and its identity. Separated from the rest of the world by the Atacama Desert, the Andes and the Pacific ocean, Chile has its own animal and plant wildlife and has a diverse climate that goes from the driest desert in the north to the wet and
cold frozen wastes of the south, and in between the freshness of the coasts and the Mediterranean climates of the valleys.

 

WHAT TO DO & SEE IN CHILE (ENGLISH)

QUÉ HACER EN CHILE (ESPAÑOL)

 

 

NORTH DESERT AND HIGHLANDS

CENTRAL CHILE

ARAUCANIA AND THE LAKES REGION

PATAGONIA

ISLANDS: EASTER ISLAND, CHILOE & OTHERS

ANTARCTICA

WORLD HERITAGE SITES

 

Copyright © 2005- Embassy of Chile, Washington, DC and GlobeScope, Inc.