Chile is located in South America. The country borders the South Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes mountain range to the east, the Atacama Desert to the north and Ice Fields (glaciers) to the south. Chile shares borders with Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.
Chile has a population of approximately 17,508,260 (July 2015, est.), divided into a diverse mix of ethnic groups:
White and non-indigenous 88.9%
Other indigenous groups 1% (includes Rapa Nui, Likan Antai, Quechua, Colla, Diaguita, Kawesqar, Yagan or Yamana), unspecified 0.3% (2012 est.)
Continental Chile is the longest north-south trending country in the world, extending across 38 degrees of latitude. It has a strategic location relative to sea lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage). The country boasts the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, spreading across the northern part of the country, and also the crater lake of Ojos del Salado, the world's highest lake at 6,390 m.
Also a part of Chile are Easter Island, the Juan Fernández Archipelago (Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk, Santa Clara islands and other smaller islets), the Salas and Gómez islands and the Desaventurada islands.
Continental Chile: 755,776 km2
Oceanic Chile: 320 km2 (Easter Island, Juan Fernández Archipelago, Salas and Gómez islands and Desaventuradas islands)
Antarctic Chile: 1,250,257 km2
Territorial Chile - Total: 2,006,354 km2
Coastline: 6,435 km
Temperate in General
Desert in the North
Mediterranean in the Central Region
Cool and damp in the South
Low coastal mountains, fertile central valley, rugged Andes in the east
Spanish is the country’s official language, 99.2%. About 10% of the population speaks English and 1% speaks indigenous languages, such as: Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui.
Roman Catholic is Chile’s predominant religion, 66.7%. 16.4% claims to be Evangelical or Protestant, 1% Jehovah’s Witness, other 3.4% and 11.5% of the population does not profess a religion.
Chile’s urban population is 89.5% of its total. Santiago, its capital, being the largest, with 6.5 million of the population, followed by the port city of Valparaíso, 907,000 and the southern capital of Concepción, 816,000.
Santiago, Chile’s capital, largest and most populated city, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range. Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city’s old colonial core, is home to two neoclassical landmarks: the early-19th-century Royal Court Palace, which houses the National History Museum, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral.
Santiago’s city center also features museums such as the recently remodeled Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, and the Cultural Center La Moneda that sits below the Presidential Palace, el Palacio de La Moneda.
Barrio Brasil, Barrio Italia, Barrio Lastarria and Barrio Bellavista offer a lively and bohemian style nightlife, full of restaurants, cafés and boutiques. The neighborhood dubbed as Sanhattan, located in Las Condes, at the intersection of Av. Andrés Bello and Av. Isidora Goyenechea, boasts five-star hotels, gourmet restaurants, bars and a shopping center.
Parque Araucano, a 30-hectare park in Las Condes, is nestled in between high rise office buildings and one of the city’s oldest shopping centers, Parque Arauco, which features a large selection of shops, boutiques, restaurants, luxury brand stores and a movie theater.
Chile is fortunate to have the ideal climate conditions for ideal wine grape growing: hot summers, cool breezes from the coast and moderate rainfall.
The Central Valley, for example, is found between the Andes the Coastal Mountain Range, crossed by rivers that make for fertile soil. These lands are able to grow grape varieties that were originally brought from Europe, and some that can no longer be found there, such as Carménère. Other varieties to be found here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonney.
Other valleys worth a visit are the Aconcagua, Casablanca, Colchagua, San Antonio-Leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Curicó and Maule.
These are all key destinations on a visit to Chile. Aside from sampling some of the country’s best wines, you can visit boutique hotels and restaurants, go horseback riding and even follow some bicycle paths around the different vineyards.
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The Chiloé Archipelago is made up of several islands off the Coast of the Chilean mainland, separated by the Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé to the east and the Gulf of Corcovado to the southeast. The main island is called Isla Grande de Chiloé (the Great Island of Chiloé).
Chiloé comes from the Mapudungun, the language of the Mapuche indigenous community, word chillwe, meaning seagull place.
Chiloé is best known for its folklore, mythology, cuisine (the seafood and meat dish called Curanto, for example) and its unique architecture, especially its wooden churches, 16 of which were chosen as Unesco Heritage sites.
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Considered one of Chile’s and South America´s most spectacular national parks, Torres del Paine encompasses mountains (which soar 2,000 m above the Patagonia steppe), glaciers, rivers and lakes in Chile’s Patagonia. The National Park is located 112 km north of the city of Puerto Natales and 312 km south of Punta Arenas.
Paine means "blue" in the native Tehuelche language, one if the Chon languages spoken in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.