Chile is a long and narrow stretch of land at the southwestern end of Amï¿½rica, between Los Andes mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. it also has part of the Antarctica and more than 5.800 islands and isles. Her boundaries are: to the North with Perï¿½, to the South with the South Pole, to the East with Bolivia and Argentina and to the West with the Pacific Ocean.
it is perhaps from this far away land that one of the interpretations of the word “CHILLI” comes from. In the language of one of the original peoples, it means “where the land ends”.
There are more than 4.000 kilometres between Arica the northern most city and Port Williams, the southern most populated place in Chile and in the worid. This distance is similar to Paris-Moscow or San Francisco-New York.
lts elongated and thin shape, unique in the map of the land, allows for the exï¿½stence of varied landscapes, climates, flora and fauna. lts geography is broken and mountainous. Only 20% of the territory is plain.
The spine of the country is the Cordillera de los Andes (The Andes mountain range) which in the North reaches heights above 6.000 metres and it almost disappears in the extreme South oniy to reappear in Antarctica. The Cordillera de la Costa (Coastal mountaï¿½n range) runs parallel to The Andes but at lower heights and between these two mountain ranges there is the so calied intermediate depression which in the North becomes the pampas anchin the South turns into valleys. Towards the extreme South, the Coastal Range breaks and the valleys sink: guifs, estuaries and islands give shape to a very complex geography.
The Pacific Ocean, alongside the vast and broken coast of the country provides a rich variety of marine fauna. The Humboldt Cold Current is feit almost throughout the entire length of the coast: the temperatura of the waters decreases towards the South. At some points along the Chilean coast the depth of the Pacific Ocean is more than 8.000 metres.
Because of her length, Chile has almost every sort of climate, except the tropical climate. Chile is located at the south of the Equator, therefore its seasons are reversed to those countries in the northern hemisphere.
The official language of Chile is Spanish spoken without regional variations. Other languages spoken in very restricted areas are: “Mapudungu” (mapuche language), “Rapa Nui” (spoken in Easter lsland) and “Aymara” (spoken in some areas of the mountains in the North).
The country is divided into 12 regions plus greater Santiago, 51 provinces and 335 municipalities. Capital: Santiago (of the New Extremadura) founded on 12 February 1541 by the Spanish Conqueror Pedro de Valdivia.
Regions of Tarapacï¿½, Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo.
The North Zone or Big North, is a coastal desert bordered by kilometres of white sandy beaches with a very pleasant temperatura. Among some other less known attractions are the temperate climate, geysers and a great number of varied and very unusual desert valleys. In the Andean altiplano there are tradicional indigenous villages and archeological ruins.
The North-Central Zone or Smali North is 1.000 kilometres towards the south. As the neighbouri.ng zone towards the North, it is characteristically dry but it also has many fertile valleys. Another similarity with the Big North is that it is bordered by beaches with very pleasant temperaturas all year round.
Central Zone and South: Regions of Valparaiso, Gran Santiago, Maule, Bio-Bï¿½o, Araucanï¿½a and the Lakes Region.
In the Central Zone, the coast has numerous smali beaches with very good tourist facilities and very important urban cities. Further iniand, the Cordillera de los Andes offers excellent conditions to practice mountain sports whereas other areas are attractive because of their vegetation. The best and most modern ski centres are in this region, like Portillo, Valle Nevado (Snowed Valley) and further south, Chillan Spa, Antillanca, Antuco.
The South Zone has mountains, volcanoes, ï¿½akes of different sizes sorrounded by forests, beaches and bays very appropriate for nautical sports. Salmon can be found in most of these lakes, a great attraction for those fond of fishing. A number of rivers flow from the mountains, ideal for rafting and adventure tourism.
Austral Zone: Regions of Aysï¿½n and Magallanes
This is the southernmost region where the combination of cannais, bays, archipelagos and glaciers form landscapes of unique beauty which are important tourist attractions. Most of this territory is covered with ancient forests and native species. Further South, in Patagonia, Magallanes Strait and Tierra del Fuego there are mountains of great heights like Torres del Paine. In Punta Arenas there is the only ski centre in the worid with a view to the sea.
lsland Zone: Easter lsland and Archipiï¿½lago de Juan Fernï¿½ndez.
Easter lsland and Archipiï¿½lago de Juan Fernï¿½ndez (inciuding Robinson Crusoe lsland) are very different from the rest of the country. Their semi-tropical climate are excellent for swimming, diving and sailing. Both have archeological sites and many native species of plants and animais.
Main citï¿½es in the country:
Santiago, Concepciï¿½n, Valparaï¿½so, Antofagasta, Temuco and Punta Arenas.