Chile is a unique country
whose unusual geography encompasses
so many different environments from the Atacama Desert in the North to
the Antarctic in the South. On the Pacific coast of South America, the country stretches
along 4300 km of coastline but
is hardly ever more than 180 km wide as the high mountain range
of the Andes isolates it from
its neighbours, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Chile is one of the continent's
most developed nations. Over one third of the total population of 17.4 million live in the capital, Santiago, in the Central Valley.
The visitor however is attracted to many of the remote and un-spoilt
places. The options are many and varied from the vast empty
desert areas of the Atacama Desert to the heart of
the Andes reaching up to more than 5,000 meters, where there
are snow capped volcanoes and dramatic landscapes stretching across
wild, untamed places. Adventure tourism offers some of the best trekking, fishing and skiing opportunities
in the southern hemisphere.
The country is divided into twelve administrative
regions from north to south, together with the Metropolitan
region of Santiago. Each region
has its attractions and individual tourism activities. San
Pedro de Atacama and Torres del Paine
are probably the most well known and visited as well as Easter Island in the Pacific,
but there are many more places which are gradually becoming more
frequented. In the IV Region of Coquimbo
with its near perfect climate, the city of
Serena and the
of Coquimbo make an ideal stopping place
for those traveling to the North. Here the fertile transversalElqui Valley attracts those who interested
in astronomy for the skies here are the clearest in the world.
Whatever part is visited the Chilean people are noted
for their warm hospitality, friendliness and creativity.
Folklore and music go hand in hand with the Chilean traditions
and culture. The wide variety of food and wine
produced locally in the regions gives the Chilean cuisine
an individual flavour. Many gastronomic dishes are based on the
local fish and shellfish found along the extensive coastline.
The Chilean liquor
"pisco" which is like a clear type
of brandy is the national drink, often served as a "pisco sour", is produced in the Elqui and Limarí Valleyand there
are many excellent quality Chilean wines. The visitor is often surprised and captivated by the character,
landscape and welcome in this "long thin country" of
Language: Spanish Currency: Chilean peso, Most accept credit cards:- American Express, Diners, Master Card and Visa. Business Hours: Banks Monday - Friday. Business Hours vary from city to
Transport: Regular flights to most cities byLanChile, Good coach/bus
services by day and night to the North and South
Taxis and buses available locally. 'Colectivos'
- have a fixed route. And carry up to four passengers. Car Rental: Passports and driving licenses needed.
Major credit cards accepted. Every city has car rental.
Health: Advisable to drink bottled water. Vegetables and
shellfish should be cooked before
eating. Good clinics and hospitals located in all cities. Tipping -Restaurants
etc. customary 10%