Where is Chile located?

What countries border Chile?

Chile Weather

What is the current weather in Chile?


Chile Facts and Culture

What is Chile famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: Hands are kept above the table at all times. It is impolite to ask for second helpings. Even if they... More
  • Family: The family is important in Chile, including the extended family. While men have tended to dominate private and public life... More
  • Fashion: Fashions follow European styles. Appearance is quite important to individuals; even in rural areas, it is important to be neatly... More
  • Visiting: Contrary to some areas in South America, guests wait outside the door of a home until invited inside by the... More
  • Recreation: The most popular spectator sport in Chile is fútbol, or soccer. Many consider it Chile's national sport. Major soccer events... More
  • Cultural Attributes: The Chilean people are friendly, both among themselves and with strangers. The people are known for having a witty sense... More
  • Dating: Young people begin dating by the time they are 16. Group dating is emphasized early on. Men marry from age... More
  • Diet: Many national dishes are prepared with fish, seafood, chicken, beef, beans, eggs and corn. A common meal is soup or... More

Chile Facts

What is the capital of Chile?

Capital Santiago; note - Valparaiso is the seat of the national legislature
Government Type presidential republic
Currency Chilean pesos (CLP)
Total Area 291,931 Square Miles
756,102 Square Kilometers
Location Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
Language Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
GDP - real growth rate 1.7%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $24,000.00 (USD)

Chile Demographics

What is the population of Chile?

Ethnic Groups white and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6%
Languages Castellano, a Spanish dialect is the official language. English is taught in schools. A small minority in southern Chile speak German, Italian and Mapuche, an Indian language.
Nationality Adjective Chilean
Nationality Noun Chilean(s)
Population 18,186,770
Population Growth Rate 0.86%
Population in Major Urban Areas SANTIAGO (capital) 6.034 million; Valparaiso 883,000; Concepcion 770,000
Predominant Language Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
Urban Population 89.2%

Chile Government

What type of government does Chile have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2018); note - the president is both chief of state... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: yes citizenship by descent: yes dual citizenship recognized: yes residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years More
  • National Holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810) More
  • Constitution: many previous; latest adopted 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended many times, last in 2011; note - in... More
  • Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain) More

Chile Geography

What environmental issues does Chile have?

  • Overview: Chile is a narrow ribbon of land stretching almost 2,700 miles along the southwest coast of South America. Although it... More
  • Climate: Chile's climate is as varied as its geography. Despite lying in the tropics, northern Chile is characterized by warm summers... More
  • Border Countries: Argentina 5,308 km, Bolivia 860 km, Peru 171 km More
  • Environment - Current Issues: widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species,... More
  • Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east More

Chile Economy

How big is the Chile economy?

Chile News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Chile?
Source: Google News

Interesting Chile Facts

What unique things can you discover about Chile?

  • The driest place on earth is the Atacama Desert, where no rain has fallen in the last 400 years.
  • Well-known Chilean-Canadian writers include Jorge Etcheverry, Naín Noméz, and José Leandro Urbina.
  • Chilean territory, Easter Island is a Polynesian island 2300 miles west of Chile. Easter Island is known for 887 giant figures called "moai" carved from volcanic stone. Thdse figure
  • The Machi possess a sacred kultrun, a drum that is believed to complement their supernatural power. They play the drum during prayers and religious activities. The kultrun is a powerful symbol in the Mapuche religious tradition.
  • One of the best tennis players in the world is a Chilean, Marcelo Rios. He has competed in major international tennis competitions, such as Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
  • There are various beliefs associated with New Year's such as eating lentils at midnight for good luck or walking around with a suitcase in order to increase your chances to travel in the upcoming year.
  • On rainy days, Chileans like to eat Sapaipillas, a fried tortilla made with pumpkin and flour.
  • Chileans often use the word chao for goodbye instead of the Spanish adíos.
  • Copper provides 60% of exports and 20% of Chile's GDP. Demand for copper has been high and this has been good for the Chilean economy.
  • The cueca, Chile's national dance, mimics a rooster stalking a hen. Men dress as huasos and women wear full skirts. The dancers wave handkerchiefs as they dance around each other.
  • Diseases of the circulatory system, such as heart disease, are the leading cause of death in Chile. They account for approximately 58% of all deaths.
  • Chile is a country of extremes. Though 2653 miles long, it averages only 109 miles wide from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the volcanic Andes Mountain range on the east.

    In the north the land rises and becomes arid, resulting in the Atacama Desert which can go twenty years without a drop of rain. The southern tip of Chile is composed of countless cold and stormy channels, fjords and islands, ending with the treacherous Cape Horne.
  • The name Chile may come from a Peruvian Indian word that means "snow,” or from an Inca word that means “land's end.” Some people believe it comes from the call of a local bird, “cheele-cheele.”
  • Initially, free primary and secondary schools in Chile were open only to boys. The first all-female high school was founded by Antonia Tarragó in 1864.
  • Adult friends of the family are often called tio or tia (uncle or aunt) as a mark of respect and affection.
  • When a child loses a tooth they often give their tooth to their mother. Some will make it made into a charm, set in gold or silver, so the child can wear it as a necklace or an earring.
  • In 1990, the National Women's Service (Sernam) was created to ensure equal rights for women, bring them into the workforce, improve their quality of life and strengthen their family ties.

Watch video on Chile

What can you learn about Chile in this video?

Chile Guide YouTube, Expoza Travel

Chile Travel Information

What makes Chile a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

In addition to its stunning natural beauty, the Republic of Chile has a large, educated middle class and a robust free-market economy. Santiago and other largecities have well-developed tourist facilities and services, although the quality of tourist facilities may vary outside major populated areas. Spanish is the national language. English is frequently understood in major tourist hotels and resorts but is not widely used outside those areas.

Crime

Most foreigners visit Chile without incident. Nevertheless, street crime is a problem, especially in Santiago and Valparaiso. As in any large city, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Be alert for pick-pocketing, purse and camera snatching, and thefts from backpacks and rental cars. Petty crime is common in major tourist destinations, in hotel lobbies and restaurants, internet cafes, at bus and subway stations, and in cruise ship ports. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal and Mercado Central as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently in these areas. Criminals usually work in groups and employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. A few taxi drivers engage in currency switching and overcharge with altered taxi meters. Incidents of individuals smashing car windows of occupied vehicles stopped in traffic and taking items of value on seats have occurred. Drivers should keep car doors locked at all times and valuables out of sight while driving and while the vehicle is parked. Your passport is a valuable document. Report the loss or theft of a U.S. passport to the police and to the U.S. Embassy immediately. Secure your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe, and carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes. Leave copies of your passport and important documents with family members in case of emergency.

Counterfeit and pirated goods may sometimes be available in Chile, and transactions involving such products are generally illegal under local law. In addition, bringing such goods back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency lines in Chile follow an ABC-123 plan:

131 - Ambulancia / Ambulance

132 - Bomberos / Fire Department

133 - Carabineros / Police Department

Criminal Penalties

While in Chile, you are subject to Chile's laws and regulations. Chilean laws may differ significantly from those in the United States. You may not have the same protections available to you as under U.S. law, and penalties for breaking the law can also be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Chile's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Chile are strict, and convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Persons engaging in sexual conduct with children and using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country may be prosecuted in the United States.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Chile, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy in Santiago of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Languages

Castellano, a Spanish dialect is the official language. English is taught in schools. A small minority in southern Chile speak German, Italian and Mapuche, an Indian language.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Santiago has two main private hospitals that are accredited by The American Hospital Association and meet U.S. standards: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes. Both have international patient departments and experience with some international insurance companies. Medical care in Chile is generally good, though it may not meet U.S. standards in remote areas. Major hospitals accept credit cards, but many doctors and hospitals in Chile expect immediate payment in cash. Prescriptions written by local doctors and over-the-counter medicines are widely available.

Air pollution is a major health concern in Santiago, resulting in severe bronchial ailments affecting infants, small children, and the elderly. The most severe air pollution occurs during the winter (May through August).

The ozone layer is especially thin over parts of Chile. Take precautions to protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation.

Safety and Security

Demonstrations occur frequently. Although most are peaceful and have pre-approved routes, they sometimes become violent or change course with little warning. Demonstrations are common on March 29, the Day of the Young Combatant, and September 11, the anniversary of the 1973 coup against the government of President Salvador Allende. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. Avoid them if possible. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the local news media.

Protest and anarchist groups are known to place small explosive devices at ATMs and other Chilean government/business locations, which have thus far resulted in few injuries. Several incidents occurred this year involving the fabrication of homemade explosive devices set in the lobbies of national and international banks, and at cash dispensing machines, normally between the hours of 2400 and 0400. Most of these incidents were planned to cause damage to buildings and make a political statement while minimizing the possibility of injury or death, but some have occurred in high-traffic pedestrian areas. The devices are usually comprised of black powder placed inside a fire extinguisher. Be aware of your surroundings and report anything unusual to local police. U.S. citizens have not been targeted in these attacks.

Araucanía Conflict: The Mapuches, an indigenous group, make up a small percentage of the Chilean population and are concentrated in Araucanía and Santiago. Elements within some Mapuche communities are engaged in a conflict over land and indigenous rights in Chile. Violent individuals and activist groups seeking redress for grievances sometimes utilize protest tactics, including burning of structures and pastures, attacks on trucks and other equipment, and death threats. There have been several attacks, allegedly perpetrated by Mapuche members, in the region of Araucanía (Region IX, in south-central Chile) since 2012 which have resulted in deaths. Other attacks on property have taken place in the same area. These attacks have targeted multinational forestry corporations and private Chilean landowners, rather than U.S. citizens or other foreigners. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens are advised to exercise caution when traveling in the Araucanía region.

Visitors to Easter Island may occasionally encounter non-violent demonstrations. Such demonstrations have caused minor disruption at the airport and closure of some government facilities. Demonstrations may result in minor inconveniences and occasional delays.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Chile, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States:

Right-hand turns are prohibited at red lights unless otherwise posted.

Major highways in and around Santiago collect tolls through the use of an electronic transmitter (available at www.concesiones.cl ).

Secondary and mountain roads may be poorly maintained, poorly lit, and may lack guardrails.

Many drivers do not signal lane changes and rarely yield to merging traffic.

Many drivers exceed posted speed limits, do not maintain safe distances, and do not observe posted road signs.

Major arteries in Santiago may switch directions during morning and evening rush hours.

Drivers must carry sufficient Chilean pesos to pay frequent highway tolls.

Chile has modern infrastructure. Taxis and public transportation are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Avoid using unmetered taxis; if you do use an unmetered taxi, agree to a fare before embarking. To use the public bus system in Santiago you need to obtain the prepaid “Bip” card. This card can also be used when traveling on the Santiago subway.

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Chile is severely punished (“Zero Tolerance” policy) and can result in incarceration.

Visitors for fewer than 90 days can rent a car and drive with a valid U.S. license, though insurance may not be available in some forms for drivers without a Chilean or international driver’s license. Visitors to Chile for more than 90 days must have an international driver's permit and their U.S. driver's license to legally drive in Chile. The international driver's license must be obtained in the United States before traveling to Chile. The police may fine foreigners for driving without a valid international permit.

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