Information about Chile
Chile is divided politically into 15 regions; one of these is the Metropolitan Region, lying in the central zone of the country, where the capital, Santiago, is located.
The relief presents a common pattern throughout the whole length of the country; to the east, the Andes mountain range and to the west the Pacific Ocean. Between these two boundaries lie mountains, valleys, lakes, volcanoes and any number of other major geographical features. The country offers practically every type of climate in the world. In the northern extreme, and extending some 1,500 km south from the border with Peru, lies one of the world’s driest deserts. The highest parts of the Chilean Andes are in this zone, with peaks up to 6,893 mts. Wide, high, mountain plateaux with intermediate valleys run across the country to the coast, terminating in sea cliffs.
In the Norte Chico sector (nearer to Santiago), the first indications of vegetation start to appear, thanks to the sporadic rains which fall three or four times per year. These produce some of the world’s clearest skies for astronomy, and telescopes of world importance are situated in this zone. Here also appear the so-called transversal valleys, where grapes are grown for the production of ‘Pisco’, a kind of brandy which is Chile’s traditional spirit.
Further south we find Valparaiso, a centre of port activity and home to the National Congress; and Viña del Mar which is an active centre of tourism. Santiago, capital of Chile, contains the largest mass of population in the country. Here also is the country’s principal international airport, the destination of virtually all incoming flights from other countries.
Further south again we find a mediterranean climate which favours agriculture, the characteristic activity of the countryside south of Santiago. Another 500 kms on and the flora now is more abundant, the countryside is green and we start to find frequent lakes and rivers.
From Puerto Montt the central valley is flooded by the sea and the landscape becomes totally changed and broken up. Thousands of islands, channels, fiords, steep-sided mountains, immense glaciers and rushing rivers, all clothed in dense virgin forests which come down to the water’s edge, go to the creation of a landscape of incalculable beauty.
Today Chile’s economy is one of the soundest in South America, and the country’s friendly, welcoming inhabitants enjoy increasing opportunities for progress.