Explore Chile in South America

Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

Chile with its capital Santiago is located in South America (Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean). It covers some 756,951 square kilometres (slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana) with 16,432,000 citizens. Spanish is the language commonly spoken by people in Chile. Peru, Bolivia and Argentina are bordering countries.

Chile narrowly stretches along the southern half of the west coast of South America, between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Spanish is the official language in the country and is spoken by almost the entire population. When entering Chile (by cruise, vehicle or plane), at customs, travelers will need to fill out a tourist card that allows them to stay for up to 90 days. Travelers will have to present the tourist card to Customs officials when leaving the country. Be aware that hotels waive Chile's 19% room tax when the guest shows this card and pays with U.S. dollars. Chile has a rather good airport infrastructure. The main hub for flights in Chile is the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago, from where several airlines serve even the remotest corners of the country. Never exchange money on the streets, specially if a helper indicates you to follow them. It's not advisable to exchange currency in the hotel or the airport as the rates are awful. Just be patient. Banco Santander has a monopoly on the ATMs of the airport and will add a surcharge of 2500 CLP for retrieving cash - it's still better than the exchange bureaus. With such an enormous coastline, you can expect fish and seafood almost everywhere. Locals used to eat bundles of raw shellfish, but visitors should be cautious of raw shellfish because of frequent outbreaks of red tides.


Pictures from the Chilean capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Santiago is like. We have selected more pictures from Santiago on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Chile Tourism

Providencia 1550
P.O. Box 14082

Phone: +56 2 6967141
Phone: +56 2 6960981

The topography features low coastal mountains with fertile central valley and rugged Andes in east. The average density of population is about 22 per km². The climate in Chile can be described as temperate with desert in north, Mediterranean in central region, cool and damp in south. Potential natural disasters are severe earthquakes or active volcanism or tsunamis.

To reach someone in Chile dial +56 prior to a number. There are 3,575,000 installed telephones. And there are 16,450,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 1900 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".cl". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 220V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Chilean Facts page.

Description of the flag of Chile

Two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red represents the blood spilled to achieve independence
note: design was influenced by the US flag.

National administrative regions of Chile

Historical background information

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Inca ruled northern Chile while the Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche were brought under central government control. After a series of elected governments, the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was inaugurated in 1990. Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.

Learn more on our Chilean Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.