Stephanie Schossow
Teresa Shallow
Lindsay Crumpton
Kathryn McBrayer
Ashley Plikaytis
Amanda Blackledge

Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms of Chile dates from 1834 and was designed by the English artist Charles Wood Taylor. It is made up by a figurative background divided in two equal parts: the top one is blue and the bottom, red. A five pointed white star is in the centre of the shield. This background is supported in one side by a condor, the bird most commonly associated with the Andes, and in the other, by a huemul, the most singular and rare mammal of the Chilean territory. Both animals have in their heads the navy's golden crown, symbol of the heroic deeds of the Chilean Navy in the Pacific Ocean.


The shield is crowned by a three feathered crest; each feather bearing one colour: blue, white and red. This crest was a symbol of distinction that former Presidents of the Republic used to wear on their hats. Underneath the shield and on the ellaborated pedestal, there is a white band with the motto: "Por la Razón o la Fuerza" ("By Right or Might").
This emblem is the last of a series of variations due to diverse circumstances and understandings.
Map of Chile
National Holidays in Chile
1st - New Year's Day
(varies) - Holy Week
1st - Labor Day
21th - Naval Battle of Iquique
30th - Corpus Christi
29th - Saint Peter & Saint Paul's Day
15th - Assumption
11th - Military Coup of 1973
18th - Independence Day
19th - Armed Forces Day
12th - Columbus Day
1st - All Saints' Day
8th - Immaculate Conception
25th- Christmas Day
Travel Tips for Visting Chile
Travel Documents
To enter Chile you need a valid passport and tourist visa. Note: legal requirements can sometimes be complex in Chile, particularly for non-Spanish speakers. Whenever you fill out any form in Chile, make sure you get a copy of what you have completed. In every case, be sure to take all legally-issued documents with you when applying for visas, permits or other official certificates.
Local currency is the Chilean Peso. As of this writing, the exchange was about 451 pesos per 1USD.
A 10 percent tip is required at restaurants.
Businesses typically open at 8am. Shops close at noon until 3 or 4pm, then reopen until 8 or 9pm. Banks are open only in the mornings.
Time Zones
There is only one time zone in Chile.
Spanish is the national language.

Copihue (Lapageria Rosea R et P). Philesiaceae family. Most common type is a red bell-shaped flower. It grows in the southern regions.

One of the largest birds of prey in existence. Over a meter in length, with a wingspan of


approximately 3 meters. Head and neck bald. Blue-black plumage; around neck, white ring of feathers; back and upper part of wings, white

Farm worker and cowhand. Since 1812, the “Huaso’s “ dress has been a poncho and a tri-colored sash which symbolize the independence of his country. (PONER HUASO).


Chilean National Anthem
Listen: instrumental (mid 21KB) or vocal (mp3 383KB)

History of the National Anthem
The first Chilean National Anthem dates back to 1819, when the government called for, on the 19th of July, the creation of music and lyrics for this purpose. The composer Manuel Robles and the poet Bernardo de Vera y Pintado fulfilled this mandate and their "National Song" debuted on the 20th of August, 1820 in the Domingo Arteaga theater, although other historians claim that it was played and sung during the festivities of September 1819. In the beginning, everyone would stand for the song. O'Higgins and Freire listened to it with respect and full of emotion, for they had marched to victory to its tune more than once. The custom of always singing it at the theater slowly disappeared, until it was ordered that it only be sung at the aniversary of the country. The doctor Bernardo Vera, known in the history of the independence, was the author of the verses that were sung to Robles' music. This first hymn was sung until 1828, when it was replaced with what is sung today.

New Version
The second Chilean National Anthem was composed by the Spanish composer Ramón Carnicer, when he was exiled in England because of this liberal ideas. Mariano Egaña, Chilean Minister in London, acting on the criticism that Robles' song was receiving, asked Carnicer to compose a new hymn with Bernardo de Vera's original text.

The Spanish musician probably wrote the work by 1827, the date he returned to Barcelona, and his hymn debuted in Santiago, in the Arteaga theater, the 23rd of December 1828. Years later, in 1847, the Chilean Government el Gobierno de Chile entrusted the young poet Eusebio Lillo with a new text that would replace the anit-Spanish poem of Vera y Pintado, and after being analyzed by Andrés Bello, retained the original corus ("Dulce patria, recibe los votos…).

Chilean National Anthem
Dulce Patria, recibe los votos
Con que Chile en tus aras juró
Que o la tumba serás de los libres
O el asilo contra la opresión.

Ha cesado la lucha sangrienta;
Ya es hermano el que ayer invasor;
De tres siglos lavamos la afrenta
Combatiendo en el campo de honor.
El que ayer doblegábase esclavo
Libre al fin y triunfante se ve;
Libertad es la herencia del bravo,
La Victoria se humilla a sus pies.

Alza, Chile, sin mancha la frente;
Conquistaste tu nombre en la lid;
Siempre noble, constante y valiente
Te encontraron los hijos del Cid.
Que tus libres tranquilos coronen
A las artes, la industria y la paz,
Y de triunfos cantares entonen
Que amedrenten al déspota audaz.

Vuestros nombres, valientes soldados,
Que habéis sido de Chile el sostén,
Nuestros pechos los llevan grabados;
Los sabrán nuestros hijos también.
Sean ellos el grito de muerte
Que lancemos marchando a lidiar,
Y sonando en la boca del fuerte
Hagan siempre al tirano temblar.

Si pretende el cañón extranjero
Nuestros pueblos osado invadir;
Desnudemos al punto el acero
Y sepamos vencer o morir.
Con su sangre el altivo araucano
Nos legó por herencia el valor;
Y no tiembla la espada en la mano
Defendiendo de Chile el honor

Puro, Chile, es tu cielo azulado,
Puras brisas te cruzan también,
Y tu campo de flores bordado
Es la copia feliz del Edén.
Majestuosa es la blanca montaña
Que te dio por baluarte el Señor,
Y ese mar que tranquilo te baña
Te promete futuro esplendor.

Esas galas, ¡oh, Patria!, esas flores
Que tapizan tu suelo feraz,
No las pisen jamás invasores;
Con tu sombra las cubra la paz.
Nuestros pechos serán tu baluarte,
Con tu nombre sabremos vencer,
O tu noble, glorioso estandarte,
Nos verá combatiendo caer.

Note:The chorus and the fifth verse constitute what is officially sung as the national anthem

English translation:


Let us sing about the glory
of the martial triumph
that the Chilean people
obtained in Yungay.

1. With a sacred speed
hasting to the battlefield
the Chilean forces
advance to the combat
Marching ahead
heading for the front
impatiently awaiting
to prevail or to die.

2. Oh, beloved Motherland,
dear beyond expression
now on your altars
immortality is achieved!
Your spilled blood
gives the victory to you;
your blood, your glory
radiates immortal brightness!

3. Against the horrible roar
of the terrible guns,
the invincible hero
marches to fight.
Your tremendous arm
confused the tyrant,
and the Peruvian people
sang songs of freedom.

4. Nicea descends,
bringing festive,
woven in olive,
laurels of victory.
With her is crowned
the head
of the brave hero
of the hero without comparison.

Chile's Climate
Chile is a country of vast climate extremes. Due to Chile's long slender shape spanning from Peru in the north to Antarctica in the south, you'll experience a very different climate depending on what part of the country you visit. As a general rule, the farther north the hotter and drier the climate. As you head south, you'll see a cooler and wetter climate. Rainfall is more frequent during the winter months.

Chile sits in the southern hemisphere and as such its seasons are generally these:

Summer: December - February
Fall: March - May
Winter: June - August
Spring: September - November

Chiles Climate Areas
Northern Climate
Chile's northern most regions are characterized by a dry, arid climate. The world's driest desert, the Atacama, defines the northern most part of the country. Rainfall is so sparse here that some places haven't seen any precipitation in years. As is typical of desert climates, there is little seasonal change during the year and daily high temperatures decline significantly overnight.

Southern Climate
The southern extreme of Chile is prone to frequent rainfall with winter months being the wettest. This humid and damp region leads to a lush green landscape.

Central Valley
The central valley enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Summers are warm and dry with little precipitation. Winters are cooler and deliver frequent rain showers. This very moderate climate encourages the fertile agriculture of this region.

Andes Mountains
The eastern border of Chile is the Andes mountain range. The climate here is a combination of that typical of higher elevations and the overlying general climate discussed previously.

Coastal regions typically mirror the region of the country in which they are located. That general climate is moderated by oceanic effects.

Chile has territorial claims on parts of Antarctica. This region is characterized by ice and extreme cold temperatures year-round.

Chilean Industry

Chilean Argiculture
Chile's diverse geography yields itself to many agricultural products. These are sold and used in the country and also make up a large percentage of Chilean exports to other countries.

Leading Chilean Agriculture Products

Lumber and Timber
Chile has vast forested lands in its southern half. These trees provide the source for lumber, wood furniture, and other wood products.

Chile's slender shape hugs the Pacific Ocean from Peru in the north to Antarctica in the south. This huge coastline allows for a very productive fishing industry catching everything from salmon to Chilean Sea Bass.

Fruit and Vegetables
Chile's fertile central valley is ideal for growing many types of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Due to a favorable climate and geographic isolation that reduces foreign pests and diseases, Chile is able to have a thriving agriculture industry.

As Chile sits in the southern hemisphere, its growing season allows fruit and vegetable exports to the USA, Canada, and Europe during their winter months.

Chilean Government
Country name: Republica de Chile
Government type: republic
Capital : Santiago
Administrative divisions:
15 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Arica y Parinacota, Atacama, Biobio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Los Rios, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso

Chile officially proclaimed independence from Spain on February 12, 1818. Nevertheless, Chileans celebrate their independence September 18th which is really the anniversary of the government's first organization.

11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981, amended 30 July 1989, 1993, and 1997

Executive branch
chief of state: Presidenta Michelle Bachelet Jeria (since 11 March 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four year term; election last held 11 December 2005, with runoff election held 15 January 2006.

Legislative branch
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (48 seats, 38 elected by popular vote, 9 designated members, and 1 former president who has served a full six-year term and is senator for life); elected members serve eight-year terms (one-half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; the president of the Supreme Court is elected by the 21-member court); Constitutional Tribunal

Chile's Government History
Chile was originally under the control of the Incas in the north and the nomadic Araucanos in the south. In 1541, a Spaniard, Pedro de Valdivia, founded Santiago. Chile won its independence from Spain in 1818 under Bernardo O'Higgins and an Argentinian, José de San Martin. O'Higgins, dictator until 1823, laid the foundations of the modern state with a two-party system and a centralized government.

The dictator from 1830 to 1837, Diego Portales, fought a war with Peru in 1836–1839 that expanded Chilean territory. Chile fought the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia from 1879 to 1883, winning Antofagasta, Bolivia's only outlet to the sea, and extensive areas from Peru. Pedro Montt led a revolt that overthrew José Balmaceda in 1891 and established a parliamentary dictatorship lasting until a new constitution was adopted in 1925. Industrialization began before World War I and led to the formation of Marxist groups. Juan Antonio Ríos, president during World War II, was originally pro-Nazi but in 1944 led his country into the war on the side of the Allies.

In 1970, Salvador Allende became the first president in a non-Communist country freely elected on a Marxist program. Allende quickly established relations with Cuba and the People's Republic of China, introduced Marxist economic and social reforms, and nationalized many private companies, including U.S.-owned ones. In Sept. 1973, Allende was overthrown and killed in a military coup covertly sponsored by the CIA, ending a 46-year era of constitutional government in Chile.

The coup was led by a four-man junta headed by Army Chief of Staff Augusto Pinochet, who eventually assumed the office of president. Committed to “exterminat[ing] Marxism,” the junta suspended parliament, banned political activity, and severely curbed civil liberties. Pinochet's brutal dictatorship led to the imprisonment, torture, disappearances, execution, and expulsion of thousands of Chileans. A government report in 2004 indicated that almost 28,000 people had been tortured during his rule, and that at least 3,200 murders and disappearances had taken place.

The economy, in tatters under Allende's Socialist revolution, gradually improved after Chile's return to privatization under Pinochet. In 1989, Pinochet lost a plebiscite on whether he should remain in power. He stepped down in Jan. 1990 in favor of Patricio Aylwin. In Dec. 1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the candidate of a center-left coalition and son of a previous president, was elected president.

Pinochet, who had retained his post as army commander in chief after the 1989 plebiscite, retired in March 1998. In Oct. 1998, he was arrested and detained in England on an extradition request issued by a Spanish judge who sought Pinochet in connection with the disappearances of Spanish citizens during his rule. British courts ultimately denied his extradition, and Pinochet returned to Chile in March 2000. He died in Dec. 2006 at age 91, before facing trial for the abuses of his 17-year dictatorship.

Ricardo Lagos became president in March 2000, the first Socialist to run the country since Allende. Chile's economic growth slowed to 3% for 2001, partly the result of a drop in international copper prices and the economic turmoil in neighboring Argentina. In 2003 there were several minor financial scandals involving insider information and bribery. In response, Lagos introduced new reforms promising greater transparency. In 2004, Chile passed a law permitting divorce for the first time.

In 2006 presidential elections, Socialist Michelle Bachelet won 53% of the vote. The former pediatrician is a survivor of the Pinochet dictatorship, which was responsible for her father's death and subjected her to prison, torture, and exile. Bachelet took office on March 11, becoming Chile's first female chief of state. She promised to continue Chile's successful economic policies while increasing social spending. Her first major challenge came when 700,000 of the nation's students organized a national boycott in May demanding educational reform. The students called off the strike in June after the government agreed to address their concerns.

In January 2008 president Bachelet swore in six new ministers to her 22-member cabinet. The major change was the appointment of Christian Democrat leader Edmundo Perez Yoma for Interior Minister, the top political post of the cabinet. Bachelet also replaced ministers of economy, public works, mining, agriculture, and planning. The cabinet changes are not expected to affect government policy.

On April 17, 2008, education minister, Yasna Provoste, was impeached by parliament after failing to explain the disappearance of about $580 million in school funds

Chile Today
National name: República de Chile

President: Michelle Bachelet (2006)

Current government officials

Land area: 289,112 sq mi (748,800 sq km); total area: 292,260 sq mi (756,950 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 16,284,741 (growth rate: 0.9%); birth rate: 15.0/1000; infant mortality rate: 8.4/1000; life expectancy: 77.0; density per sq mi: 56

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Santiago, 5,333,100 (metro. area), 4,372,800 (city proper)

Other large cities: Viña del Mar, 303,100; Valparaíso, 274,100; Talcahuano, 252,800; Temuco, 247,200; Concepción, 217,600

Monetary unit: Chilean Peso


Language: Spanish

Ethnicity/race: white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%

Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, small Jewish population

Literacy rate: 96% (2003 est.)

Economic summary:
GDP/PPP (2006 est.): $202.7 billion; per capita $12,700. Real growth rate: 4.2%. Inflation: 2.6%. Unemployment: 7.8%. Arable land: 3%. Agriculture: grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber. Labor force: 6.3 million; agriculture 13.6%, industry 23.4%, services 63% (2003). Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles. Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower. Exports: $58.21 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.): copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine. Imports: $35.37 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.): petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas. Major trading partners: U.S., Japan, China, South Korea, Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Argentina (2004).

Telephones: main lines in use: 3.436 million (2005); mobile cellular: 10.57 million (2005). Radio broadcast stations: AM 180 (eight inactive), FM 64, shortwave 17 (one inactive) (1998). Television broadcast stations: 63 (plus 121 repeaters) (1997). Internet hosts: 506,055 (2006). Internet users: 6.7 million (2005).

Railways: total: 6,585 km (2005). Highways: total: 79,605 km; paved: 16,080 km; unpaved: 63,525 km (2001). Waterways: 725 km. Ports and harbors: Antofagasta, Arica, Huasco, Iquique, Lirquen, San Antonio, San Vicente, Valparaiso. Airports: 36 (2006 est.).

International disputes:
Chile rebuffs Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, offering instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile to Bolivian gas and other commodities; Peru proposes changing its latitudinal maritime boundary with Chile to an equidistance line with a southwestern axis; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims.

The Spanish came to Chile in 1541 and they brought grapes, olives, walnuts, chestnuts, rice, wheat, citrus fruits, sugar, garlic, and spices. They also brought chicken, beef, sheep, pigs, rabbits, milk, cheeses, and sausages.

Chilean Food
Long before the Spanish came to Chile, the native Amerindians used corn in many of their dishes. The combination of the Spanish and Amerindians' foods formed popular corn-based dishes that are still part of the typical diet in the twenty-first century. Popular dishes include humitas (corn that is pureed and cooked in corn husks) and pastel de choclo (a corn and meat pie).

In 1848, many German immigrants came to Chile, bringing rich pastries and cakes with them. Italian and Arab immigrants also settled in Chile, along with other European immigrants. Each group brought its style of cooking to Chile. The Italians brought ices and flavored them with the different Chilean fruits. The Arab immigrants brought their use of certain spices and herbs, and the combination of sweet and salty tastes. Between 1880 and 1900, British immigrants brought tea to Chile. Teatime—inviting friends over for tea and coffee—continues to be enjoyed in modern Chile. Chileans serve té con leche (tea with milk).

Té con Leche (Tea with Milk)
2 teabags
2 cups water
2 cups boiling milk
Sugar, to taste
Heat 2 cups of water to boiling.
In a saucepan, heat the milk just to boiling, and remove from heat.
Place tea bags into 2 separate cups.
Pour the water into cups, filling ⅓ of cup.
Let the tea steep (soak) for 5 minutes, then remove bag.
Fill the rest of the cup with the hot milk.
Add sugar to taste.
Recipe may be doubled or tripled, to serve more guests.

Serves 2.

Chile has a wide variety of foods, including seafood, beef, fresh fruit, and vegetables. A traditional Chilean meal is pastel de choclo, a "pie" made with corn, vegetables, chicken, and beef. This dish is usually served with ensalada chilena (Chilean salad).

Ensalada Chilena (Chilean Salad)
4 cups onions, finely sliced
4 cups peeled tomatoes (may be canned and drained well), finely sliced
3 Tablespoons oil
Lemon juice, to taste
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place the sliced onions in a bowl.
Cover with cold water and let set for 1 hour, then drain the water.
Mix onions with the tomatoes on a large platter.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour oil and lemon juice on mixture.
Mix and serve with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.
Serves 4.

Pastel de Choclo (Corn and Meat Pie)
4 cups frozen corn
8 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled)
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
4 large onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons oil
1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup black olives
1 cup raisins
2 pieces of cooked chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat the corn, basil, salt, and butter in a large pot.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Set aside while the meat filling is prepared.
Fry the onions in oil until they are soft.
Add the ground meat and stir to brown.
Drain grease from pan.
Add salt, pepper, and ground cumin.
Use an oven-proof dish to prepare the pie. Spread the onion and ground meat mixture on the bottom of the dish, then arrange the olives and raisins on top.
Place chicken pieces over the top.
Cover the filling with the corn mixture, then sprinkle on the confectioners' sugar.
Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

A typical Chilean dish is cazuela de ave, a thick stew of chicken, potatoes, rice, green peppers, and, occasionally, onions. Humitas are a national favorite, and they come from the Amerindians who are native to Chile. Humitas are made with grated fresh corn, mixed into a paste with fried onions, basil, salt, and pepper. The mixture is then wrapped in cornhusks and cooked in boiling water.

Empanadas, little pies usually stuffed with beef, olives, and onions, are another favorite. A popular dish is bistec a lo pobre (poor man's steak), which is steak topped with two fried eggs, and served with fried onions and French fries. Despite the name, poor Chileans cannot afford to eat this meal because beef is very expensive; this dish is actually eaten by wealthier people. Tomaticán (tomato and corn stew) is often served as a side dish with meat, chicken, or fish.

Tomaticán (Tomato and Corn Stew)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 large plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 pinch fresh parsley, chopped
Salt, to taste
In a large saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in hot oil.
Add the tomatoes and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
Add the corn and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add salt to taste, sprinkle parsley on top.
Serve hot.
Serves 4.

About 90 percent of Chileans are Roman Catholic, the religion that the Spaniards brought with them when they came to Chile in 1541. For Christmas, which occurs during the summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, families decorate Christmas trees, and on Christmas Eve they gather to eat a late meal. After the families eat, they open presents. Children enjoy pan de pascua, a Christmas cake made with fruits and nuts that comes from the German influence in Chile. During the holiday season, family and friends drink cola de mono (Chilean eggnog).

Cola de Mono (Chilean Eggnog)
1 gallon milk
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 cup whole coffee beans (or ½ cup instant coffee)
6 egg yolks
Bring the milk to a boil with the sugar, vanilla, and coffee.
Let it simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until the milk turns a light brown.
Remove from the heat, strain, and return to low heat.
Add a couple of Tablespoons of the hot milk to the egg yolks to dilute and warm them.
Stir the yolks back into the mixture and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Let it cool completely before drinking.
Serves 8 to 12.

Chileans also drink eggnog on New Year's Eve, celebrated on December 31. This is a favorite holiday. At midnight, Chileans hug and kiss each other, saying (in Spanish), "Good luck and may all your wishes come true." Some believe they will have good luck if they eat lentejas (lentils) at midnight.

Because many Chileans are Roman Catholic, days named after saints are important holidays. Children often celebrate the saint's day with the same name as theirs. October 4 is St. Francis of Assisi's day. Girls named Francisca and boys named Francisco celebrate this saint's day with a party and cake, as if it were their birthday. They also celebrate their own real birthdays. At both celebrations, torta de cumpleaños (birthday cake) is served.

Torta de Cumpleaños (Birthday Cake)
1 box yellow cake mix (prepare the cake according to the package, using 2 round pans, 10-inch each)
1 cup grape jelly (another flavor may be substituted)
2 cups pastry cream (vanilla frosting may be substituted)

2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Simmer the milk in a saucepan for 5 minutes and cover.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is light yellow.
Stir in flour, and pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, beating continuously with a whisk.
Pour the mixture back into saucepan and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly.
Lower the heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring quickly.
Remove from heat.
Add vanilla extract, and pour the cream into a bowl and spread melted butter over it.
Cover until ready to use

Once the cake is cool, remove from the pans.
In Chile, each layer would be sliced horizontally into two separate layers, so that the cake has 4 layers in all.
This is an optional step; the cake will taste almost the same with just two layers.
Place one layer of cake on a plate, spread some pastry cream or frosting on it and follow with a layer of jelly. If using more than two layers, alternate jelly and pastry cream or frosting between layers of cake.
Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream.
Let the cake sit overnight before eating.
Serves 8 to 12.

Chile's long coastline provides ample opportunities for fishermen to gain access to the sea. Chilean cooks will often offer at least one dish featuring seafood for lunch and dinner. Embassy of Chile


Mealtimes are an important part of family life. Families almost always eat together at home, only going to a restaurant on a special occasion.

Mothers prepare a light breakfast of toast and milk for their children. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, and two main dishes are often served. The first dish might be a salad with seafood. The other dish might be cazuela de ave, a thick stew of chicken, potatoes, rice, green peppers, and, occasionally, onions. Chancho en Piedra (Chili and Tomato Spread) is often served with bread as an accompaniment to meals, or may be eaten by students as a snack. In small towns, businesses close for almost three hours so people can go home and eat lunch with their families and take a siesta (nap).

Chancho en Piedra (Chili and Tomato Spread)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
1 small jar chopped green chilies
1 small can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste (preferably kosher-style)
Combine garlic and chilies in a glass bowl, and "smash" together, using a wooden spoon. (Traditional Chileans would use a marble mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients together.)
Add salt.
Gradually add the tomatoes, mixing them well.
Stir in the oil.
Pour mixture into a small serving bowl.
Spread on slices of crusty bread or toast.
Sandwiches are a popular snack. Children can also take sandwiches to school for lunch. One popular ham and melted cheese sandwich is called Barros Jarpa, named after a Chilean who ate large amounts of these sandwiches.

Barros Jarpa (Ham and Cheese Sandwich)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 slices sandwich bread
2 slices cooked ham
2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
Heat the oil in a pan.
Place one slice each of ham and cheese on a slice of bread and place the other slice of bread on top.
Toast the sandwich in the pan on both sides until the cheese melts.
Serves 2.

Restaurants range from snack bars to expensive restaurants. A favorite Chilean "fast food" meal is a completo, which is similar to a hot dog and typically accompanied with mustard, avocado, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. Ponche (Chilean punch) is a traditional and popular beverage.

Barros Jarpa (grilled ham and cheese sandwich), served with fruit, is a common lunch for students. EPD Photos

Ponche (Berry Punch)
1½ quarts cranberry juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
6 whole cloves
1 lemon peel
1 orange peel
In a pot, simmer the cranberry juice with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and the lemon and orange peels for 15 minutes.
Let it cool and throw away the cloves and fruit peels.
Pour into glasses and serve.
Serves 4.

Chileans also invite friends for teatime, a tradition from the British immigrants who came to Chile in the late 1800s. Dinner is usually one main dish. For dessert, Chileans eat fresh fruit, ice cream, or other desserts such as arroz con leche (rice pudding).

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon butter, for greasing the pan
1 cup heavy cream
Cinnamon to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Put the rice and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to low heat and cover the pan.
Cook the rice for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
In a medium bowl, stir the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon peel until blended.
Add the rice and stir gently until all ingredients are well mixed.
Butter a 9-inch pie pan and spoon the mixture into it. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove pudding from the oven, stir it, and cool for 15 minutes.
While the pudding cools, beat the heavy cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks.
Fold the rice pudding into the whipped cream.
Serve in a dish, warm or chilled, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Serves 4.

Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) may be served warm or chilled. A sprinkle of cinnamon adds just a hint of spice to complement the lemon peel in the pudding. EPD Photos


Chilean Gingered Shrimp Skillet:

1 pound large, uncooked shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup chopped green onion (white part only)

1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

3/4 cup low sodium chicken bouillon

2 cups seedless Chilean grapes

1 tablespoon silvered preserved ginger (optional)

3 tablespoons minced green onion tops

1 tablespoon minced parsley

Lemon slices for garnish
Shell (leaving tails on, if desired), devein and butterfly shrimp or leave whole. In a large skillet heat oil, onion (white part only), garlic, paprika and ginger over moderate heat, stirring. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice, wine vinegar, chicken bouillon and grapes. Heat to simmering. Remove shrimp and grapes with slotted spoon to heated serving platter. Add onion tops and parsley; taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Pour over shrimp and grapes. Garnish with lemon slice.

Makes 4 servings.

Chile has a wide variety of foods, including seafood, beef, fresh fruit, and vegetables. A traditional Chilean meal is pastel de choclo, a "pie" made with corn, vegetables, chicken, and beef. This dish is usually served with ensalada chilena (Chilean salad).
Ensalada Chilena (Chilean Salad)

* 4 cups onions, finely sliced
* 4 cups peeled tomatoes (may be canned and drained well), finely sliced
* 3 Tablespoons oil
* Lemon juice, to taste
* ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
* Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Place the sliced onions in a bowl.
2. Cover with cold water and let set for 1 hour, then drain the water.
3. Mix onions with the tomatoes on a large platter.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour oil and lemon juice on mixture.
6. Mix and serve with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.

Serves 4.

According to a report by the World Bank, about 5 percent of the total population in Chile is undernourished, a decrease from nearly 15 percent in the early 1980s. A small percentage of children under age five show signs of malnutrition, such as being underweight or short for their age. Protein deficiency among the general population has induced an abnormally high rate of congenital (existing at or before birth) mental disabilities. Between 1994 and 1995, almost everyone had access to safe water and health care services.

One section of Chile's public health care system is called the National System of Health Services. It helps to provide periodic medical care to all children under six years of age not who are not enrolled in alternative medical plans. Through this program, low-income mothers can receive nutritional assistance for their children and for themselves. As a result of this program, the incidence of moderate to severe childhood malnutrition among those receiving assistance has been significantly reduced.


The Lake District
South of Chile's Biobio River begins a land where earth and water play liberally together, producing visions of startling natural beauty. Known as the Lake District, it is a region where azure, mirrored lakes hold the reflections of ice-capped volcanoes, ancient trees and, of course, the indomitable Andes. It is little wonder that the Mapuche Indians fought the Incas and the Spanish back across the Biobio during the 15th and 16th centuries: such a land would be hard to surrender.

There are twelve principal lakes in the district, though dozens more fill the gaps and valleys between the main waters. Many are joined by rivers and streams, which along with the lakes ofter some of Chile's best freshwater fishing. Six volcanoes run through the district from north to south, the highest being Villarica at 2,847 meters. The Lake District is also an ideal embarkation point for Argentina: the region has four passes that lead through the Andes.

Atacama Desert
The coastal Atacama desert is the driest in the world and almost totally barren. The landscape of the moon offers an obvious comparison, except that the Atacama has as its backdrop the towering Andes, which block tropical storms from the Amazon Basin to the east. During the time of El Nino (changes in circulation of the sea surface occurring an average every seven years) there can be torrential rains in some areas of the desert, causing flash floods and sudden, ephemeral bursts of vegetation.

Chile's largest island is endowed with a long coastline, thick forests, an excellent water supply, and numerous small farms. It is steeped in myth and tradition, as well as in perpetual fog.

Though the island lies only a few kilometers off the mainland, it has a curious history of isolation that contributes to its rustic charm. Martin Ruiz de Gamba claimed it for Spain in 1567 and established a small outpost there. When the Mapuche (never shy about disputing territorial decisions made by foreigners) drove the mainland Spanish north of the Rio Biobio in 1598, Chiloe's 200 Spaniards were marooned on the very turf they had claimed.

Throughout the 17th century, only one ship a year visited from Lima, and Dutch pirates attacked the island twice. When a particularly bad earthquake struck in 1646, the settlers had had enough, and they asked the Viceroy in Lima if they could leave. The Viceroy declined the request. Despite such egregious treatment, the colony maintained a kind of warped devotion to Spain, eventually becoming the last supporters of the crown in South America.

Although Chile won its independence from Spain in 1817, after a seven-year war, Chiloe refused to surrender to the mainland until 1826. Before doing so, however, they first asked Britain if the island could become part of its empire. Britain declined the request.

Chile's National Parks
Juan Fernandez Islands: Encountered in 1574 by Juan Fernandez, these three islands sit in the Pacific about 670 kilometers west of Valparaiso. Once a haven for pirates, since 1935 they have been a refuge for unusual flora and fauna, many of which are indigenous only to the area (16 of the 87 classes of plants and 101 of the 140 plant species). The sole indigenous mammal is the Juan Fernandez fur seal, rescued from the brink of extinction in the last century. The Juan Fernandez hummingbird stands out amongst the 11 resident bird species.

Though the islands and some of their animals are named after Fernandez, the most legendary figure associated with them is Alexander Selkirk, the unfortunate and resourceful Scottish castaway who inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Selkirk was marooned on Matasiera (now called Isla Robinson Crusoe) in 1704 and lived alone in a cave for four years before being rescued by two British privateers. Though his hardship and isolation must have been physically and spiritually excruciating, his story has a partially happy
ending—upon his return to England he became a celebrity.

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine: The tall granite pillars of the Torres del Paine, seemingly reaching for the sky above the Patagonian steppe, are just a few of the main attractions of South America's foremost national park. The towers, some of which are over 2,600 meters high, drop abruptly into a valley bursting with sparkling blue lakes,
tumbling creeks and rivers, cascading waterfalls, huge glaciers, impenetrable forests, and copious plant and animal species. Torres del Paine is one of those places on the planet where the hand of nature has been especially creative.

The rich and apparently limitless nature of Parque National Torres del Paine provides an ideal environment for observation and exploration. The 180,000-hectare park has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, protecting the guanaco that graze on the open steppes and the shy Chilean deer. Birds are especially abundant, with 105 species, includingnandues (a type of small ostrich), flamingoes, bandurrias, condors, black-necked swans, eagles, loicas and cachanas. There are also 25 different species of mammals like the famous guanaco (and its cousin the llama), armadillo, fox, and an occasional puma. Budding botanists can see over 200 kinds of plants, including forests of lenga and coigue, which thrive in the microclimate created by the valley's protective walls.

Because of the park's incredible popularity, its natural beauty is especially threatened by human intrusion. Its future literally rests in the hands of its visitors, who are asked to keep to the many high-quality trails and to refrain from taking away with them any natural souvenirs.

Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael: A birthplace of icebergs, Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael is where the northern Patagonian ice sheets falls into the sea in riveting, neon blue glory. The icefield is actually composed of 19 major glaciers, which are slowly being licked away by the area's mild temperature. But not to worry: the ice should be around for a few thousand more years.

Laguna San Rafael is also home to some wonderful wild life. The park's dense forests hide mammals that include pudu, pumas and foxes, while the glacial areas provide an ideal enviroment for Magellanic penguins, albatrosses, otters,
and sea lions.

Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo: The captivating centerpiece of this reserve is the thrilling Cerro Castillo itself: a magnificent, basalt-pinnacled mountain that resembles nothing so much as an enchanted castle. Three brilliant glaciers on the mountain's southern slopes contribute to its mystical appeal. The reserve's 180,000 hectares are also home to some of South America's finest southern beech forests.

Parque Nacional Chiloe: Charles Darwin once passed through some of the regions which later became this densely forested park, and scientists still study its unique flora and fauna today. The park is situated along a stretch of Pacific Coastline where penguins pace idyllic beaches, and its interior teems with sheltering coniferous and evergreen forests. The Chilote fox, pudu, and over a hundred species of birds haunt the coast and woodlands.

Parque Nacional Quelat: Parque Nacional Quelat is a landscape carved and dominated by water. Its thin lakes rest between precipitous mountain walls like hidden precious stones, and white-water rivers boil through the park's canyons and evergreen forests. Quelat has the good fortune of being less frequented than some of Chile's better known parks, though its mainstay, Ventisquero Colgante, or Hanging Glacier, is among Chile's most breathtaking sights.

Parque Nacional Alerce Andino: Mountains as high and mighty as the Andes should naturally be home to equally lofty trees, and Alerce Andino is where you can find them. The park's Fitzroya cupressoides, familiarly called alerce trees, are among Chile's natural treasures—the oldest is estimated to be 4,200 years old. The trees resemble the giant sequoias of California and reach heights of up to 40 meters.

Parque Nacional Vincente Perez Rosales:
Chile's first national park, Vicente Perez Rosales is also one of its most inspiring. It rests in the southern Lake District, where it is bordered on the east by dozens of crystalline lakes and a stretch of the omnipresent Andes. To the north and west lies the rest of the beautiful lake district as well as the volcanic
peaks of Puyehue and Osorno.

One of the park's major features are the emerald waters ofLago Todos los Santos, where visitors can see the magnificent reflection of Osorno Volcano, with its gracefully symmetrical cone. The volcano is ideal for climbing, although an ascent requires serious ice climbing equipment. Guides can be obtained in nearby Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt. During winter the park also has fine skiing.

Valparaiso: With its crowning hills, labyrinthine streets, and wide bay, Valparaiso is perhaps the most elegant city in Chile. It is the country's second largest city, the seat of its parliament, and Chile's most important coastal center. Before the completion of the Panama Canal evaporated its importance in 1914, Valparaiso was South America's most significant Pacific port and a major naval base for the British Empire.

There are two distinct sections to Valparaiso; the modern coastal city that skirts the bay, and the older, more residential neighborhoods that haphazardly cling to the cerros, or hills. Connecting the heights and the shore is the city's most charming and fascinating feature: 16 funicular railways known as ascensores. A ride on one of the ascesores to a hilltop will grace the visitor with a splendid view of the recumbent city below, almost all of which has been constructed during this century. Valparaiso's hills and railways are not the only similarities it bears to California's San Francisco; over the last 90 years, earthquakes have come and gone, one of them completely devastating the city in 1906—the same year as San Francisco's Great Quake.


Country profile: Chile

Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations. It has been relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that have blighted the continent.

The exception was the 17-year rule of General Augusto Pinochet, whose 1973 coup was one of the bloodiest in 20th-century Latin America and whose dictatorship left more than 3,000 people dead and missing.

Overview Facts Leaders Media
Chile is coming to terms with his legacy. Courts stripped him of his immunity from prosecution and the former president was questioned over the killings of dissidents by South American governments in the 1970s and 1980s; he denied links with the campaign until his death in December 2006. AT-A-GLANCE
Politics: President Michelle Bachelet is the fourth consecutive leader from the ruling, centre-left coalition
Economy: Chile has one of Latin America's strongest economies; high world prices for its copper have swollen state coffers
International: Chile is a key regional player, but it has long-running territorial disputes with Peru and Bolivia, the latter over access to the Pacific Ocean


Chile is relatively free of crime and official corruption. The authoritarian Pinochet-era constitution has been revised and the judicial system overhauled.

The country had Latin America's fastest-growing economy in the 1990s and has weathered recent regional economic instability. But it faces the challenges of having to diversify its copper-dependent economy - it is the largest world producer - and of addressing uneven wealth distribution.

Chile's unusual, ribbon-like shape - 4,300 km long and on average 175 km wide - has given it a hugely varied climate.

This ranges from the world's driest desert - the Atacama - in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south, with glaciers, fjords and lakes.

Most Chileans are of mixed Spanish and indigenous descent.

Overview Facts Leaders Media
Full name: Republic of Chile
Population: 16.6 million (UN, 2007)
Capital: Santiago
Area: 756,096 sq km (291,930 sq miles)
Major language: Spanish
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 82 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: Chilean peso
Main exports: Copper, fish, fruit, paper and pulp, chemicals
GNI per capita: US$5,870 (World Bank, 2006)
Internet domain: .cl
International dialling code: +56

Overview Facts Leaders Media

President: Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet took over the reins from Ricardo Lagos in March 2006 after winning run-off elections. She is the country's first woman to be president.
Michelle Bachelet was jailed and tortured by the former military junta

A former health minister, and later defence minister, she is the fourth consecutive president from the Concertacion coalition, which has led Chile since the end of military rule in 1990.

The president has asked her government to give priority to social issues and says she wants to make sure that all Chileans benefit from the country's economic growth. She is expected to maintain her predecessor's free-market policies.

Her political honeymoon came to an end in summer 2006, when hundreds of thousands of students took part in strikes and sometimes-violent protests in pursuit of education reforms.

Michelle Bachelet was politicised by the military coup of September 1973 that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

Her father was a general in the air force who was opposed to the military government and died in prison.

She worked undercover for the Socialist Youth and she was held for weeks with her mother, Angelica, in torture and detention centres before being allowed to flee the country in 1975.

She studied in Germany and trained as a doctor before returning to Chile.

She is separated from her husband, and has three children.

Overview Facts Leaders Media
Chile's national and local terrestrial TV channels operate alongside extensive cable TV networks, which carry many US and international stations.

Radio is an important source of news and information; there are hundreds of stations, most of them commercial.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the media, and this is generally respected by the authorities. The media maintain their independence, criticise the government and cover sensitive issues.

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders noted in 2007 that Chile had a good name for press freedom but added that the police and military "have not lost repressive habits left over from the military dictatorship".

A 2001 press freedom act swept away many of the Pinochet-era restrictions on the media.

The press

El Mercurio - conservative daily
La Tercera - daily
La Nacion - government-owned daily
La Segunda - conservative evening daily
Diario Financiero - business daily
Santiago Times - English-language

National Television of Chile - state-owned but not under direct government control
TV Universidad Catolica de Chile (Canal 13) - owned by Catholic university
Chilevision - private
Megavision - private
Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (UCV) - owned by Catholic university
Red TV - private

Radio Cooperativa - news-based, national, private network
Pudahuel FM - private
Bio Bio La Radio - private network
El Conquistador FM - private network
Radio Horizonte - music-based, private network

Easter Island, Chile's mysterious island


Easter Island has long been the subject of curiosity and speculation. How and why did its inhabitants carve and transport the massive statues which surround the island? What remains of this culture today, and what lessons can we learn from their legacy? This page is a resource for information on the Internet about Easter Island, also known as "Rapa Nui" and "Isla de Pascua".

Easter Island is over 2,000 miles from the nearest population center, (Tahiti and Chile), making it one of the most isolated places on Earth. A triangle of volcanic rock in the South Pacific - it is best known for the giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coastline. The early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Admiral Roggeveen, who came upon the island on Easter Day in 1722, named it Easter Island. Today, the land, people and language are all referred to locally as Rapa Nui.

There has been much controversy and confusion concerning the origins of the Easter Islanders. Thor Heyerdahl proposed that the people who built the statues were of Peruvian descent, due to a similarity between Rapa Nui and Incan stonework. Some have suggested that Easter Island is the remnant of a lost continent, or the result of an extra-terrestrial influence . Archaeological evidence, however, indicates discovery of the island by Polynesians at about 400 AD - led, according to legend, by Hotu Matua. Upon their arrival, an impressive and enigmatic culture began to develop. In addition to the statues, the islanders possessed the Rongorongo script; the only written language in Oceania. The island is also home to many petroglyphs (rock carvings), as well as traditional wood carvings, tapa (barkcloth) crafts, tattooing, string figures, dance and music.

The population of Easter Island reached its peak at perhaps more than 10,000, far exceeding the capabilities of the small island's ecosystem. Resources became scarce, and the once lush palm forests were destroyed - cleared for agriculture and moving the massive stone Moai. In this regard, Easter Island has become, for many, a metaphor for ecological disaster.

Thereafter, a thriving and advanced social order began to decline into bloody civil war and, evidently, cannibalism. Eventually, all of the Moai standing along the coast were torn down by the islanders themselves. All of the statues now erected around the island are the result of recent archaeological efforts.

Contacts with western "civilization" proved even more disastrous for the island population which, through slavery and disease, had decreased to approximately 110 by the turn of the century. Following the annexation by Chile in 1888, however, it has risen to more than 2,000, with other Rapanui living in Chile, Tahiti and North America. Despite a growing Chilean presence, the island's Polynesian identity is still quite strong .

Easter Island today, remains one of the most unique places you will ever encounter; an open air museum showcasing a fascinating, but unfortunately lost, culture. The Rapanui are among the friendliest people you will ever meet, and the landscape is truly amazing - with its volcanic craters, lava formations, beaches, brilliant blue water, and archaeological sites .

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Chile's Armed Forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the President through the Minister of Defense. The President has the authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces.

The commander in chief of the Chilean Army is General Oscar Izurieta Ferrer. The Chilean Army is 45,000 strong and is organized with an Army headquarters in Santiago, seven divisions throughout its territory, an Air Brigade in Rancagua, and a Special Forces Command in Colina. The Chilean Army is one of the most professional and technologically advanced armies in Latin America.

Admiral Rodolfo Codina directs the 23,000-person Navy, including 2,500 Marines. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only eight are operational major combatants (frigates). Those ships are based in Valparaiso. The Navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no Navy fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates four submarines based in Talcahuano.

Air Force (FACH)
Gen. Ricardo Ortega Perrier heads a force of 12,500. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica. The FACH took delivery of the final 2 of 10 F-16s, all purchased from the U.S., in March 2007. Chile also took delivery in 2007 of a number of reconditioned Block 15 F-16s from the Netherlands, bringing to 18 the total of F-16s purchased from the Dutch.

After the military coup in September 1973, the Chilean national police (Carabineros) were incorporated into the Defense Ministry. With the return of democratic government, the police were placed under the operational control of the Interior Ministry but remained under the nominal control of the Defense Ministry. Gen. Jose Bernales is the head of the national police force of 30,000 men and women who are responsible for law enforcement, traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-terrorism throughout Chile.

Dance and music
The national dance is the cueca (short for zamacueca) and first appeared in 1824. Another form of traditional Chilean song, though not a dance, is the tonada. Arising from music imported by the Spanish colonists, it is distinguished from the cueca by an intermediate melodic section and a more prominent melody. In the mid-1960s native musical forms were revitalized by the Parra family with the Nueva Canción Chilena, which became associated with political activism and reformers like Chilean socialist Salvador Allende and his Popular Unity government. Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara, Los Jaivas, Inti-Illimani, Illapu and Quilapayún are performers of this music. During the military rule in the 1970s, all forms of public expression contrary to the junta were repressed, and protest songs, which were played and circulated in a clandestine manner. In the late 1980s and after the return of democracy in the 1990s, new musical bands like La Ley, Los Tres and Los Prisioneros, began to appear. (See Music of Chile.)
Poetry and Literature
Chileans call their country País de Poetas ("land of poets"). The country has produced two Nobel Literature laureates: Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. Other major poets include: Pedro Prado, Vicente Huidobro, Pablo de Rokha, Juvencio Valle, Rosamel del Valle, Maximiliano Ilich Prieto, Gonzalo Rojas, Jorge Teillier, Enrique Lihn and Nicanor Parra. The major novelist and short story writer of the 20th century was probably Manuel Rojas, although not as well known outside of the country. Isabel Allende, another novelist, has achieved worldwide success with her stories of magic realism in Latin America, probably reaching a larger audience than any other Chilean prose writer. Jorge Edwards, José Donoso and Roberto Bolaño are also notable novelists.
Local film production in Chile is small, although it has been growing lately. Important filmmakers include: Raúl Ruiz (Palomita blanca), Miguel Littin (El chacal de Nahueltoro), Silvio Caiozzi (Julio comienza en julio), Ricardo Larraín (La frontera), Andrés Wood (Machuca), Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marcelo Ferrari ("Sub Terra").


Tourist Info
A long country stretching for 4,500kms, passing through the heated tropic of Capricorn in the north down to the freezing Antartica in its far south. Containing arid deserts in its north, fertile valleys in its middle, raging rivers, fiords, forests in its south and snow-capped volcanoes almost everywhere. A narrow country with an average width of 190kms., the Andes mountains on its eastern side and the Pacific Ocean on its western side. The climate is hot and dry north of Santiago (the capital city), Mediterranean in the central zone and temparate in its southern zone.
It is an incredible country to explore if you like geography, wilderness and seeing nature at its most beautiful and most awesome. It has a modern infrastructure, developed cities and friendly people.

Santiago de Chile, Capital City of Chile

Santiago de Chile has developed into a modern-day capital city, offering the visitor many entertainment options and some interesting historical sites. It can be divided into three principal areas for the visitor: Downtown, offering a chance to see historical buildings and museums; Providencia, a redeveloped up-market suburb that is full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs and Las Condes with modern office buildings, plush apartments and fancy restaurants and bars. There is a modern, clean and safe metro system that runs three lines. The principal line, Line 1, runs through the middle of the the Downtown area and all the way east passing through Providencia and terminating in Las Condes. For the visitor, the metro Line 1 should be all you need in order to get around. Alternatively, taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive.

Location & Climate
Surrounded by the Andes mountains to the east and the coastal mountains to the west, Santiago sits in a bowl at an altitude of 543mts in the downtown area rising up to 800mts in the eastern up-market suburbs. One of the positive aspects to Santiago is the favourable Mediterranean climate (average summer day time temperature is 30°C), with long, hot summers running November to March. Rain, when it comes, is usually in June, July and August, meaning snow in the mountains and therefore skiing. Today, Santiago is the fifth largest city in South America, home to over 5 million people and the central base for 50% of the county's manufacturing industry.

Be Sensible
Santiago is a relatively safe city, however, if you are a foreigner and are off your guard you could be a target for a thief.
Be sensible and do not walk around with a big camera around your neck, a bulging wallet that can be seen and watch where you put your coat and bag in open-air restaurants.

Suburbs and Hot Spots
The main commercial action (international offices, restaurants, modern apartments) in Santiago is spread in a linear development that runs west to east, from the Downtown area towards the Andes mountains to the Las Condes suburb. The metro system is clean and efficient comprising three lines. The only line that most visitors ever need is line 1, the principal line running from Las Condes, through Providencia and Downtown. Within the linear development everywhere is easy to get to and not far away by taxi or metro.

Principal Places of Interest in Santiago

Government offices, central train station, principal bus stations, museums and company back offices. Principal Metro Stops: Universidad de Chile, Santa Lucia, Universidad Catolica and Baquedano.

Museo de Arte Precolombino
Bandera 361 corner with Compañia, Downtown. Tel: 688 7348 Metro Line 5: Plaza de Armas.
Closed Monday. Tue to Fri 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs. Sat, Sun and Holidays
10:00hrs to 14:00hrs.
A well arranged museum that chronicals over 4,000 years of pre-Columbian

Museo Colonial de San Francisco
Alameda 834, Downtown.
Metro Line 1: Universidad de Chile, southern exit.
Located along the side of the San Francisco church (dating back to 1618 having survived all the earthquakes, entrance is by the church). Colonial building displaying numerous artefacts and an attractive central garden.

Museo de Bellas Artes
Parque Forestal, Downtown.
Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia, northern exit.
Santiago's fine arts museum, displaying permanent collections of French, Italian, Dutch and Chilean paintings and often hosting very interesting visiting exhibits.

Museo Arqueologico de Santiago
Lastarria 321, Downtown.
Metro Line 1: Universidad Catolica.
Set amid an historical small neighborhood, with interesting cafes and art galleries, this museum offers a number of exhibits from the indigeneous peoples of Chile.

Palacio de la Moneda (Presidential Palace)
Located between streets Morande and Teatinos in the centre of Downown. Metro Line 1: La Moneda.
The largest colonial building constructed by the Spanish during the 18th century. Originally the Royal Mint and now the seat of the President of Chile. Bombed in 1973 by the Chilean Airforce during a military coup led by General Agusto Pinochet. Recently renovated, the Palace interior courtyards are open to the public during the day.

Cerro Santa Lucia (Original City Fort)
Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia.
Originally named Huelén by the natives and renamed Santa Lucia by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia on 13 December 1540 when he founded the first settlement at the foot of the hill, later to be named Santiago in 1541. It was Marco du Pont who, during the retaking of Santiago between 1814 to 1817 after an uprising by the natives, converted the hill into a serious defence fort. In 1872 an effort began to transform the fort into an important public place of interest by enlisting 150 jailed prisioners who worked to exhustion to complete the first part in 1872. The porch and staircase were completed in 1903. This is a great place to visit if you want an impressive view of the immediate downtown area and to enjoy relative quiet within the park that surrounds the fort.

Teatro Municipal
Agustinas corner with San Antonio, Downtown.
Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia.
Opera and Ballet March to December. Tel: 633 2549.

Bario Paris-Londres (Historic Area)
Metro Line 1: Universidad de Chile, southern exit.
A small, historic area located behind, but close to the San Francisco church. Narrow streets and interesting architecture.

Mercado Central (Food Market & Restaurants)
I. Valdés Vergara 900, Downtown.
Metro Line 2: Cal y Canto
The building was construted between 1868 and 1872 with sections pre-fabricated in England, designed by Fermin Vivaceta for the purpose of exhibiting works of art but it quickly became used as a market. Today the market is still active and it is an interesting place to eat. A number of restaurants that specialize in fish dishes surround the principal hall where one can eat and admire the fish, meat and vegetables on display amid the flurry of market activity.

Palacio Cousiño (Colonial Home)
Dieciocho 438, Downtown.
Taxi needed or a good walk from Metro Line 1: Los Heroes.
An elaborate 19th-century mansion dating back to 1871. Built by the Cousiño family from wealth accumulated from coal and silver mining. Well preserved images from an elite life. Open: Tues - Sun: 09:30hrs - 12:30hrs. 14:30hrs -16:00hrs. Tel: 698 5063


Modern offices, shops, restaurants and bars. Principal Metro Stops: Los Leones, Pedro de Valdivia and Tobalaba.

Night Life

Barrio Bellavista
Located on the other side of the Mapocho river a short walk from Baquedano metro station and at the foot of the San Cristobal hill. Known primarily as the Bohemian district, Bellavista (Beautiful View) comes to life at night and offers the visitor numerous restaurants and bars to dine and drink at.

Suecia and General Holley
Located in the heart of Providencia. Nearest Metro Los Leones. An area of bars with live music and some restaurants.

Day Time

Museo Neruda La Chascona
One of the houses where Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda once lived. Located in a short street just off the main Pio Nono road. Tel: 737 8712 for tours. Nearest Metro: Baquedano

Cerro San Cristobal
The hill on top of which is a staue of the Virgin Mary. Access is from metro stop Baquedano, on foot to the end of the street Pio-Nono which runs through Barrio Bellavista and then up to the funicular railway (Mon 13:00hrs to 20:30hrs; Tue to Sun 10:30hrs to 20:00hrs) or to the northern end of the street Pedro de Valdivia and onto the teleferic cable car (Mon to Fri 14:30hrs to 20:00hrs;Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 10:30hrs to 20:00hrs).

The highest point is at 880mts. The Virgin Mary statue, seen from almost every point in the city was sculptured by Frenchman Jaconetti out of metal and given to Chile by France in 1908. The entire hill or cerro comprises the Parque Metropolitana, covering 712 hectares which makes it one of the largest parks in the world. Getting to the top will enable the visitor to enjoy a panoramic view over Santiago and incredible unspoilt views of the Andes on one side and the Precordillera Mountains on the other. There are restaurants and cafes at the top as well as two swimming pools. Cyclists and hikers as well as those who like the funicular railway or teleferic cable car enjoy the park to its full. One suggestion is to go up on the funicular railway and down on the teleferic cable car.

Shopping and Restaurants
Metro: Pedro de Valdivia and Los Leones
Specifically around the streets Suecia and General Holley (north exit Los Leones metro) are numerous bars and restaurants. Los Leones, south exit will lead you into a principal department store and close by are other shops and a mall.

Las Condes

Very upmarket, new offices, shopping malls, good restaurants and bars. Principal Metro Stops: El Golf, Alcantara and Escuela Militar (end of the line).

Night Life

Barrio El Golf
Metro: Tobalaba or El Golf north exits
Now a very up-market business and commercial zone, host to numerous good restaurants and bars along the El Bosque Norte and Isidora Goyenechea streets.

Day Time

Two modern shopping malls dominate Las Condes and these are Parque Arauco and Alto las Condes. Both are spacious, clean and new, offering the visitor plenty of choice and well known brand products. Both are located along Avda.
Kennedy and are know by all taxi drivers.

Artesanal Shopping
There are three good places to buy typical Chilean handy craft products and these are Los Dominicos, Vitacura and Apumanque. Los Dominicos is located behind a church of the same name and offers the visitor a chance to wander around a colonial setting whilst looking at what to buy. Vitacura, loated along the street called Vitacura and Apumanque, located behind the shopping mall called Apumanque offer great products from a number of stores.

Avda. Vitacura

Night Life
Within the Vitacura suburb the Avenida Vitacura runs near to the Mapocho river and is home to many new restaurants. Another good spot is Borde Rio, located on Monsenor Escriva de Balaguer 6,400, beside the Mapocho river. Great place for evening drinks and meals during the summer.


City public transport is in abundance. Buses are driven by maniac drivers but are cheap and will get you to most places. Taxis vary between the good level with good driver to less-than-reliable with questionable drivers. In Santiago, the metro is excellent, clean, reliable and cheap.

Inter-city public transport is usually very good. For long journeys the buses offer executive class comfort and on-board services.

Santiago Prinicipal Intercity Bus Stations are:
For North & South:Terminal de Buses Santiago, Metro Universidad de Santiago (Southern Exit).
For Vina del Mar/Valpariso: Terminal de Buses Alameda, Metro Universidad de Santiago (Southern Exit).
For North & South:Terminal de Buses San Borja, Metro Estacion Central (Southern Exit).

Communications & Roads

Modern telephone communications are excellent throughout the country. The road network is simple with one principal highway running north to south (known as the Panamericana or Ruta 5) and these days most other paved roads are in good condition. There are numerous road connections that are still dirt tracks and visitors wishing to explore would be advised to rent an off-road vehicle to do so.

Chilean Food

Typical Chilean Dishes and Foods
The Empanada: A pastry filled with either mince meat, onion and an olive or cheese or shell fish.
Parrillada: Various meats cooked on a charcoaled grill.
Pastel del Choclo: Sweetcorn with mince meat, an egg, onion, an olive and a
cream of corn topping.
Casuela: A stew of chicken or meat with potato, pumpkin and vegetables.
Humitas: Sweet corn with spices wrapped in corn leaves and steam cooked.

Fruit Native to Chile
Chirimoya (Custard Apple)
Tuna (Prickly Pear)
Melon Calameño

Fish: Pescados
Albacora: Similar to Swordfish.
Bacalao: Cod
Calamar: Squid
Congrio: Eel-like fish but not eel.
Corvina: Similar to Bass
Jurel: Mackerel
Lenguado: Sole
Reineta: Very Nice White Fish!
Salmon: Salmon

Shell Fish: Mariscos
Almejas: Clams
Centolla: King Crab
Choros: Mussels
Erizos: Sea Urchin
Gambas: Shrimps
Jaiva: Crab
Langosta: Lobster
Locos: Abalone
Machas: Razor Clam
Ostras: Oysters

Beef: Carne
Filete: Fillet
Lomo Liso: T-Bone
Posta Rosada: Sirloin

Pork: Cerdo
Jamón: Ham
Lomo: Loin
Tocino: Bacon
Chuleta: Chop
Pernil: Leg
Costilla: Ribs

Lamb: Cordero
Pierna: Leg
Lomo: Loin
Costilla: Rack of Lamb

Aves: Poultry
Pollo: Chicken
Ganso: Goose
Pato: Duck
Pavo: Turkey

Verduras: Vegetables
Palta: Avocado
Pepino: Cucumber
Cebolla: Onion
Arroz: Rice
Ensalada: Salad
Tomate: Tomato
Lechuga: Lettuce

Postre: Desert
Flan: Blancmange
Manjar: Sweet Caramel Spread

Typical Spirit Drinks

Pisco Sour: Pisco, a grape brandy, with lemon juice, sugar and the white of an egg.
Piscola: Pisco with coca cola.

Viña del Mar

Vina del Mar is Chile's principal sea side city located to the west of Santiago, offering beaches, night life and a casino. In the summer months it is very popular and consequently packed with holiday makers including many Argentinians who come over from Mendoza.

La Serena/Elqui Valley

La Serena is a popular summer beach destination from Chileans and Argentinians. It boasts an impressive sandy bay, good bathing and many attractions including a casino. The city itself is not noted for any notable charm but it does offer a mock colonial flavour in some quarters.

About an hour north of La Serena, at a place called Punta de Los Choros where you can hire a simple fishing boat, with captain, and see the dolphins, sea lions, penguins and birds that live on and around the nearby islands. The sea tour takes about two to three hours. Hat and sun cream essential and we recommend that you take your own beverages and sandwiches as well as warm clothing as it can be chilly out at sea.

Observatory La Silla
Located about 150kms. north-east of La Serena at 2,240mts. Open the first Saturday of the month 14:30hrs. - 17:30hrs. Advance registration ESSENTIAL.
Tel: SANTIAGO 228 5006 or 698 8757.

The Elqui Valley
A fertile valley running inland from La Serena. The greeness of the valley contrasts vividly against the barren, brown sides of the mountains. In the heart of the Elqui Valley is Vicuna, the birth place of Chile's Nobel Prize winning poet Gabriel Mistral. The most interesting place to visit is the tiny village of Pisco Elqui, located deep in the moutains about an hour south-east of Vicuna. Pisco Elqui is a tiny Andean village offering general peace and a slow way of life and is popular with hippies and travellers. An ideal place to relax, see the clear night sky and visit the old pisco distillery.

Observatory El Tololo
Located at a high point of 2,200mts. South west of Vicuna (approx 45kms) is the El Tololo Observatory. Visits are permitted but ONLY with prior notification and with a permit. Open: 09:00hrs - 12.00hrs and 13:00hrs - 16:00hrs. Tel: (51) 225 415

San Pedro de Atacama

Nearest Airport: Calama
Located in the heart of the Atacama Desert, San Pedro de Atacama is 1,667kms. north of Santiago and lies at 2,438mts. above sea level. It is a tiny, dusty, oasis village that serves as a base from where to explore the outstanding natural geographic beauty of the area. The village is a simple place with buildings constructed from adobe and other natural materials. It is a popular destination for seeking an adventure and to be impressed by the wonder of nature, but who do not expect five-star comfort, although one hotel Explora does offer the luxury seeker just that. There are a number of bars and innovative restaurants where visitors can unwind in the evenings.

A number of local travel agencies offer guided tours throughout the area.
The majority of accommodation options range from basic bed and breakfast to mid-level. We would recommend that you ask us to make your hotel and tour reservations. If you rent a car and do your own thing beware, take extra water, warm clothes and check that the car does have a spare wheel, jack and that you know how to use it. People do break down, run out of water and get cold. You are in a desert a long way from help.

The main areas to explore from San Pedro are:

El Tatio Geysers
Located at 4,321mts. above sea level, in the heart of the Andes Mountains 210kms. from San Pedro. The drive from San Pedro takes about three hours and departure is usually at 04:00hrs., in order to arrive for the dawn spectacle of the geysers bubbling into the air. The incredibly clear night sky, the natural phenomena of naturally produced hot water that can boil an egg and the opportunity to bathe in natural thermal springs high up in the Andes is what it's all about. WARNING: people have fallen through the hard crust that surrounds the geysers and consequently been scalded. In some cases people have died. Although most people wander all over the site, you would be well advised to not get too close.

A truly remarkable Andean village known for its simplicity, inca architecture and terraced farming methods. Located in a canyon, the people and way of life appear to be as it was thousands of years ago. For some, a visit to this village feels intrusive. Great care should be taken to respect the inhabitants and their way of life.

Miscanti and Meñique Lagoons
Located 290kms. from San Pedro and at 4,500mts. above sea level in the heart of the Andes Mountains. These two lagoons are ajacent to each other and radiate a vivid green colour. Dwarfed by two volcanoes, they offer a haven for birds and a opportunity for man to stare in awe.

Tocanao Village and Salt Flat
Tocanao vilage is located 45klms. south of San Pedro and sits on the edge of a vast salt flat which is home to pink flamingoes. The geographic landscape that surrounds the village is formidable. The village itself has a charming central plaza but not much else. The salt flat is impressive in terms of its size and the heat which constantly evaporates any moisture in the ground.

Archaeological Tours and Museum
San Pedro is home to a fine museum that houses artefacts and mummies dating back thousands of years and is well worth a visit. If you are interested in the archaeology of the area the villages of Quitor and Tulor should be of interest.

Valley of the Moon
A popular tour for practically all visitors to San Pedro is the "Lunar Valley", called so because of its resemblance to the surface of the moon. It is about 15kms. from San Pedro.

Other Activities
There are many other places to see and things to do such as horse riding and a visit to the world's largest open-cast copper mine "Chuquicamata" just outside Calama.

Torres del Paine National Park

Nearest City with Airport: Punta Arenas
Location: 6 hours drive north from Punta Arenas. Nearest city is Puerto Natales, 3hrs drive.
Accommodation: Hosteria Las Torres, Hosteria Mirador del Payne, Hosteria Lago Grey, Hosteria Lago Tyndall, Explora Patagonia (luxury level).
What to See: Covering 182,000 hectares, this is the park everyone wants to see. Containing the very impressive "Cuernos del Paine" (two upright towers of rock) along with many lakes, glaciers, flora and fauna. All lodges offer guides and walking treks, as well as horse riding and other excursions.True Patagonian country. Note that the weather in the park changes in minutes. It is usually windy and often raining.

San Rafael Glacier

Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael
Nearest City with Airport: Coyhaique.
Location: South-west of Coyhaique. 5 hrs. by catamaran from Puerto Aisen or few days by boat from Puerto Montt. To fly over is 1hr 30mins by light aircraft from Coyhaique.
Accommodation Coyhaique: Hotel Coyhaique.
What to See: The park covers an area of 1,742,000 hectares and includes the Glacier San Rafael which, as it slowly receeds, breaks off into huge icebergs that float in the San Rafael Lagoon. The size of the glacial wall and the massive chunks that break off draws travellers from all over the world.
Departures are from Puerto Montt or the closer port of Chacabuco (near to Coyhaique, which is accessable by plane). All boats pass between the archipelago channels and passengers can enjoy a beautiful scenic journey going to and returning from the glacier.

Boat/Cruise Options
Day Trip (By catamaran) Iceberg Expedicion
Day Trip (By catamaran) Patagonia Connection
3-Day Trip Skorpios Best Level
3-Day Trip Skorpios Mid Level
3-Day Trip Skorpios Simple Level

Chilean Patagonia

Nearest Airports: Puerto Montt or Coyhaique
Chilean Patagonia is one of the world's last undeveloped frontiers. It boasts ancient rain forrest, hanging glaciers, lakes, massive meandering rivers, spectacular fishing, hiking and a chance to see what the world could be like if man had not destroyed so much of it. Options to explore Chilean Patagonia are to drive along the road that follows its length starting at Puerto Montt and ending at Chile Chico, a distance of some 800kms., or doing the reverse. Alternatively you can fly into Coyhaique and use that as a base or start point to go either north towards Chaiten or south towards Chile Chico.

Pucón/ Villarrica

Nearest Airport: Temuco
Located: 790kms. south of Santiago and 112kms. from Temuco, these two towns straddle Lake Villarrica and are dwarfed by the active, snow-capped Vilarrica Volcano. Effectively the start of the Chilean Lake Region and the place where Chileans go for summer break. The area is spectacular in scenery and offers numerous activities that include white water rafting, hot springs, climbs to the top of the volcano, hikes into the national park on the side of Villarrica Volcano, skiing in winter, fishing, boating and plain relaxing. Pucón village is the most developed and offers a number of bars and restaurants whereas Villarrrica has managed to withstand the trend to go full-on commercial and is less popular.

Easter Island

Parque Nacional Rapa Nui
Nearest City with Airport: Easter Island.
Location: In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,700klms. west of Chile.
Accommodation: Hosteria Hanga Roa
What to See: A tiny island of only 24kms. in diameter, known as the 'belly button" of the world. The park comprises half the island covering 7,130 hectares and is home to over 600 Moai statues and two sandy beaches. A great place to relax and marvel at how the great Moais were carved. Access is only by air with Lan Chile airlines who fly from Santiago twice a week.

Robinson Crusoe Island

Parque Nacional Archipielago Juan Fernandez
Nearest City with Airport: Santiago.
Location: About 667kms. east of Valparaiso, Chile in the Pacific Ocean.
What to See: Comprising three relatively undisturbed volcanic islands Santa Clara, Alejandro Selkirk and Robinson Crusoe covering 9,571 hectares, declared a UN World Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and the place that inspired the Defoe novel "Robinson Crusoe" when the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was dumped here in 1704. The simple village of San Juan Bautista is the only settlement. The islands are an ideal place to completely relax, seal spot, enjoy lobster, some diving, boat trips and a tour to the cave where Alexander Selkirk lived from 1704 to 1709.

Access is by air fom Santiago (5hrs including boat transfer upon arrival) or ship from Vaparaiso (25 to 72 hrs depending on the type of ship). There are two companies offering flights with accommodation included: LASSA and Transportes Aéreos Robinson Crusoe who depart from Aeropuerto Tobalaba in Santigo two or three times a week depending on demand. Flight time is approximately three hours followed by a boat transfer of about two hours.

National Parks

Chile has 79 stunning National Parks and Reserves with outstanding natural geographic features and/or amazing flora and fauna. There are 31 National Parks and 48 National Reserves covering an area of 14 million hectares or 19% of Chile's land mass.

The definition or category of National Park means that the area within and all life within are protected and cannot be used for any economical purpose. However, a National Reserve category means that limited and authorized economic activity can occur within a controlled environment.

What follows is a BRIEF detail about the more popular and accesable National Parks. We recommend that you travel in a good, four wheel drive vehicle, take extra water, clothes and let someone know where you are going.

Northern Chile

Parque Nacional Lauca
Nearest City with Airport: Arica.
Location: Near Putre in the Parinacota Province. Covering 138,000 hectares.
Accommodation: In Arica: Hotel Arica / Hotel El Paso In Putre: Hosteria La Vicuña
What to See: Contains a third of all the bird life in Chile. Extremely high (4,500mts), this IS the Altiplano. Snow covered volcanoes Parinacota (6,342mts), Pomerape (6,282mts), Guallarite (6,060mts) and Acotango (6,050mts) make for an impressive sky line. The park is rather stark but contains the Chungara Lake and Altiplano plants and animals. The park admin is located at Putre, a small village about 46kms from the park itself. Open: 09:00hrs - 12:30hrs and 13:00hrs - 17:30hrs. Visitors should consider travelling from Arica to Putre (146kms) and overnight in Putre. Note that the high altitude will make relaxing difficult and overnight sleeping can be interupted by sudden gasping for breath (normal at such altitude).

Parque Nacional Volcan Isluga
Nearest City with Airport: Iquique
Location: About 228kms. north-east of Iquique.
Accommodation in Iquique: Hotel Terrado / Hotel Prat / Hotel Gavina
What to See: Covering an area of almost 175.000 hectares, the park is located at an altitude of 2,100mts rising up to 5,400mts. Park administration is located at Enquelga, a small village 228kms east of Iquique and 10klms from the park entrance. A short distance from the park entrance are hot springs and within the park are various types of vegetation, flamingoes and other birds.

Parque Nacional Llullaillaco
Nearest City with Airport: Antofagasta
Location: About 275kms. south-east of Antofagasta.
Accommodation in Antofagasta: Hotel Antofagasta / Hotel Holiday Inn
What to See: Covering an area of 268,000 hectares and containing the Llullaillaco Volcano, the second highest peak in Chile at 6,739mts.. Administartion for the park is located in Antofagasta at Avda. Argentina 2510. Tel: (55) 251 364. Many Guanacos and Vicunas, good for climbers.

El Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar
Nearest City with Airport: La Serena or Copiapo.
Location: On the coast just north of Chañaral
Accommodation: In Copiapo: Hotel Diego de Almeida Bahia Inglesa: Apart Hotel Rocas de Bahia In Chañaral: Hosteria de Chañaral
What to See: This park covers 44,000 hectares. Access to the park is off the Panamericana Ruta 5 heading north, just past the port of Chañaral or at km 1014 in the sector of Las Bombas. Both turn-offs head west in the direction of the Pacific Ocean. Distances from: La Serena 527 kms., Copiapó 194 klms., Chañaral 30 kms., Caldera 100 kms. The park contains a small island which is home to Humbolt Penguins and Sea Lions and can be seen by taking a small fishing boat to the island. Beautiful sandy beaches and amazing desert scenery in general. Good for camping and limited cabaña accommodation.

Parque Nacional Bosque de Fray Jorge
Nearest City with Airport: La Serena
Location: 110kms. south of La Serena, on the coast.
Accommodation in La Serena: Hotel Francisco de Aguirre / Hotel La Serena Plaza
What to See: Covering almost 10,000 hectares, this coastal park is known for its micro climate that enables a wood and other flora to thrive in an otherwise arid region. Access is from the Panamericana Ruta 5, north at km 389 and 27kms west following a dirt track. Only OPEN during weekends and public holidays. Take a coat as it can be quite cool within the park.

Central Chile

Parque Nacional La Campana
Nearest City with Airport: Santiago.
Location: 160kms. north-west of Santiago, near to Quillota.
What to See: Covering 8,000 hectares the park boasts varied vegetation and thousands of Chilean palm trees dating back 800 years and more. When Charles Darwin ventured to Chile in 1836 he climbed to the summit of the park, El Roble, located at 2,200m. There are three ways to enter the park, the best entrance is off of the Panamericana Ruta 5 just by Ocoa 14kms from the park.
Distances: Santiago:160kms, Valparaiso:60kms, Quillota:29kms.

Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja
Nearest City with Airport: Concepción.
Location: About 93kms. east of Los Angeles in the Andean foothills.
Accommodation in Concepción: Best Western Alborada / Club Presidente / Holiday Inn Express
What to See: Covering an area of 11,880 hectares. Access is by road from Los Angeles towards Antuco and Laguna de Laja. Camping sites are available. The park is good for volanic geographical rock formations, the source of the river Laja and flora and fauna. A few cabañas are available for over night accommodation.
Distances: Los Angeles: 93kms. Antuco: 30kms. Abanico: 10kms.

Lake Region of Chile

Parque Nacional Villarrica
Nearest City with Airport: Temuco.
Location: About 120kms. west of Temuco and 5kms. east of Pucón.
Accommodation in Pucón: Cabanas Monteverde / Apart Hotel Kernayel / Gran Hotel Pucón / Hotel Antumalal
What to See: The park covers an area of 63,000 hectares and includes the active, snow-covered Villarrica Volcano that rises to a height of 2,847mts. and forests that include the famous Araucarias trees (Monkey Puzzel Tree). In Pucón are a number of adventure companies offering daily climbs to the volano summit, rafting, horse riding, fishing and other outdoor activities.

Parque Nacional Puyehue
Nearest City with Airport: Osorno.
Location: About 80kms. east of Osorno, in the Andes foothills.
Accommodation: Hotel Termas de Puyehue
What to See: Covering an area of 107,000 hectares, the park is heavily forested with trees native to Chile. An area of outstanding natural beauty, similar in geographic appearance to the Swiss Alps with lakes and snow-capped mountains.

Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales
Nearest City with Airport: Puerto Montt.
Location: About 90kms. north-east of Puerto Montt.
Accommodation: In Puerto Montt: Hotel Viento Sur / Apart Hotel Club Presidente / Hotel O'Grimm
In Frutillar: Hotel Volcán Puntiagudo / Hotel Salzburg In Puerto Varas: Hotel Bellavista / Hotel Colonos de Sur
What to See: Covering an area of 231,000 hectares, the park encmpasses the Todos Los Santos Lake which is emerald green in colour, the impressive and powerful water falls "Saltos del Petrohue". A truly stunning area also containing the perfectly conical Osorno Volcano. Within the park is Petrohue (Hotel Petrohue), the embarkation point for trips (Cruce de Lagos) across the lake to Peulla (Hotel Peulla) and on to Bariloche in Argentina.

Parque Nacional Alerce Andino
Nearest City with Airport: Puerto Montt.
Location: About 50kms. south-east of Puerto Montt. Access via the unpaved Carretera Austral.
Accommodation: In Puerto Montt: Hotel Viento Sur / Apart Hotel Club Presidente / Hotel O'Grimm
In The Park: Alerce Mountain Lodge
What to See: Covering 40,000 hectares, a heavily forested area with numerous waterfalls and natural wilderness.

Chiloe Island

Parque Nacional Chiloé
Nearest City with Airport: Puerto Montt.
Location: On the western coast of Chiloe about 40kms. west of Castro.
Accommodation in Ancud: Hotel Galeón Azul / Hosteria de Ancud In Castro: Hotel Unicornio Azul / Hosteria de Castro.
What to See: Divided in to three sectors covering 43,000 hectares. A totally unspoilt area full of woods.

Chilean Patagonia

Reserva Nacional Rio Simpson
Nearest City with Airport: Coyhaique
Location: About 50kms. east of Coyhaique.
Accommodation in Coyhaique: Hotel Coyhaique
What to See: Covering 42,000 hectares, the park is known for its many waterfalls and Patagonian wilderness.
Distances: Coyhaique to Puerto Aysén: 67 kms. Coyahique to Reserva Nacional: 37 kms.
Coyhaique to sector cerro Huemules: 15 kms. Puerto Chacabuco to Puerto Aysén: 14 kms.
Puerto Aysón to Reserva Nacional: 32 kms.

Chilean Patagonia Carretera Austral

Parque Nacional Queulat
Nearest City with Airport: Chaiten (light aircraft) Coyhaique for jet aircraft.
Location: About 196kms south of Chaiten and 177kms. north of Coyhaique.
Accommodation in Chaiten: Hotel Mi Casa In La Junta: Hotel Espacio y Tiempo In Pangue: Cabañas El Pangue
What to See: An area of absolute outstanding natural beauty. A place where the world is still under construction. Waterfalls, hanging glaciers, rain forests, lagons, rivers and all types of flora and fauna. Recommended Accommodation: Termas de Puyuhuapi.


The sun in central and northern Chile is VERY strong in the summer months.
High factor sun protection cream is essential and the wearing of a hat would be very sensible.


The Pacific Ocean that laps the coastline of Chile, although very inviting during the summer months is also a COLD sea due to the Humbolt current that runs up the coast all the way from the southern Antartic Ocean. Currents are also know to be very strong so beware when bathing.


Typical items to buy in Chile are: Lapis Lazuli, a blue stone very popular in jewelry. Pewter, many original items are made out of this metal. Alpaca Knitwear, soft woolen sweaters.

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