Country Information Chile

Location
  Chile borders on Peru in the North, on Bolivia and Argentina in the East and on the Pacific Ocean in the West as well as in the South. The coastline is 4200 km long, whereas the country is only 180 km wide in the average (total surface 750.000 km2). The following islands situated in the Pacific Ocean are also a part of Chile: Isla de Pascua (Easter Island), Juan-Fernandez islands, Desaventuradas islands, Sala and Gomez.
Population
  Approx. 16.9 million
Capital
  Santiago de Chile, population 6 mio.
Politics & Economy
  Chile is a presidential republic. The country is one of the leading industry nations and one of the leading producers of raw materials within Latin America. Chile disposes of the biggest copper deposits of the world; moreover it extracts oil and gas. Chilean wines are well-known worldwide. In Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia the breeding of sheep is widespread and besides the country has one of the biggest fishing industries of South America.
Currency
  Chilean Peso (chil$)
Language
  Spanish
Time Difference
  -4 hours GMT / Easter Island: -6 hours GMT
Voltage
  220 alternating voltage, it is recommendable to bring a multi-adapter
Public Holidays
  1. January, Good Friday, 1. and 21. and 30. May, 29. June, 15. August, 11. and 18. and 19. September, 12. October, 1. November, 8. and 25. December
Opening hours
  Most of the shops open from 9:00 to 20:00h, bigger shopping centres and malls are often opened during the weekends until 21:00h or 22:0h. Banks are generally opened from 9:00h to 14:00h. Siesta is held between 14:00 to 16:00h.
Climate
  Summer lasts from October to March, winter from June to August. The country has quite different climatic zones in consequence of its length – from the desert regions in the North to the very cold zones in the South temperatures decrease steadily. In the centre of the country and in Santiago it is rather temperate during the whole year, whereas you have long winters and cool summers in the South. The North is warm and dry.
Best time to travel
  High season are the Chilean holiday months from December till February. Best travel time to the South is from October till April and in the North one can travel year-round.
Clothing
  Chileans pay special attention to the way they dress, which is quite formally, above all when going out to shows or restaurants. Generally, tourists you should be prepared for the different climatic zones – besides light summer clothes you should bring regular outdoor wear like warm pullover and waterproof jacket.
Tourist Destinations
 
Santiago
capital with European atmosphere
Valparaíso
picturesque city on the hills with elevators, biggest port of Chile
Atacama desert
most arid desert in the world, salt lake, geysers
Puerto Varas
lakeland district, volcano Osorno
Punta Arenas
city at the end of the world, at the Magellan street 
Torres del Paine
most beautiful national park of Patagonia
Flora & Fauna
  Corresponding to the large extension of the country, you have many different vegetation zones within Chile. From desert and thorn bush steppe with cactus in the North, forests and up to evergreen coniferous forests and grass steppe in the extreme South you can explore every kind of vegetation. Concerning the wildlife you can meet lama, alpacas, puma, Magellan foxes, chinchillas and the very rare south Andes deer (Huemul), the heraldic animal of Chile. Moreover the variety of birds is tremendous.
Food & Drink
  Eating Empanadas (fried pastry pockets with diverse fillings), stews like Cazuela or Humitas filled with maize pudding is always delicious. Other favourites of the Chilean cuisine are sea-food and fresh fish. The Chilean red and white wines are excellent and gained international reputation. Pisco Sour, a cocktail mixed with brandy, is Chile’s national drink.
Souvenirs
  Lapis lazuli, silver, bronze, copper and leather are the most important materials for the craft industry. Nice silver Indian jewellery or pieces made of lapis lazuli can be bought. Also gloriously colourful traditional costumes of Chilean cowboys and woven goods from Rari and Valdivia are highly in demand. The traditional markets (e.g. Los Dominicos in Santiago or La Recova in La Serena) offer ponchos and other products made of lama and alpaca wool.