Chile In A Glimpse
Chile is a thin long country with extremely different climates along its land. It holds one of the driest deserts in the World "Atacama Desert". Where you can visit amazing pristine areas like "Valle de la Luna" (Valley of the Moon), where time stand still, Salt Flats, or towns like the popular San Pedro de Atacama. North Chile is very vast, so you can also go southern the Atacama desert to Valle del Elqui, an epicenter of magnetic forces, where astrologist and esoteric believes there is a portal of energy.
The whole north of Chile has such a clear sky that, with the help of the altitude of the Andes Mountains, big telescopes are set there for astronomy studies. And you can visit one of them in Cerro Paranal (ESO, La Silla Facilities), and the other is ALMA (means soul in spanish), is the World's most expensive telescope and is the largest astronomical project in existence. ALMA Web Site.
In contrast with that desert you can find in the south of the country, the Chilean side of Patagonia. An enormous region with the andes emerging from fiords where green covers everything and you can get into places where men has never reached still.
Its Capital is Santiago and is where most of the population of the country resides. Is one of, if not the most important financial and business center in South America, due to the political and economic stability and growth of Chile in the last decades.
Chile's unusual, ribbon-like shape — 4,300 kilometres long and on average 175 kilometres wide — has given it a varied climate, ranging from the world's driest desert—the Atacama—in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a rainy temperate climate in the south. The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper.
Prior to arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Araucanians inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile invaded parts of Peru and Bolivia and kept its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Araucanians were completely subjugated. Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America, Chile endured the 17-year military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973–1990) that left around 3,000 people, mostly leftists and socialist sympathizers, dead or disappeared.
Pinochet was widely reviled worldwide for his methods and legacy, however, a Center-Left Chilean administration came into power after he stepped down when he lost a national referendum. The new government of Patricio Aylwin thought it sensible to maintain free market policies that present-day Chile still harbors.
Chile is a founding member of both United Nations and the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and is also now in the OECD, the group of the "most developed" countries by current international standards, becoming the first country in South America with that honor.
Argentina's and Chile's claims to Antarctica overlap. Chile also voices a claim to a 1.25 million square kilometre portion of Antarctica, but given the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, no country's territorial claims to Antarctica are ever recognised or permitted to be exercised at any time.
In Chile there is no restriction on religion. Nearly 70 percent of the population which is above 14 years of age are identified as Roman Catholic and nearly 15 percent as evangelical.
The currency in Chile is the "Peso" and it fluctuates around 500 pesos per american dollar. One Peso doesnt buy anything, to have a coffe will cost you around 1.500 pesos at a Strbucks. if you want to have combo at Mc Donalds it will be around 2.000 pesos.
As most big cities within South America, Santiago suffers from a high rate of pickpocketing and muggings. It's advisable not to travel in the downtown area wearing expensive-looking jewelry or watches, even during the day. Stay alert and be especially careful in all crowded areas in Santiago. It is recommended to wear your backpack at the front of your body in crowded areas. If you have a laptop it can be relaxing being outside in a café doing some work but thieves may see you. For your own safety, go to a internet café if you need to be connected and leave your laptop at home. It will save you from losing it and it can save you from a violent attack from thieves. However, it is much safer to be inside the Metro stations, where you even can use free wi-fi hot spots in Universidad de Chile (L1) and Baquedano (L1-L5 junction) stations.
For tourists or other "beginners" lacking experience in over-the-counter transactions with hard Chilean currency, you can reduce the chance of your wallet getting stolen by following some advice:
Regarding driving conditions: Chilean drivers tend to be not as erratic and volatile as those in neighboring countries.
Since Chile is almost racially homogeneous, Chileans get curious and may stare at foreigners. If you are black or Asian, be prepared. There have been reports of racist attacks, but they are infrequent, and the police (carabineros) have become better at handling such situations. If you are from the Middle East, it will be easier to blend in and you will not get the same level of attention.
Leave your mobile phone at home and buy a cheap one from the local store. If robbed, you don't have to be worried about losing a expensive cell-phone, all your contacts, important numbers and messages etc. Buy a cell-phone so you can contact police or medics in any case for or just calling a friend. Wallets, cameras and cell-phone regardless of price and quality are lucrative among petty-thieves for their own use or sale in the black market.
Avoid taking photographs of navy ships and buildings or other military buildings, ask first. If caught they have the right to arrest you and expect to get all your photos examined and erased. Also expect some questions about why you photographed. Chile lives in peace with its neighbours Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, but the country is always preparing for an attack, which some Chileans think might happen since it's a small and narrow country compared to its bigger neighbour Argentina, for example. Some cities like Talcahuano and Punta Arenas are naval cities, so be extra careful when taking photographs. Some marines may speak little English, so point at the object you want to take a photo and say "si?". If they reply with a "no", then it's better to just leave.
Since May 2011 there have been ongoing protests by Chilean students who demand better and free education. If you happen to be a foreign student, most universities will allow the protesters to enter classes when there is a protest and occupation is taking place. The chances that something will happen on campus is low. But it's a different story if the protest takes places in the streets. Most of them have ended with violence from protesters and police. So even if you may sympathize with the students, avoid demonstrations arranged by students or professors.
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San Pedro de Atacama
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Patagonia, Torres del Paine
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Located in the upper Santiago, this Hotel counts with all the facilities you'll need for a relaxing days of holiday, regular buses or prived ones to take you into the sky centers on winter and the best location to feel like home, with everything right at your reach.
Tucked away on a gentle stretch of land in the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, surrounded by the quiet presence of the Andes, Altiplanico San Pedro faces the impressive Licancabur Volcano, with a unique design inspired in the style of an Altiplano village. Explore the driest desert in the world at the hotel that was developed following the concept of visual silence.
Surfers Paradise Surf Shop
What ever you need to surf in Chile, you can get it here at the best prices!
Check out Chilean Patagonia