Situated on the western coast of South America, Chile, shaped like a narrow strip of ribbon, lies alongside the Pacific Ocean. The Country has an estimated population of 16 million people. 93 percent of population comprises mainly of Mestizos, that is people Spanish and native descents. The pure natives only constitute 3 percent of the total population. The largest City and Capital of Chile is Santiago. This is the administrative center of the Government. The industrial center is located at the former suburbs of Santiago, Puente Alto.
Another thing that makes Chile stand out is the fact that it is the most urbanizes country in South America. 87 percent of the people live in the urban regions of the country. Santiago alone is home to nearly 30 percent of the population. The climate of Chile, because of its length stretching from the middle of South America to the southern tip of the Continent, gives her great diversity in climatic zones.
Geographically, the country has three main regions:
The Northern Region
This region is mostly deserts and represents one of the driest places in the world. However, the temperature is relatively cool due to the cold offshore Humboldt Current.
The Central Region
Relatively mild temperature dominates this region. The temperature is Santiago averages around 12 0 C to 29 0 C during the beginning of the year. During July, the temperature falls slightly to around 3 0 C to 15 0 C.
The Southern Region
Cyclonic Storms and strong winds characterize this region. It is also much cooler than the upper regions of the country. Rain is experienced in this region all year round as well.
From the diversity in climates and landscapes, Chile offers any adventurous traveler a whole range of activities to indulge in. The Salt lakes of Atacama Desert, the lakes District of the Andes, the National Parks of Torres del Paine are just some of the treasures of Chile. From the Central region, go on a wine sampling visit to some of the Vineyards in the region. Take a visit also to the historical quarter of Valparaiso, which mean “valley of Paradise”, featuring some of the finest Latin Architecture of the nineteenth Century. This place is now a UNESCO heritage site. Those who love the outdoors will not be disappointed with the hiking and skiing activities at the mountain regions near Chile's cities. The National Parks at Torres Del Paine will make any nature lovers ecstatic. In addition, for those who love beaches, the beach resort at Vina del Mar should be the ultimate destination in Chile.
The official language spoken by the majority of Population is Spanish. Although, some natives speaks an Araucanian language call Mapuche, all of them can speak Spanish. English is also widely spoken by those who deal with International Trade. With respect to religion, 78 percent of the people here are of the Roman Catholic faith while the Protestant comprises of 3 percent of the population. The Spanish influence also permeates into the culture of the People of Chile. Even then, you will be able to see two contrasting strains of culture here, those of the urban population and those of the Peasants.
The Chilean also like the majority of the Latin Nations, adopt a republican style of Government similar to those of the United States or France. The legal Tender of Chile is the Chilean Peso. (USD $1 is approximately 512 Chilean Pesos).
LAN airlines, one of the main airlines of South America is the principle Carrier for Chile. The airline flies both domestically and internationally. For most tourist travelers to Chile, there are no Visa requirements for stay up to 90 days. However, you are required to show your return ticket if you are not holding a credit card.