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Chile - Land of Glaciers and Desert

Chile toursChile is the world’s longest country, covering 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from north to south.  This is equivalent to the width of the United States (San Fransisco to New York) or the distance from London to Timbuktu in West Africa. This vast length means that Chile spans almost every climate in the world, ranging from the arid desert in the north to the Patagonian ice fields in the south.  A thin strip of land, just 240 km (150 miles) at its widest, the entire country is nestled between the Andes mountains to the East and the Pacific ocean to the west.
Chile has a low population density, with 17.5 million people, and 40% of its population lives in the capital Santiago. The country is recognised as one of Latin America’s most stable and wealthy nations, ranking higher than any of its neighbours in the UN’s Human Development Index. Economic inequality still remains high though. In 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD. 

Quick facts

  • Chile claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica
  • The southern coast of the country is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands and it is impossible to drive from tip to tail
  • Chile is a founding member of both the United Nations and the Union of South American Nations
  • Chile celebrates its Independence day from Spain every year on the 18th of September
  • The largest export is copper
  • Tourism is experiencing sustained growth, due to the country’s diverse landscapes and climates

Weather and Climate

You name it, Chile’s got it! From the world’s driest desert in the north of the country, to its Mediterranean middle, to the expansive ice fields of Patagonia in the south, Chilean territory even expands to the semi-tropical Easter Island. The country follows the southern hemisphere season pattern, so expect hotter days between November and March and colder days between June and September. If you’re travelling from the country’s tip to tail, at whatever time of year come, prepared for every type of weather!