Chile overview


Explorations in a long thin country…

Chile occupies a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes Mountains to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west. To the north it is bordered by Peru and Bolivia, with Argentina to the east and the Drake Passage to the far south. The country is over 2,800 miles long yet just 265 miles wide at its widest (and closer to 110 miles wide on average) – one is never far from the ocean or the mountains! It is one of only two countries in South America that does not border Brazil (the other is Ecuador). Today, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations.

Early inhabitants included the Inca in the north, and the indigenous Mapuche in central and southern Chile. The Yaganas, Onas and Alacalufes peoples once entirely populated the far southern region. The Spanish arrived in the 16th century, with Chile gaining its independence in 1818.  Meanwhile the Rapanui settled Easter Island from eastern Polynesia, possibly as early as the 4th to 9th century (there is still much unknown of their arrival).

The climate varies, from the world’s driest desert – the Atacama – in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a rainy temperate climate in the south. Over 2,200 miles off the coast lies Easter Island, with a subtropical climate. Additional territories include Juan Fernández Island, plus a suspended claim to part of Antarctica. The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper and nitrates. The dark and clear night skies in the far north offer world renown stargazing. 

Santiago is the modern capital city, with nearly one third of the national population living in the vicinity, and the hub for all travel around the country. Here you find a mix of wonderful museums, striking colonial architecture, and great food.

With such geographical variety there is something for everyone!

Through several local specialist operators we offer custom programs throughout the country, designed to fit your interests and schedule. Click on the links below to explore Chile!