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Difference between revisions of "Chile"

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==External links==  
==External links==  
* [ Chile Travel Guide]- Information on all tourist destinations
; '''Diplomatic representation in the US''' : ''chancery:'' 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 <br>''consulate(s) general:'' Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico) <br>''FAX:'' [1] (202) 887-5579 <br>''telephone:'' [1] (202) 785-1746
; '''Diplomatic representation in the US''' : ''chancery:'' 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 <br>''consulate(s) general:'' Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico) <br>''FAX:'' [1] (202) 887-5579 <br>''telephone:'' [1] (202) 785-1746

Revision as of 06:08, 5 July 2005

Quick Facts
CurrencyChilean peso (CLP)
Areatotal: 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
water: 8,150 sq km
Population15,498,930 (July 2002 est.)
ReligionRoman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%

Chile stretches along the southern half of the west coast of South America. The bordering countries are Bolivia, and Peru in the north and over the Andes, to the east, lies Argentina. Chile has coasts on both the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. It also has a claim to Antarctica.

Map of Chile


Geopolitically, Chile is divided into 13 regiones (regions). Ordered from north to south they are: Tarapacá, Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo, Valparaíso, Metropolitana de Santiago, del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, del Maule, Biobío, Araucanía, Los Lagos, Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo and Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena)
note: neither the US nor Argentina recognize claims to Antarctica.


Other destinations


A three-year-old Marxist government was overthrown in 1973 by a brutal dictatorial military regime led by Augusto PINOCHET, who has subsequently been charged with crimes against human rights - see A freely elected president was installed in 1990 and the restoration of democracy has led to unprecedented growth in 1991-97 which has helped secure the country's continuing commitment to democratic and representative government.

temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east

Natural hazards 
severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
Environment - current issues 
widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
Geography - note 
strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage);
18 September 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

Get in

Travelers from the Americas, most of Europe and some other countries like Japan, Israel, Singapore,Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia only required their valid passport in order to get visina. For citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, a national identity card of the country of origin can replace the passport.

Citizens of United States, Canada and other countries that require visa for Chileans must pay a fare to get in Chile. The payment take places at the time of arrival and it is similar to the payment Chilean citizens do for a visa application of the respective country.

Get around

total: 6,702 km
broad gauge: 2,831 km 1.676-m gauge (1,317 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 117 km 1.067-m gauge (28 km electrified); 3,754 km 1.000-m gauge (37 km electrified) (2000 est.)
total: 79,800 km
paved: 11,012 km
unpaved: 68,788 km (1996)
725 km
Merchant marine 
total: 47 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 669,670 GRT/931,647 DWT
ships by type: bulk 11, cargo 4, chemical tanker 10, container 5, liquefied gas 2, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 5, vehicle carrier 3, includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Netherlands 1 (2002 est.)
363 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 71
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 15 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 292
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 60
under 914 m: 216 (2002)


Spanish 99%, Mapudungun 5%, Aimara 0.3%, Rapanui 0.1%

In informal conversations Chilean people talk using a very particular "slang" which can be very confusing even for native spanish speaking tourist. A good and funny book on this topic is "How to survive in the Chilean jungle".

Spanish is the only language spoken by most of Chileans. With the exception of San Pedro de Atacama, Torres del Paine and big cities tourist centers acustomed to receive tourists, don't expect to find English or any other language speakers.

In the lake district, there's a small portion of German speakers.


Economy - overview 
Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep the current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - the latter a product of the global financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated the recession in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for the first time in more than 15 years. Despite the effects of the recession, Chile maintained its reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. By the end of 1999, exports and economic activity had begun to recover, and growth rebounded to 5.4% in 2000. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, however, putting pressure on President LAGOS to improve living standards. The Argentine financial meltdown has put pressure on the Chilean peso and is slowing the country's economic growth. 2004 saw the value of exports double due to the high price of copper. This led to a return to a high rate of growth for the economy as a whole which is set to continue for 2005 and probably for 2006.
Chilean peso (CLP)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
Chilean pesos per US dollar - 590 (June, 2005) 651.90 (January 2002), 618.70 (2001), 535.47 (2000), 508.78 (1999), 460.29 (1998), 419.30 (1997)


You shouldn't leave the country without eating chirimoya and lúcuma ice-cream.

Other typical foods include

  • Pastel de choclo: maize pie filled with ground beef and sometimes chicken
  • Empanada de pino: a baked pie filled with ground beef, onion, raisins, a piece of boiled egg and an olive. Watch for the pit.
  • Empanada de queso: a fried pie filled with cheese. Found everywhere, including McDonald's.
  • Cazuela de vacuno: beef soup with a potato, rice, a piece of corn and a piece of pumpkin.
  • Cazuela de ave (or de pollo): chicken soup with a potato and rice.
  • Cazuela de pava: turkey soup with a potato and rice.
  • Porotos granados: fresh beans with corn in three varieties
    • con choclo: with grains of corn
    • con pilco or pirco: with corn thinly chopped
    • con mazamorra: with ground corn
  • curanto: lots of sea food, beef, meat and pork, prepared in a hole in the ground, a dish from Chiloe
  • Southern sopaipillas: a fried pastry cut as 10 cm circles, with no pumpkin in its dough (see Northern sopaipillas in the desserts section). They replace bread. They are known South of Linares.
  • lomo a lo pobre: a beefsteak, fried potatoes, a fried egg (in restaurants you should expect two) and fried onions.

Besides tipical foods, you should expect food you normally found in any Western country. Normal diet includes rice, potatos, meat and bread. In central Chile vegetables are abundant. If you are concern about the amount of food, consider that the size of the dish increases when souther you go.


  • Hotdog or completo. Not similar to the American version. This one takes mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, tomato, mashed avocado (palta), sauerkraut (chucrut) and chilli (ají). All of it makes a full sandwich, i.e. un completo. With mayonnaise, tomato and avocado it's un italiano with the colors of the Italian flag.
  • Lomito. Cooked pork steaks served with anything that can go in a hotdog. Italiano is the preferred form but German purists prefer it with sauerkraut (chucrut).
  • Chacarero: a thin beefsteak (churrasco) with tomato, green beans, mayonnaise and green chilli (ají verde).
  • Barros Luco: Named after President Ramón Barros Luco. Beefsteak with cheese.

A common combination is meat with avocado and/or mayonnaise, e.g. Ave palta mayo (chicken with avocado and mayonnaise) or Churrasco palta (beefsteak with avocado). The strong presence of avocado as an Chilean standard for sandwiches even make to the fast food franchises to put it a place in their menus.


  • Mote con huesillos: dried peach (huesillos) cooked with with lots of sugar (giving a fresh syrup) with optional mote added. Mote is fresh cooked wheat with almost no flavor. Since the syrup is very sweet, the mix is good.
  • Northern sopaipillas: a fried pastry cut as 10 cm circles, which includes pumpkin in its dough, and normally is eaten with chancaca, a black treacle or molasses. It's customary to make them when it rains and it's cold outside. Sopaipillas as a dessert are known only north of San Javier. From Linares to the South they are not dessert and they are made with no pumpkin. So, when it rains, Chilean Southerners must cook picarones.
  • Picarones: its dough is similar to that of sopaipillas, but the form is irregularly given with the fingers, and with a hole in the middle. They are served like Northern sopaipillas. When a Chilean Southerner learns what Northerners call a sopaipilla they say eso es un picarón sin hoyo, “That's a picarón with no hole”.
  • Kuchen (or cújen, pronounced KOO-hen). It's German for pie. In the South ask for kuchen de quesillo, a kind of cheesecake.
  • Strudel (pronounced ess-TROO-dail). A kind of apple pie.
  • Berlín. When they translate John Kennedy's famous gaffe they say it's a “jelly doughnut”. The Chilean version is a ball of dough (no hole) filled with dulce de membrillo, crema pastelera or manjar. Powder sugar is added just in case you have a sweet tooth.
  • Dulce de membrillo: quince jam. The slightly acid quince is cooked with metric kilos of sugar, giving a very sweet jam, so sweet that for a spoonful of dulce de membrillo a full baseball of dough is needed to make a berlín.
  • Manjar (formerly called manjar blanco): caramelized milk. Argentinians think they invented it and call it dulce de leche. If you think there is a connection with dulce de membrillo try to answer this: how much dough do you need to cover a spoonful of manjar to make a berlín? The answer is: a baseball full of dough.

As a major fruit producer, in Central Chile you can easily get fruit for dessert. Appart from the above mentioned chirimoyas there's a broad offer that includes apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, watermellons, berries,etc.


  • Pisco: Brandy made from Muscat grapes. Popular brands are Capel,Alto del Carmen,Valle Elqui
  • Pisco sour: Pisco with lemon juice
  • Piscola: Pisco and Coke


A great hostel in Southern Chile is in a little place called Valdivia, about 20 miles from the coast. The hostel is called Airesbuenos and is down on one of the main roads, General Lagos. It's in one of the oldest buildings in town, a huge white mansion with a great front porch and an upper balcony. It's very affordable and clean and is run by a very hip, friendly, and open-minded fellow from Argentina. It attracts all kinds of fun people. Don't miss it, it's a gem!



Stay safe

Chilean Carabineros (National Police), Investigations Police

Diplomatic representation from the US 
embassy: Avenida Andrés Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago
mailing address: APO AA 34033
telephone: [56] (2) 232-2600
FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710
Disputes - international 
Bolivia continues to demand a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama region was lost to Chile in 1884; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims; dispute with Peru over the economic zone delimited by the maritime boundary
Illicit drugs 
A growing transshipment country for cocaine destined for the US and Europe; economic prosperity and increasing trade have made Chile more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits, especially through the Iquique Free Trade Zone; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising

Stay healthy



Chile has an extense network of communications. Mobile telephony (mostly GSM networks) is ubiquitous in major cities and central and southern Chile. If you stay for a consirable amount of time, you could even buy a prepaid cellular phone. Prepaid cards for mobile phones and landline networks and sold at most newspaper kiosks.

There are cibercafes in every major and midsize city and at all tourist destinations. In some remote locations, public libraries have internet satellite connections.

Telephones - main lines in use 
2.603 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
7 million (2005)
Telephone system 
general assessment: modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay links; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
7 (2000)
Internet users 
3.1 million (2002)

External links

Diplomatic representation in the US 
chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
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