Chile narrowly 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 over 5,000 km (3,100 mi) of coast on the South Pacific Ocean. It also has a claim to a portion of Antarctica.
However, under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, no country's territorial claims are exercised.
Various indigenous languages are spoken in Chile like Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui.
Different regions of Chile:
- North - XV Arica-Parinacota, I Tarapacá, II Antofagasta, III Atacama, IV Coquimbo
- Centre - V Valparaíso, RM Metropolitana de Santiago, VI del Libertador General Bernardo, O'Higgins, VII del Maule
- South - Biobío, Araucanía, Los Ríos, Los Lagos, XI Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, XII Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
Highlights of Chile:
- Easter Island - is one of the most isolated islands on Earth. Early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Officially a territory of Chile, it lies far off in the Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway to Tahiti. It is most famous for its enigmatic giant stone busts, built centuries ago, which reflect the history of the dramatic rise and fall of the most isolated Polynesian culture.
- Patagonia - is a region in the south of Argentina bordered in the north by the Cuyo and Pampas regions, in the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and in the south and west by Chile.
- Torres del Paine - is a national park in the Extreme South region of Patagonian Chile. It is located in the southern tiers of the Andes and features mountains, lakes and glaciers. The Torres del Paine (Spanish for "Towers of Paine" and "Paine" is the old indigenos name for the colour blue), three immense rock towers give the park its name. Other attractions include the Cuernos del Paine (Spanish for "Horns of Paine" -- horn-like mountain tops), Grey Glacier, Lago Grey, Lago Pehoe, Lago Nordenskjöld and Lago Sarmiento.
- Cochamó Valley - is known as the Yosemite of Chile, a term and comparison first coined by Seattle Times reporter Bill Dietrich, who wrote about his horseback trek and visit in 1997.
- Pucón - is a small touristy town in the middle of the southern lake district in Chile. Extremely popular both with Chileans and foreigners for its nightlife and the beautiful views of volcan Villarrica. The city center is a backpacker's Disneyland, filled with travel agencies that will offer you any kind of day trips imaginable. If you don't like it crowded, you'll be better off in the nearby town of Villarrica. January and February are the busiest months.
- San Pedro de Atatcama - is a town in Northern Chile. It's a very popular destination among Chilean tourists and international visitors alike. Visitors come in large numbers, to use the town as a stepping stone to the amazing landscapes around it. Most attractions are part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve, perhaps Chile's most varied and amazing national park. Prices in any of the laid back bars and restaurants fare well against Santiago's (Chile's Capital). Still, it's a fairly expensive location, as it's one of Chile's three most popular destinations, along Torres del Paine and Easter Island.
- El Colorado - is a ski resort outside of Santiago, Chile.
- Portillo - is a ski resort in Central Chile. It is located close to the Argentine border and the actual skiing area runs right across the serpentine road to Mendoza. For 60 years, Portillo has given the ski and snowboard enthusiasts a unique experience. With an extraordinary skiable terrain, natural beauty and numerous facilities and apres ski activities, Portillo is a tourist destination for all ages.
- Robinson Crusoe Island - is in Chile. The sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned on this island in 1705 for four years and four months, eventually inspiring Daniel Defoe to write the novel Robinson Crusoe. The Chilean government renamed the island in 1966 to reflect this historical legacy.
- Chiloé Island - is famous for myths and legends with roots in its native population but with some European influence. Even though the island was Christianized by Spanish conquerors (you can visit many of the Jesuit wooden churches all over the island) its inhabitants are also very superstitious. A singing, fair-haired beauty similar to the German Lorelei is called la pincoya. It is said that if she dances towards the coast the sea will bring a lot of fish. A ghost ship carrying the souls of wrecked sailors, similar to the Flying Dutchman, is called caleuche. And if someone tells you he or she was seduced in the forest, it might have been the fiura or the trauco, which is often blamed for venereal disease or an awkward pregnancy. A very pitiful figure is the invunche; as a baby his orifices, including his eyes, were closed and one leg was sewn to his back, so that he walks on three legs.