General information about Chile INFOCHI

Chile is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It stretches over 4,300km/2,672mi north to south, but only 350km/217mi at its widest point east to west and is the longest north-south country in the world. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscapes. The northern Atacama Desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper and nitrates. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. Southern Chile is rich in forests, grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands and the Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border.

Time zone: The time zone is UTC/GMT -4 hours and UTC/GMT -6 hours.

International calling code: +56

Currency: In Chile the local currency is the Chilean Peso (CLP). The Chilean Peso is not easily found outside Chile therefore it is better to bring U$D or €uro which can be changed easily (be careful not to bring bills that are in some way damaged) or use your credit card to withdraw cash.

Security: In terms of crime Chile is in the Latin American average. However, like anywhere, wherever there are tourists there are pickpockets. Stay alert and do not let your bags and valuables unattended.

Shopping: Chile has plenty to offer; beautiful handicrafts, jewellery made of silver and Lapislazuli, wooden crafts, woven blankets, scarves and ceramics.
Important: It is not allowed to import the famous Palos de Agua (rain sticks) as the cactus from which they are made is a protected material.  

Gastronomy: We recommend dishes, such as Empanadas, Cazuela (a strong stew), Humitas (maize porridge cooked in corn leaves and eaten sweet or salty), etc.

Climate: The climate of Chile comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale, extending across 38 degrees in latitude, making generalisations difficult. According to the Köppen system, Chile within its borders hosts at least seven major climatic subtypes, ranging from desert in the north, to alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south east, humid subtropical in Easter Island, Oceanic in the south and Mediterranean climate in central Chile. There are four seasons in most of the country: summer (December to February), autumn (March to May), winter (June to August), and spring (September to November).

Last but not least...: The unforeseen happens – and nowhere more than in South America - your flight might be late or the bus brakes down! Remember that life works at a different pace here, and people do not have the same sense of timekeeping as at home - people do not expect you to be on time! Try to accept this as part of the charm of travelling in a relaxed country. We always include extra time to allow for these things, sometimes too much and sometimes not enough; in both cases we try to ensure that you have a great trip.

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