Introducing Chile by LONELY PLANET

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Volcán Osorno

Spindly Chile stretches 4300km – over half the continent – from the driest desert in the world (near San Pedro de Atacama) to massive glacial fields. Filling up the in-between are volcanoes, geysers, beaches, lakes, rivers, steppe and countless islands. Slenderness gives Chile the intimacy of a backyard (albeit one fenced between the Andes and the Pacific). What’s on offer? Everything. With easy infrastructure, spectacular sights and hospitable hosts, the hardest part is choosing an itinerary. Consider the sweeping desert solitude, craggy summits and the lush forests of the fjords. Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the isolated Isla Robinson Crusoe offer extracontinental exploits.

But don’t forget that Chile is as much about character as it is setting. Its far-flung location fires the imagination and has been known to make poets out of barmen, dreamers out of presidents and friends out of strangers. A few wrong turns and detours and you too will be part of this tightly woven family who barbecues on Sunday. Don’t forget to bring an extra bottle of red to the long, lazy dinners that await.

Fast Facts about Chile

  • Pisco produced annually50 million liters
  • Head of statePresident Sebastian Piñera
  • Famous forTierra del Fuego, Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, pisco, wine, General Pinochet, Patagonia
  • Did you know…that Chile is the world’s fifth largest exporter of wine?
  • She said itYou can tell the deepest truths with the lies of fiction – Isabel Allende
  • Highest pointOjos del Salado (6893m)
  • Population16,601,700 (4.6% of which is indigenous)
  • Number of moai on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)887
  • The oldest known Chinchorro mummy…dates back to c 5050 BC (some 2000 years before Egypt started mummifying its dead)
  • Number of vicuña remaining in Chile25,000

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