Chile Overview

Chile is a long, narrow country on South America’s west coast. It is more than 10 times as long as it is wide and stretches about 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometres) from Peru in the north to the southern tip of the continent. Chile’s name probably comes from chilli, an Indian word meaning where the land ends.

Chile is a country of startling contrasts and extreme beauty. The Atacama Desert in the north is one of the driest places in the world, but parts of the south are among the rainiest. The towering Andes Mountains form Chile’s eastern boundary, and low mountains rise along the country’s Pacific coast. A series of fertile river basins called the Central Valley lies between the mountain ranges in central Chile. The landscape of southern Chile is breathtaking. There are snow-capped volcanoes, thick forests, and huge glaciers. Many rocky, windswept islands dot the rugged shore.


Parts of Chile’s Northern Desert may not have rain for years. But the region is not especially hot. Winds that blow across the cold Peru Current bring cool, cloudy weather and frequent fogs to the coastal area.

The Central Valley has a mild climate, with dry summers and rainy winters.


CAPITAL: Santiago
POPULATION: 16.4 million
LANGUAGE: Spanish, Mapudungun
CURRENCY: Chilean Peso
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 220V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or two pin plug is required.


Minefields are located in regions XV Arica – Parinacota (formerly part of Region I), I Tarapaca, II Antofagasta in the north and XII Magallanes y Antartica in the south. We recommend checking with the local authorities before travelling to the border areas of the regions.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK