Chile is a long, narrow country on South America's west coast. Chile is more than ten 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 derives from the Mapuche word chilli, an Indian word meaning where the land ends. Santiago, Chile's capital, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range mountains.
The country is 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 from 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.