Chile Main Facts

A long and narrow coastal Southern Cone country on the west side of the Andes Mountains, Chile stretches over 4,300 km (2,670 mi) north to south, but only 350 km (217 mi) at its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscapes. It is situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Including its offshore islands, but excluding its Antarctic claim, Chile lies between latitudes 17° and 56°S, and longitudes 66° and 81°W.

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. This area also is the historical center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it integrated the northern and southern regions. 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. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border. Chile is the second longest north-south country in the world (Brazil is the first) and also claims 1,250,000 km2 (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica as part of its territory. However, this latter claim is suspended under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, of which Chile is a signatory.

Chile controls Easter Island and Sala y Gómez Island, the easternmost islands of Polynesia, which it incorporated to its territory in 1888, and Robinson Crusoe Island, more than 600 km (370 mi) from the mainland, in the Juan Fernández Islands. Also controlled but only temporarily inhabited (by some local fishermen) are the small islands of San Ambrosio and San Felix. These islands are notable because they extend Chile’s claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the Pacific Ocean.

Chile Map

Chile’s geographic isolation has restricted the arrival of fauna. Only a handful of the many distinctive South American animals can be found here. Puma, Guanaco and Chilla Fox are among the larger mammals of the region. Chilean forests are home to a variety of marsupials and a small deer species: The Pudu.

There are 545 bird species in Chile, 13 of which are endemics.

The waters of the Humboldt Current are rich in fish and other marine life, which in turn support a wide variety of marine wildlife, including several birds and mammal species.

Chile’s native flora is characterized by a high degree of endemism and a relatively low number of species compared to other South American countries. Over 3,000 species of fungi have been recorded from Chile, but this number is far from final, and new species are described all the time.


Chile diverse climate ranges from the world’s driest desert in the north – Atacama Desert, passing through Mediterranean climate in the central region, humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an oceanic climate, including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south. According to the Köppen system, Chile hosts at least seven major climatic subtypes within its territory.

Suggested tours for Chile

These tours give you a starting point for what your trip to Chile could entail. They cover routes we’ve found work particularly well and feature some of our favorite places to stay. Treat them as inspiration, as each trip is created uniquely for you.

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