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Basic Facts
Basic Facts
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Chile Basic Facts

 

In Brief

Full name: Republic of Chile
Population: 6.3 million (via UN, 2006)
Capital: Santiago Area: 756,096 sq km (291,930 sq miles)
Principle language: Spanish (Castellano)
Major religion: Christianity (Roman Catholic)
Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 81 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: Chilean peso
Main exports: Copper, fish, fruit, paper and pulp, wine and tourism
GNI per capita: US$5,870 (World Bank, 2006)
Internet domain: .cl
International dialling code: +56
Electricity: 220V / 50HZ
Banking Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00hrs to 14:00hrs
Approx Flight Time from central Europe: 16 hrs..

 

Geography

Mainland Chile is a long country stretching 4,300 km north to south yet only 175 km, on average, west to east. It passes through major climatic extremes from the Tropic of Capricorn in its north to the cold temperate zone in its south (even colder if you include Antarctica - a section of which Chile lays claim to). In addition to its incredible long shape, the country its lapped by the Pacific Ocean on its western coast, the water temperature kept cold by the Humboldt current running up from the freezing Antarctic waters in the south; and its eastern side is dominated by the impressively high Andes Mountain range rising to over 6,000 m (18,000 ft) in places, the crest line of which forms the border boundaries with Bolivia and Argentina. South of Santiago the mountains are lower and more broken, but the country is rugged with hundreds of small islands offshore from Puerto Montt to Tierra del Fuego. Much of Chile, therefore, has a mountain climate with perpetual snow and glaciers in the higher parts that have an influence on local weather patterns. The height of the snowline gradually decreases from north to south as temperature decreases and precipitation increases.

All these factors combine to give Chile outstanding dramatic landscapes set within equally varied climates: arid deserts in the north with snow-capped volcanic backdrops; miles of sandy beaches; serene lakes between carpets of lush green forests pierced by towering, conical, snow-capped (some active) volcanoes; raging rivers; majestic fiords; glaciers that come down from the mountains and meet a lake or sea where they spectacularly break into icebergs full of sapphire-blue colour and the overwhelming beauty of the Patagonian wilderness.

A good half of the 16 million population is settled in Santiago (circa 5 million) and Valparaiso and Vina del Mar (circa 3 million). The north of the country is a desert and the southern third is rugged and densely forested, and has a changeable, cool, wet climate. It is an incredible country to explore if you like geography, wilderness and seeing nature at its most beautiful. It has a modern infrastructure, developed cities and friendly people.

 

Useful Addresses

 

British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK)
King Charles Street, London W1A 2AH
Tel: 0207 270 1500
Web: www.fco.gov.uk

 

British Embassy in Santiago
El Bosque Norte 0125, Piso 3 (3rd floor), Las Condes
Tel: +56 2 231 3737 / 9771

 

United States of America Embassy in Santiago
Andres Bello 2800, Vitacura.
Tel: 232 2600

 

Chilean Embassy in the UK
12 Devonshire Street, London, W1N 2DS
Tel: 0207 580 6392 / 436 5204.

 

Consulates in Santiago de Chile

  • Argentiña: Avda. Vicuña Mackena 41, Providencia. Tel: 222 6947
  • Australia: Avda. Gertudris Echeñique 420, Las Condes. Tel: 228 5065
  • Brazil: MacIver 225, Piso 15, Downtown. Tel: 639 8867
  • Canada: Nueva Tajamar 481, Piso 12, Torre Norte, Vitacura. Tel: 362 9600
  • France: Avda. Condell 65, Providencia. Tel: 225 103
  • Italy: Román Diaz 1270, Providencia. Tel: 225 9212
  • UK: Avda. El Bosque Norte 0125, Las Condes. Tel: 370 4100
  • Spain: Avda. 11 de Septiembre 2353, Piso 9, Providencia. Tel: 233 4070
  • Sweden: Avda. 11 de Septiembre 2353, Piso 4, Providencia. Tel: 940 1700
  • Switzerland: Avda. Americo Vespucio Sur 100, Piso 14, Las Condes. Tel: 263 4211
  • USA: Andres Bello 2800, Vitacura. Tel: 232 2600

 

Seasons

  • Spring: September / October / November
  • Summer: December / January / February
  • Autumn: March / April / May
  • Winter: June / July & August (For Skiing)

 

Best Time to Come

November / December for sun and less people.

January / February for sun, but these are the main summer months for Chileans too and therefore quite busy

 

Time

(Officially GMT minus 4 hours but minus 3 hrs Oct to Mar) Taking into consideration Chilean day-light saving time this works out to be:

  • During Northern Hemisphere SUMMER: 5 hrs BEHIND UK
  • During Northern Hemisphere WINTER: 3 hrs BEHIND UK

 

Principal National Holiday Dates

  • 01 Jan
  • 00 Easter (moveable date)
  • 01 May
  • 21 May
  • 25 June (moveable date)
  • 02 July (moveable date)
  • 15 August
  • 03 September (moveable date)
  • 18 September
  • 19 September
  • 15 October (moveable date)
  • 01 November
  • 08 December
  • 25 December

 

Things to Watch Out for

 

The Sea
The Pacific Ocean that laps the coastal length of Chile, although very inviting during the summer months is also a COLD sea due to the cold Humboldt Current that runs up the coast all the way from the icy southern Antarctic Ocean. Currents are also known to be very strong - so beware when bathing.

 

The Sun
In northern Chile the climate is basically a desert one which means that it is very dry and the sun is extremely strong during the day. In the central zone the climate is Mediterranean and in summer months the sun is also very strong here too. In BOTH cases, if you are inland or at the coast you will find the power of the sun a lot stronger than you are probably accustomed to and you should therefore take good care by WEARING a HAT and using SUNSCREEN CREAM. At altitude too, you will find the sun stronger than at sea level and extra care should be taken.