Top Ten Chilean Attractions

Top Ten Chilean Attractions

       Chile is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Along with Ecuador, it is one of two countries in South America that do not border Brazil. The Pacific coastline of Chile is 6,435 km (4000 mi). Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas and Easter Island. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square km (480,000 square mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty. The shape of Chile is a distinctive ribbon of land 4,300 kilometers (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometers (109 mi) wide. Its climate varies, ranging from the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center  to a rainy temperate climate in the south. The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas and islands. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Chile declared its independence from Spain on February 12th, 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83),Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its current northern territory. It was not until the 1880’s that the Mapuche were completely subjugated. Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America,Chile endured the 17 year long military dictatorship (1973–1990) of Augusto Pinochet that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing. Today,Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations and a recognized middle power. It leads Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and state of peace. It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development. However, it has a high economic inequality, as measured by the Gini index.

  1. Easter Island

    Moai, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island’s perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans. The 887 statues’ production and transportation is considered a remarkable creative and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 meters (33 ft) high and weighed 82 tons; the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 meters (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.
    Links: Top Ten Easter Island Attractions, Top Ten Oceanic Attractions, Top 100 Monuments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island,
  2. Santiago

    Santiago is the capital and largest city of Chile. It is located in the country’s central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,706.04 ft) above mean sea level. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies meet in the coastal town of Valparaíso, a one-hour drive to the west. Chile’s steady economic growth has transformed Santiago into one of Latin America’s most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping centers, and impressive high-rise architecture. It has a very modern transport infrastructure, including the steadily growing underground Santiago Metro, an effort at modernizing public bus transport and a free flow toll-based ring road and inner city highway system, part of which is tunneled underneath a large section of the city’s main river, Mapocho, connecting the Eastern and Western extremes of the city in a 25-minute drive. Santiago has a diverse, cosmopolitan culture, is the regional headquarters to many multinationals and a financial center.
    Links: Top Ten Explorershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago,_Chile,
  3. Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso

    Valparaíso is a city in Chile, center of its 3rd largest conurbation (Greater Valparaíso) and one of the country’s most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region. Although Santiago is Chile’s official capital, the National Congress of Chile was established in Valparaíso in 1990. Valparaíso played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan. Always a magnet for European immigrants, Valparaíso mushroomed during its golden age, when the city was known by international sailors as “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific.” Examples of Valparaíso’s former glory include Latin America’s oldest stock exchange, the continent’s first volunteer fire department, Chile’s first public library, and the oldest Spanish language newspaper in continuous publication in the world. The opening of the Panama Canal and reduction in ship traffic dealt a staggering blow to Valparaíso, though the city has staged an impressive renaissance in recent years. Though nearby San Antonio has taken the reins as the country’s most commercially important seaport, the City of Valparaíso remains a vibrant center of Chilean culture, and the Greater Valparaíso metropolitan area (which includes Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué and Villa Alemana) has the 3rd largest concentration of population in the country after Greater Santiago and Greater Concepción.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valpara%C3%ADso,
  4. Chilean Wine Country

    Chile has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French wine varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were introduced. In the early 1980’s, a renaissance began with the introduction of stainless steel fermentation tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. Wine exports grew very quickly as quality wine production increased. The number of wineries has grown from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005. Chile is now the 5th largest exporter of wines in the world, and the 9th largest producer. The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère.
    Links: Wine, Top 100 Wines, Top Ten Chilean Wines, Top Ten Wine Regions, Ten 100 Wineries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chile_%28wine%29,
  5. Churches of Chiloé

    The Churches of Chiloé in Chile’s Chiloé Archipelago are a unique architectural phenomenon in the Americas and one of the most prominent buildings of Chilota architecture. Unlike classical Spanish colonial architecture the churches of Chiloé are made entirely in native timber with extensive use of wooden roof shingles. The churches were made to resist Chiloé Archipelago’s humid and rainy oceanic climate. Built in the 18th and 19th centuries when Chiloé Archipelago was still a part of the Spanish Crown possessions, the churches represent the fusion of European Jesuit culture and local native peoples skill and traditions: an excellent example of mestizo culture.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churches_of_Chilo%C3%A9,
  6. Links: Top Ten South American Attractions, Top Ten Chilean Hotels, Top Ten Chilean Restaurants,

Recommendations for Chillin’ Out in Chile