Chile is a country of extreme contrasts and breathtaking landscapes and the variety of attractions is indisputable. Numerous volcanic peaks, granite walls, ancient forests, wide lakes, the driest areas on the planet and extensive beaches are all in the package.
Here are 18 interesting facts about Chile as well as other useful links to some thrilling adventures to be had in Chile and information on the mountains that run down the spine of this fascinating land.
1. Chile is a really narrow country located on the coast of western South America. It is no more than 240 km (150 mi) wide, yet 4,300 km (2,700 mi) long, making it the longest country from north to south in the world. The coastline is even longer - 6500 km (4040 mi) long and it is one of the longest coastlines in the world.
2. Not only Chile has the Pacific Ocean with some pretty grate beaches by itsside, it also has the world’s biggest swimming pool. It is located in Algarrobo city and has a length of 915 m (3,000 ft), holds 66 gallons of seawater, is as big as 15 football fields and as deep as 35 m (115 ft).
3. Chile is yet another country with the old habit to make wine, actually, it is the 5th largest exporter of it and also the 9th largest producer. It all started in 1554, when Spanish Conquistadores brought wine grapes to the country. Since then Chile perfected the technique and now own some of the finest selections of wines.
4. The Moai Island, now known as the Easter Island, only officially became a part of Chile in 1888 and only in 1966 the island became completely open to the public. This island is special in many ways, first of all, it has one of the most extensive cave systems in the world, which continues for over 7 km (4,3 mi).
5. Patagonia, the massive region in the Andes, gets its name from the Spanish word patagones, which translates to “big feet”. It is believed that it refers to Indian race who lived in the region and who used animal skins as footwear. It is also worth mentioning that it was Ferdinand Magellan himself who came up with the name.
6. Easter Island is a little island of volcanic origin, with no trees or high mountains, on the other hand, technically speaking, it is itself a giant, over 3048 m (10,000 ft) high, volcano rising from the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
7. Even though Easter Island is now a part of Chile it is easy to say that this island does not have much in common this the country as it is located in the Pacific Ocean more than 3600 km (2200 mi) off the coast.
8. Finally, Easter Island is mostly known for the “moai” the enormous stone statues lining around the perimeter of the island. At least 288 of them are standing guarding the Island and another 600 are scattered all around it either incomplete or damaged. There is no common understanding how 14 tons heavy moais were moved to the coast of the island, but some believe that they simply “walked there” themselves.
9. There is a common misunderstanding that penguins only live in Antarctica, while in fact, there are more than a dozen places around the world were penguins have their natural habitat, including in Chile. Penguins of Chile can be found on a southern coast of the country and on the island of Tierra del Fuego. It is a great place to go watch these seabirds as it is easily accessible and has over two million breeding pairs of four different species.
10. Even though Chile has a vast Pacific Ocean by its side it also has the driest place on Earth - the Atacama Desert. The Atacama Desert is at the elevation of 2,286 m (7,500 ft), its landscape is so stunning and surreal that you might even mistake it with the pictures of Mars. This desert is the oldest on the planet and in some places, the soil has never received rain, well at least not in a recorded history.
11. Chile has over 1300 volcanoes putting it high on the list of countries with the biggest number of volcanoes. What is even more fascinating is that a number of them are still active. Chile’s most famous historically active volcanoes are Ojos del Salado - 6,891 m (22,615 ft), Villarrica - 2,847 m (9,340 ft) and Parinacota - 6,348 m (20,827 ft).
12. Ojos del Salado, located on the frontier between Chile and Argentina, is actually the highest mountain in Chile. What is even more fascinating, is the facts that it is also the highest active volcano on the planet. Even though it has not erupted in recent decades, it is known that there was a massive explosive eruption around 1000-1500 years ago.
13. Torres del Paine National park, founded in 1959, is easily one of the most breathtaking places in the whole country. The park features ancient forests, glaciers, lakes, rivers, fjords and mountains.
14. Torres del Paine (Towers of Paine) are three gigantic granite monoliths, protected by UNESCO. The highest of the towers is Cerro Paine Grande, at the elevation of 2,884 m (9,461 ft).
15. One of the best-received hiking trails in the world is located in Torres del Paine National Park. The route is called -‘W’. It is around 70 km (43 mi) long trail that takes around 4 to 6 days to finish.
16. Cochamo Valley is often referred to one of the best places in the world to go rock climbing. It has approximately 200 different big-wall routes and 100 different routes to take for cragging. Moreover, it features amazing views of surrounding mountains and glaciers.
17. Lake Llanquihue, with an area of approximately 860 sq km (330 sq mi), the length of35 km (22 mi), the width of 40 km (25 mi) and depth of 1,500 m (5,000 ft) is the largest lake in Chile and the second largest in the whole South America.
18. In the Lake District you can find a Monkey Puzzle trees, which take hundreds of years to fully grow and can live for 1000 years. Even though it does look more like a bush or a plant rather than a tree, it can grow up to 40-50 m (130-160 ft).