Chile Travel Guide

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Chile Information

Population: 15 million

Time Zone: GMT –4 hours

Driving side: Drive on the right.

Languages: Spanish

Religion: 90% Roman Catholic
Protestants
Jews
Mormons
Presbyterians making up the number

Emergency #: Police: 133. For fire and ambulance all calls are routed through the police number

Chile Popular Destinations

Parque Nacional Puyehue Chile's most popular national park; it lies in the Lake District, about 900 kilometres south of Santiago. It has a couple of volcanoes, one of which erupted in 1960 and covered part of the lush forest in dust and debris, hot springs and geysers, waterfalls, and abundant bird life. It truly is a beautiful mountain forest area, with plenty of nature trails to follow, ski resorts, and spectacular lake views.

Santiago Chile's capital city, framed to the east by the Andes; it feels uncannily European, with stately boulevards, high-rise apartments, chic neoclassical architecture, an underground (Metro) system, and it's inhabitants appear to be very orderly and very smartly dressed. While here, you can arrange visits to nearby wineries (Chilean wine is becoming more and more popular), find yourself in Plaza de Armas, the city's historical centre, and visit the numerous museums. The city boasts numerous restaurants and bars; hotels are plentiful, and there's plenty of clubs, catering for the 'young ones'.

Valparaiso it lies about 75 miles north west of Santiago, the capital of Chile and is Chile's second largest city, and it's main port. To the visitor, it's a very distinctive city, with old cobbled streets, precipitous cliffs (on top of which people live and have to take funiculars to go out or get home from town), museums, and a quite recently made pier (Muelle Prat). While you're here, do try a visit to the wonderful natural history museum (Palacio Lyon), the naval museum, and the superb fine arts museum. If you feel brave, do try surfing from the beach area. There's plenty of hotels and restaurants to welcome visitors to this part of Chile.

Chile Beaches

Vina del Mar just north of Valparaiso; it's Chile's premier beach resort, obviously very popular with locals and tourists alike. It is very good for surfing in the cold South Pacific Ocean, and you'll find several good restaurants and hotels nearby.

Renaca just north of Vina del Mar; it has the area's most extensive and pleasant beach, very popular with visitors and locals.

Concon found just north of Renaca; again, it's very popular place for surfers. It also boasts several very good seafood restaurants.

Moving Around Chile

Air Regional airlines and air taxis cover the country's long and slender shape. Through competition, domestic airfares have dropped, and thus air tickets are very competitively priced, and within reach of most visitor's pocket. Please note, that on domestic routes, a tax of US$5 is in operation.

Bus they are clean and comfortable. They also generally travel the length of Chile along the main highways, and are nearly always very punctual.

Train long neglected way back in the 70's; similar story to the railways in Argentina.

National festival and holidays

The most important national celebrations are Christmas and Easter; there's many holidays in September, namely the Fiesta Patrias, National Independence Day on the !8th September, and the Armed Forces Day on the 19th September. One other important festival is the Fiesta de la Virgin del Rosario which is held in the northern town of Andacollo during December; pilgrims descend upon this town from as far away as Bolivia. An image of the Virgin is accompanied by fringe dancers to an enormous shrine; you will also see horse racing and cock fighting.

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