is a nation located in southwestern South America and boasts a population of nearly 20 million people. Its capital city is Santiago, and the majority of Chileans are mestizos, with a significant portion being of European descent or Aracanian (Mapuche) Indian origin. The country is renowned for its unique topography: it is a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean stretching some 2,700 miles (4,300 km) from north to south, and rarely widening beyond 217 miles (349 km). In the north lies an arid plateau, the Atacama Desert, which is home to many peaks above 16,000 ft (4,900 m), while most of the highest peaks can be found on the borders with Bolivia and Argentina. Rivers in Chile are limited in size, with the Bio-Bio river being the largest, and there are many beautiful lakes, such as Lake Llanquihue. The western half of Tierra del Fuego, including the island where Cape Horn is located, falls within Chilean territory, as do the small islets of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island.
Chile has a partially developed free-market economy based mainly on mining and manufacturing. Politically, the country is a multiparty republic with two legislative houses led by a president. Religion in Chile is primarily Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism, though Protestantism and other forms of Christianity are also present. Spanish is the official language of Chile, and the currency is the Chilean peso.
Throughout history, Chile has been occasionally affected by earthquakes and tsunamis due to major faults in the ocean floor, including the magnitude-9.5 earthquake that struck the country in 1960, which was the largest ever recorded, and the magnitude-8.8 quake of 2010, which caused extensive damage. Nevertheless, Chile continues to grow and develop, and is sure to remain an important player in South America for years to come.
- Parque Metropolitano de Santiago - large urban park featuring cable cars, a zoo, forest, green space, historic statues, pools, and more.
- Central Market - energetic 1800s market known for its fresh seafood vendors and casual cafes serving fish specialties.
- Costanera Center - complex featuring the Gran Torre, the tallest skyscraper in Latin America, hotels, and a 6-story mall.
- Sky Costanera - the glass-walled observation deck in a skyscraper building at 984 ft. with 360º panoramas.
- Valle Nevado - vast Andes skiing and snowboarding destination offering many trails, plus lessons and dining.
- La Chascona - museum in the former home of Pablo Neruda. Home built to resemble a ship where Neruda lived with his third wife from 1955 to 1973, with tours.
- Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino - the elegant museum housed in an 1805 building and featuring exhibits of pre-Columbian artworks and a shop.
- Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral - completed in 1800, this grand, ornate neoclassical cathedral is the seat of the city's archbishop.
- Santiago, Chile - official website