With its awesome Pacific coastline and majestic Andean highlands, Chile's geographical size is compensated by its countless opportunities for adventurers, thrill seekers and leisure travelers alike. Chile offers some of the world's closest viewing of volcanoes, and boasts incredible wildlife preserves and countless natural wonders. From the city of Santiago to the beach resort area of Vina del Mar, Chile also boasts some of the finest national parks in all of South America, a premiere destination for trekkers from around the world.
The Atacama Desert has hot, sunny weather year round. The central areas have warm, dry summers (December-March) and cool, rainy winters (May-September). The mountainous Lake District is cool throughout the year, with April through June the months of heaviest rainfall. Chilean Patagonia in the south is cool to cold, with unpredictable weather changes throughout the year. Easter Island has a tropical climate, influenced by winds and ocean currents. Generally, the weather is good year round, with hottest months being January and February.
Situated south of Peru and west of Bolivia and Argentina, Chile fills a narrow 2,880 mile strip between the Andes and the Pacific. One-third of Chile is covered by the towering ranges of the Andes. In the north is the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert, and in the center is a 700-mile-long (1,127 km) thickly populated valley with most of Chile's arable land. At the southern tip of Chile's mainland is Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world, and beyond that lies the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego, an island divided between Chile and Argentina. The southernmost point of South America is Cape Horn, a 1,390-foot rock on Horn Island in the Wollaston group, which belongs to Chile. Chile also claims sovereignty over 482,628 square miles of Antarctic territory; the Juan Fernández Islands, about 400 miles west of the mainland; and Easter Island, about 2,182 miles to the west.
Major Holidays & Events
In addition to the customary holidays, Chile traditionally celebrates:
March or April - Good Friday through Easter Sunday
May 1 & 21 - Labour Day & Navy Day
June 29 - Saint Peter and Saint Paul
July 16 - Our Lady of Mount Carmel
August 15 - Assumption of Mary
September 18 & 19 - Independence Day & Army Day
September 17 and 20 are bridge holidays if they fall on a Monday or a Friday respectively
October 12 & 31 - Columbus Day & Reformation Day
November 1 - All Saints Day
December 8 - Immaculate Conception