Chile’s elongated, unique shape makes it one of the world’s most geographically unique countries, and this South American nation’s cartography lives up to its reputation. From top to bottom, thousands of miles encompass arid, rain-starved desert in the north to the icy glaciers of the south. The beautiful Andes mountain range is rarely far from view, defining the country's eastern border.
Such a rich natural setting provides Chile with a wealth of possibilities for fans of the great outdoors. From excellent skiing facilities, through to trekking, horse riding and white-water rafting, adventure sport opportunities in Chile will push most adrenaline junkies to their limits.
The country's capital Santiago nestles in a central valley between the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Mountain range. A cosmopolitan city with its own version of Bond Street - Alonso de Cordova - it has several museums, Spanish colonial buildings and parks and taking to it by foot is simply the best way to see it. Santiago also has a wide range of accommodation and restaurants nestling on the cobbled street corners.
Chile is a success story among South America's economies with many international firms choosing Santiago as their headquarters in recent years. Its copper industry has long been a mainstay of the country's income, although agriculture and wine bears some economic significance. Chile has been politically stable since 1990 following the demise of General Augusto Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship.