Coat of Arms
President Michelle Bachelet
» Unitary presidential constitutional republic
» 756,096.3 km2 (38th)
» 410.277 billion (42nd)
» Per capita 23,165 (53rd)
» 264.095 billion (38th)
» Per capita 14,911 (49th)
» Peso (CLP)
» CLT and EASTc (UTC−3 and −5)
Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south.
Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
Chile’s northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions.
Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.
The Central Bank of Chile in Santiago serves as the central bank for the country. The Chilean currency is the Chilean peso (CLP).
Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. Since July 2013, Chile is considered by the World Bank as a “high-income economy”, and hence as a developed country.
Chile has the highest degree of economic freedom in South America (ranking 7th worldwide), owing to its independent and efficient judicial system and prudent public finance management.
In May 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD. In 2006, Chile became the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America. Copper mining makes up 20% of Chilean GDP and 60% of exports.
Escondida is the largest copper mine in the world, producing over 5% of global supplies. Overall, Chile produces a third of the world’s copper. Codelco, the state mining firm, competes with private ones.
Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady economic growth in Chile and have more than halved poverty rates.
Chile is ranked 72 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of -0.0293834
Top 5 Products exported by Chile
- Refined Copper (28%), Copper Ore (20%), Raw Copper (4.1%), Sulfate Chemical
- Copper Ore (20%), Raw Copper (4.1%), Sulfate Chemical
- Raw Copper (4.1%), Sulfate Chemical
- Sulfate Chemical Wood pulp (3.3%),
- Wine (2.4%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Chile
Top 5 Products imported by Chile
Refined Petroleum (10%),
Crude Petroleum (7.5%),
Planes, Helicopters, and/or Spacecraft (3.8%)
Top 5 Import origins of Chile
United States (23%),
Tourism in Chile has experienced sustained growth over the last decades. Chile received about 1.25 million foreign visitors in 2006, up to 2.50 million in 2007. The percentages of foreign tourists arrivals by land, air and sea were, respectively, 55.3%, 40.5% and 4.2% for that year.
The two main gateways for international tourists visiting Chile are Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport and Paso Los Libertadores.
Chile has a great diversity of natural landscapes, from the Mars-like landscapes of the hyperarid Atacama Desert to the glacier-fed fjords of the Chilean Patagonia, passing by the winelands backdropped by the Andes of the Central Valley and the old-growth forests of the Lakes District. Easter Island and Juan Fernández Archipelago, including Robinson Crusoe Island, are also major attractions.
Many of the most visited attractions in Chile are protected areas. The extensive Chilean protected areas system includes 32 national parks, 48 natural reserves and 15 natural monuments.
Since 2005 local people groups have been working on a project, Sendero de Chile, to create an 8,000 km trail throughout Zona Sur for bicycling and hiking.
This trail demonstrates a shift from traditional tourism to ecotourism, and when complete will travel through various provinces and regions, primarily south of Zona Central.
- Stretching from 17°S in the north to 55°S in the south, Chile is among the longest countries in the world with several climate zones and types of nature.
- High mountains are present everywhere in the country.
- On the Chilean mainland you can visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Old Valparaíso, the Sewell mining town in Rancagua and the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works outside Iquique.
- Just outside the coast there are the churches of Chiloé Island, and five and a half hour by plane across the Pacific Ocean will get you to maybe the most famous “Off the Beaten Path” destination in the world — the Easter Island.