About Chile

Magical, mystical Chile, the narrowest country in the world, lies on the southwestern coast of South America. This land of sharp contrasts encompasses the driest desert in the world, the Atacama in the north of Chile, to the mild Mediterranean climate of central Chile, and the fjords and glaciers of southern Chile culminating in the far reaches of islands approaching Antarctica. 

The economy

This country of 18 million people living in an area of 756,096.3 km2 is one of South America's most stable and economically prosperous countries. With Chile's growing economy, low corruption rates, and low poverty levels, it is an ideal place to relocate. Chile's economy is based on the exportation of copper and other minerals, timber and products, wine, salmon, and fruits and vegetables. Tourism is steadily increasing also providing opportunities for local growth and business.

Travelling in Chile

Chile is very easy to travel around as a tourist. Airfares within the country are reasonable but buses are the cheapest way to go. The bus system and the highway system are reliable and modern. Buses go almost everywhere and with high gasoline prices are the prefered method of travelling for most Chileans. Car rentals are also readily available in most major cities.

The regions of Chile

Chile has divided its country into 16 regions. There are 6 regions north of Santiago which is home to the Atacama Desert and the major cities of Iquique,La Serena, and Antofagasta. These regions are home to the largest open-pit copper mine in the world, the largest solar power plant in Latin America, agriculture in the fertile valleys, and many astronomical observatories including the largest telescope on earth.

Valparaiso and Santiago are the 2 regions in the centre of Chile. They include more than half of the population of Chile and are home to many international and Chilean companies plus government offices. Valparaiso is on the coast and has Chile's largest port. The mild Mediterranean climate of this area is a big attraction.

South of Santiago are the agricultural regions where most of the wine grapes and fruits and vegetables are grown. The O'Higgins Region is predominant in apples and pears. Maule and Nuble is the wine region. Bio Bio is the manufacturing and timber region. Araucania is the granary of Chile and home to Lago Villarrica and its companion Volcan Villarrica which has guided tours to its snow-capped crater when it's not erupting. Los Rios and Los Lagos are known for their cattle and dairy farming and are part of the Lakes district which attracts many tourists to see its lakes ringed with snow-capped volcanoes. The climate in these regions is a wet temperate with mild wet winters and mild dry summers.

The last 2 regions of Aysen and Magallanes are somewhat remote as they can't be easily reached by car without taking a few ferries or flying or going the long way around by Argentina. The predominant industry of these areas are sheep ranches and aquaculture, salmon farming, and tourism in the summer months. The main attractions being the glaciers, the national park of Torres del Paine, and the Strait of Magellan. Punta Arenas is the capital city of this region and is the farthest south city in Chile. The climate is cool, wet, and very windy.

Volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis

In the last 20 years, there have been 15 volcanic eruptions in all of Chile. While all this may sound dangerous, not to mention the earthquakes, the government of Chile is always monitoring the volcanoes and has an alert system so when any volcano starts to rumble most are notified long before an eruption occurs and many are evacuated. Only 5 people have died as a result of volcanic eruptions in Chile in recorded history and the largest earthquake in recorded history occurred near Valdivia in 1960. 1,655 people died mostly due to the tsunami. So these threats are not so dangerous as they sound.

The ideal place to live in

Safe, modern, and beautiful with a population that is welcoming to immigrants, Chile is an ideal place to live. Relocating to Chile is fairly easy for citizens from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the EU. A 90-day tourist card is given upon arrival and can be renewed up to another 90 days then temporary residency can be applied for. Citizens from other countries may have to apply for a visa before they leave their home country. This can be done at the nearest Chilean consulate and requires some paperwork besides a passport; a roundtrip ticket, copies of hotel reservations or notarized letter for a homestay, and some proof of income. Please see our other articles on these topics for more information.