Facts About Chile To Know Before You Go
There's no shortage of interesting facts about Chile, its landscape, culture, and people.
I never really thought much about South America until about 10 years ago. It was then that I decided that I wanted to take a break from my normal life. So I quit my corporate job, sold everything I had, and decided to spend some time traveling around South America.
Immediately, I packed a couple of suitcases, a backpack, and a briefcase. I hopped on an airplane for about 28 hours. And the next, and final stop, was Santiago, Chile.
I have been wandering around South America ever since. And I never regretted my decision to flee from the corporate world. Chile is a magical country that continues to inspire me to this day.
Marvelously Fun Facts About Chile
Chile extends along the Pacific Ocean from the middle of South America to its foot. Its land covers a diverse array of terrain. Desolate deserts span the northern regions. And lush vineyards dominate the central valley. The Andes Mountains span the entire length of the country. Majestic glaciers abound at the southern tip.
How much do you know about Chile? We are proud to present some of the most interesting facts about Chile.
It is an explosive country
There are more than three-dozen active volcanoes located in Chile. Indeed, Chile is one of the countries situated on the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is a belt of active volcanoes and earthquakes stretching alongside the Pacific Ocean. About 75 percent of the world's volcanoes lie within the Ring of Fire. Additionally, up to 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire's path.
You can find these guys in Chile
Chile is home to nine different species of penguins. Moreover, Chile takes its penguin population quite seriously. In 2018 the Chilean government rejected a billion-dollar mining project because of its impact on endangered penguins.
Get those glasses out
Spanish conquistadores and Jesuit missionaries planted the first grape vines in Chile in the16th century. Today, Chile is the world's fifth largest exporter of wine.
The most common grapes for red wine include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay top the list for white wines. Moreover, Chilean sparkling wines are gaining worldwide attention these days.
Marriage in Chile
Husbands and wives do not share the same common last name. Wives in Chile keep their maiden names their entire lives.
Here's another interesting fact about Chile. It has one of the world's lowest divorce rates.
Furthermore, divorce has only been legal in Chile since 2005.
You may not have a hard time communicating
Chile established the English Open Doors Program in 2003. A Ministry of Education initiative, the program made English studies mandatory for fifth grade and above in public schools. Similarly, the government sponsors English camps during the winter and summer breaks.
The Chinchorro mummies
One of the most interesting facts about Chile concerns the Chinchorro mummies. The Chinchorro were a group of hunters and fishers who lived at the edge of the Atacama desert in northern Chile. German archeologist Max Uhle was the first person to describe them scientifically back in 1917.
The Chinchorro mummies date back about 7,400 years. By comparison, that makes them at least 2,000 years older than Egyptian mummies.
The Atacama alien mummy explained
Nearly two decades ago rumors began circulating that someone had found the remains of an alien mummy. An amateur collector found the remains while exploring a ghost town near the Atacama Desert. Only six inches long, the mummy had only 10 ribs instead of the usual 12. Additionally, it had giant eye sockets and a long pointed skull. The remains, known as Ata, ended up in a private collection.
The New York Times reported in March 2018 that a team of scientists explained the remains. However, their story was as strange was almost as odd as the alien theory. Using DNA testing, they confirmed that Ata was human. Moreover, they identified a genetic mutation in her related to bone development. Surprisingly, this was the first time documentation of this mutation in a human.
Chile and Guinness World Records
If you are a fan of Guinness World Records, and who isn't, Chile is a fantastic place to explore. Indeed, Guinness is one of the best places to explore fun facts about Chile. Here are three examples of world records held by Chile.
Astronomical observatory fun fact
The University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory (TAO) is the highest astronomical observatory in the world.
Located on the summit of Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama Astronomical Park, the observatory sits at an altitude of 5,640 meters (18,503 feet). It currently houses a 1-meter infrared telescope called miniTAO. Additionally, the eventual goal of the TAO project is to build an infrared-optimized telescope. Lastly, that telescope will have a 6.5-meter diameter aperture.
There's a really old community
The southernmost permanent community in the world is the Chilean hamlet of Puerto Toro. Founded in 1892, only 32 people live there as per the latest census.
The Chilean miners
The longest time that people have survived trapped underground is 69 days. A group of 33 miners was trapped 688 meters (2,257 feet) below the surface after the collapse of a Chilean copper mine August 5, 2010. Rescue operations successfully concluded on October 13, 2010, with the safe return of all 33 men.
Fun Facts About Chile Destinations
Chile is the narrowest country in the world, measuring 221 miles at its broadest point and 40 miles at its thinnest. It is 2,653 miles tall. This long and lean country boasts some of the world's most exciting and unique destinations. We have selected four of our favorites to share with you.
The northernmost city in Chile, Arica is a mixture of coastline, desert, and high Andean mountains.
Downtown Arica is home to Saint Mark’s Cathedral. Saint Mark's is a Roman Catholic church designed by noted Parisian engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.
The 1876 neo-Gothic church replaced another cathedral destroyed by an earthquake in 1868. Eiffel was also responsible for the design of the old Customs House, located two blocks away. The building now serves as a cultural center hosting art, sculpture, and photography exhibits.
Officially a part of Chile, Easter Island lies about 2,200 miles off its coast, about halfway to Tahiti.
Easter Island is best known for its nearly 900 statues called Moai. Created by inhabitants during the 13th to the 16th century, the Moai are carved human figures with oversized heads.
Additionally, there are plenty of other things to see and do on Easter Island. For example, this enchanted island offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world.
Located between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santiago is the capital of Chile. Bellavista, the city’s bohemian quarter, is home to funky cafes and nightclubs.
Forest Park, located in the downtown area is home to a variety of art collections ranging from pre-Columbian to contemporary. Also, the city has its share of chic boutiques, crafts fairs, and large shopping malls.
Last, but not least, the performing arts dominate the city through its numerous theaters, opera houses, and concert venues.
Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine is a national park located near the southern tip of Chile. The park is known for its soaring mountains, picture postcard lakes, and crystal blue icebergs.
The centerpiece of the park is its three granite towers from which the park takes its name. For the adventure minded, Torres del Paine offers hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking. Best of all, Chile's snow-tipped mountains as the perfect backdrop.
It All Comes Down To This
There is no shortage of intrigue when it comes to facts about Chile. Take the case of the Chinchorro mummies. Through the wonders of DNA testing, we now know that they did not include aliens among their numbers.
From the monolithic statues of Easter Island to the majesty of the Andes Mountains, Chile never ceases to amaze.
Are there any facts about Chile that we did not cover? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments below.