Chile

 

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A Chilean legend maintains that after God had created the wonders of the world he had many pieces leftover. He had raging rivers, sprawling glaciers, valleys and soaring mountains, snow-capped volcanoes, sparkling lakes, beautiful forests and deserts, icy fjords and sandy beaches. Rather than let all this beauty go to waste, he put them together in a remote part of the world, and so Chile was born. Shaped like a long narrow strip and making up the western part of South America's tail, it is 2,610 miles (4,200km) in length and at most 115 miles (180km) wide. Travellers are drawn to this country because of its multitude of natural attractions, from the northern desert to the Lake District, and the mountains and fjords of Patagonia in the south. It has some superb National Parks, including Easter Island famous for its mysterious giant statues, and numerous activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Chile's European heritage is evident throughout the country and travellers here are likely to feel more familiar with its culture than those of the neighbouring countries, with their strongly-indigenous lifestyles. There are still local traditions persisting in parts of Chile however, and together with the European influence this makes for an interesting juxtaposition, providing a distinctive culture. The people are resilient, cordial and warm, from the fashionable capital city of Santiago to the isolated island of Chiloé, and Chilean hospitality is renowned. Besides natural beauty and an interesting blend of cultures, Chile offers the visitor excellent wines and seafood, unique handicrafts and shopping, and a variety of characteristic architecture, making it a beautiful and memorable place to visit.