Chile comprises a narrow coastal strip between the Andes and the Pacific that stretches for more than 2,850 miles. The northern third of the country is dominated by the Atacama Desert, a spectacular region of salt flats, geysers and volcanic peaks. The central section, home to the capital, Santiago, is blessed with a Mediterranean climate that nurtures a wide range of agricultural products, including high-quality wine grapes (Chile is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of wine). To the south, Patagonia is a land of pristine lakes, wind-swept steppes, vertiginous mountains and massive glaciers, and its coast is a labyrinth of fjords, peninsulas and islands. Owing to the frigid Humboldt Current, the sea abounds with marine life, including penguins and whales. North American trout were successfully introduced, and Chile now offers some of the world’s finest fly-fishing. Chile also controls Easter Island, located 2,180 miles out in the Pacific. In general, Chile is safe and prosperous, with less of the violence, corruption and economic chaos plaguing some of its neighbors.

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