The Republic of Chile is a South American nation that borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east. It covers a total area of 291,930.4 square miles, and it has a population of 17,574,003 people. Chile is considered one of the most breathtaking and economically stable countries in South America.
When it comes to natural features, Chile has a bit of everything, which is why the Spanish conquered the nation as early as 1540. It wasn’t until February 1818 that Chile was finally declared an independent state.
Below are some of the amazing things you most likely never knew about this elegant South American nation.
8 Things You Probably Never Knew About Chile
1. Chile is home to the driest place on the planet
One of the oldest deserts in the world – the great Atacama Desert, is found in Chile! Located in the northern parts of the country and towering at an impressive altitude of 7,000 feet, the Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth.
Most of the desert has never received a drop of rain. While the desert is barren, it has some beautiful natural features that make it a sight to behold.
2. Chile has the largest number of active volcanoes
The Andes Mountains have 1,300 volcanic mountains, with Cerro Arul, Villarrica, and Cerro Hudson being the most famous active volcanoes. These volcanoes are, however, closely monitored to keep the public safe.
When visiting the Andes Mountains, you can be sure to find other tourists as these wonders attract climbers from all over the world. A total of 90 volcanoes are still active, and Ojos del Salado is the world’s highest active volcano at 6,893m above sea level.
3. Chile has the longest coastline in the world
Chile is 2,670 miles long but only 216 miles across. The entire coastline stretches for an estimated 6500 km. The beaches experience a warm Mediterranean climate making them ideal for the thousands of tourists that flock to the beaches every year. Some of the popular beaches to visit are El Norte Chico and Del Maule.
4. Chile has a government-backed UFO research facility
If the thought of having other life forms has always excited you, then you are in for a treat! In Chile, the government set up a UFO research facility in the Central District.
The public facility has a 19-mile-long UFO trail in the town of San Clemente. The trail goes through the Andes and even has Plateaus thought to be landing zones for our cosmic neighbors – how cool is that!
5. Chile boasts of having the World’s biggest swimming Pool
The swimming pool in San Alfonso del Mar Resort is the world’s largest swimming pool. The pool was officially opened in 2006 in the coastal city of Algarrobo. The massive pool is over 1,000m long and covers about 20 acres.
It took five years to complete the project, and it holds over 66 million gallons of clear, inviting seawater. Even after spending a billion dollars, the pool still cost an estimated 3 million dollars a year to maintain.
6. The famous head statues are in Chile
It would be unforgivable to compile any list on Chile without including the famous head statues known as the Moai. The statues are thought to have been erected by the Rapa Nui people. The statues are found in the Eastern Islands and are over 900 in number.
Each state has an average height of 4.5 m tall and weighs a staggering 14 tons. Historians still disagree on why the statues were sculpted. The reasons vary depending on who you ask.
However, it is thought that they were built for religious reasons. That hasn’t stopped those with wild imaginations from claiming aliens had a hand in it. Fascinating, eh?
7. The world’s most powerful observatory is in Chile
The Atacama Desert is not only valuable for its breathtaking scenery; it also serves as the best place to admire the wonders of the universe. Being the driest place in the world has its benefits, one of them being very little humidity in the air.
Its strategic location for stargazing made it ideal for setting up the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). The project was set up in 2013 and is internationally funded. From the observatory, astronomers have been able to observe stars that were formed almost 13 billion years ago.
8. The oldest mummy in the world was found in Chile
It was often thought the practice of mummifying the dead originated from Egypt. This is not the case as Chinchorro mummies have been excavated in the Camarones Valley in Chile. The mummies date back to 5050 BC, making them the oldest mummies in the world.
A total of 280 Chinchorro mummies have been dug up so far. More than half the discovered mummies are thought to have been artisans, unlike in ancient Egyptian culture, where the ritual was a preserve for royalty. The Chinchorro performed the rite for its entire people.
Chile is an amazing country with a vibrant culture, elegant people, breathtaking nature, and delicious food. The above facts are only the tip of the iceberg; make plans to visit this South American gem for an adventure of a lifetime.