THE BEAUTY AMONG RAW ATACAMA DESERT, THE HIGHEST VOLCANO AND WILD PATAGONIA
“You can cut all flowers but you can’t keep spring from coming. “
Everyone knows that I love Peru very much but the second favourite land of mine, in South America, is Chile, with no doubt. No, I haven’t been there yet but that is the important goal on my own Bucket list. Why? Because Chile has everything what you need to find, when you go for an adventure. The country is known to be the safest on this continent and also one of the longest countries in the world, that occupies 756,096.3 km2 (291,930.4 square miles), extending for 4,329 kilometers (2689.916 miles) from north to south. Isn’t that an awesome fact? We also can add to it the fact that has average width of only 180 kilometers (111.85 miles).Beside those fascinating numbers, Chile has many other features to be considered under unique area. One of those things is definitely Ring of fire, where Chile has an exclusive location, which is defined as hotspot for earthquakes. The land might be prone in this field but also very safe for travellers since the seismic area is well developed and organised with preventive and informative alarming system. So, when you actually pick up popular cocktail terremoto (earthquake in Spanish language) and read the inspiring poetry of well known Nobel Prize winner(1971) and Chilean national poet, Pablo Neruda, you can be sure that all is going to be good.
Chile is not so famous for a big offer of wildlife but there are almost 50% of endemic species of animals which means that wildlife photographer and lovers have a lot do discover and memorise during their journey. The unforgettable story could start at the point of your interest, depending what would you like to see, experience or avoid. For hiking lovers, there is an inviting call from Patagonia. Did you know that one portion of wild Patagonia belongs to Chile, while others( bigger one) to Argentina ? The Patagonia itself is one mosaic portray of authentic glaciers, unfriendly mountain peaks and mesmerising and breathtaking natural crafting that must be seen or captured. Some advise that if you want to drive and explore Patagonia, start with Chile since it has Carretera Austral, scenic highway of dreams. Nevertheless, my thoughts are going also into the direction of the highest volcano on Earth.Welcome to “Ojos del Salado“, the active stratovolcano placed between Chile and Argentina, not far away from legendary Atacama desert in northern Chile. This is also the highest mountain in Chile, with elevation of 6,893 meters (22,615 ft), the second highest peak in the Western and the Southern hemispheres. This volcanic mountain is one of my personal goals in mountain climbing so I am sure I will visit Chile and this region in the future, at least, to try to conquire that giant over there.
This land is also the seventh wine producers in the world. Chile has a specific climate conditions to come out with delicious wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère. The people there don’t consider wine as their national drink but rather pisco, that is some kind of liquor. The same is in Peru so it doesn’t surprise that those two countries argue about the origin of this liquor and which land has that original version:“Indeed, this feud is so intense that Peruvian piscos exported to Chile must remove pisco from their labels and vice versa. While Chile can claim that it produces the largest quantity of pisco, Peru argues that its pisco production is more regulated, resulting in better, top-quality pisco. “ Visiting both of them will help you decide which liquor tastes the best for you.
My next chapter of interest brings me to the driest place in the whole world, Atacama. According to the statistic records, the Atacama Desert receives less than 12 mm (0,47 in) of rain per year. It means that there are some zones that go hundreds of years without any drop of rain which ranks Atacama as the driest non-polar desert in the world. If you are there, do not miss the Valle de la Luna, meaning “Moon Valley”, where you have a chance to pretend you are visiting some another planet. That space atmosphere is attracting explorers and scientists and make Chile one of a kind.
I know that there are some Americans who are confused with Chilean flag that reminds on Texas flag, a bit. The secret is that Chilean is almost 21 years older than the one from Texas but the colours and the symbols on the Chilean flag have the following meanings:” white – the snow of the Andes Mountains; blue – the sky and the Pacific Ocean; the star – guidance and progress; red – the blood spilled in the fight for independence.” The Chileans are very warm and friendly people that love their country and enjoy national food, dance cueca, being proud that they have more than 2,900 volcanos and the Eastern Islands, penguins and the best natural made observatory in Atacama. It is encouraging to know that Chilean government invest in space research and even has officially UFO research bureau. Not to forget also the festivals all over, cool costumes and the best ice cream you will try.
When you are in Chile, you might visit Eastern Islands but note that they are remote about 3,510 kilometers (2,180 miles) west of continental Chile. This will throw away any plan of a day trip from Santiago because you will need 5,5 hours from Santiago to the Mataveri International Airport. Rapa Nui is a part of Chile since 1888. Nobody really has a clue what is the story behind the Moai, stone monoliths but there are indeed some assumptions. Who were the people who crafted those statues and why and how they are gone ? Based on the writing from scientific magazine, those Islands hide more mysteries than we previously thought : “Geologically speaking, Easter Island is an amalgamation of three volcanoes that erupted sometime around 780,000 to 110,000 years ago, so it’s an extremely young island. It lies near the western end of a 2,500-kilometer-long chain of underwater volcanoes called the Easter Seamount Chain that resembles the classic Hawaiian hot spot track.The original colonizers of the island are thought to have voyaged 2,000 kilometers from southeastern Polynesia in open canoes, or as far as 3,600 kilometers from mainland Chile. The most recent archeological evidence suggests colonization didn’t occur until about 1200 C.E. From that time until Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen first spied it on Easter Day 1722 – hence the island’s name – the people of Easter Island lived in absolute isolation from the outside world. No one from Easter Island sailed back to the mainland, nor did anyone from the mainland come to visit.Once these people arrived at the island, that was it. They were stuck there and had to work with the limited resources they had at their disposal — and it wasn’t much. “
I think it will take a lot of time for researchers to close the book and give us some potential answers and ideas of the ancient formula of survival. In the meantime, you can pick up the flight from Santiago and visit the silent monuments, trying to find your own tale. But, above all, do not miss the glorious Chile, kissed with beaches, hugged with desert and protected with raw volcanic mountains. This is the land of all four elements and you are the fifth one.
Welcome to Chile.
3 thoughts on “CHILE: WHERE THE LAND ENDS”
Look forward to your insight and photos of your bucket list trip
Another exciting article, Sarah !
Through your beautiful articles and your dreamy writing, you make the reader feel the urge to visit the places you describe.
Thank you for this article and all of your articles, Sarah !
Sarah’s elucidating and insightful article reminded me of the debate upon the appellation of ‘Chile’…
Homo sapiens have been inhabiting the southern regions of South America since c. 31,000 BCE, at least: archaeological evidence reveals this (e.g. Monte Verde in southern Chile). Yet, the factual and definitive etymology of the appellation ‘Chile’ remains unresolved…
Ostensibly, the most noted etymology is the Quechua word ‘chili’, meaning ‘Edge of Land’. Though, other indigenous civilisations of South America applied it to different topographical aspects (e.g. the Aconcagua of Peru used it to define ‘valley’).
The Iberian Conquistadors who interacted with the Inca peoples applied the name ‘Chilli’ to the region of Inca lands: this taken from the name of an Inca chief, Tilli. Thus, ‘People of Chilli’. The Spaniards Latinised the appellation to ‘Chile’ in the 1500s.