From Andrew Harper:
Chile comprises a narrow coastal strip between the Andes and the Pacific that stretches for more than 2,850 miles. Neither the mountains nor the ocean is ever far away. In the north, the Atacama Desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes the capital, Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agriculture. Today, Chile is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of wine. The south of the country features a string of volcanoes and lakes, and its coast is a labyrinth of fjords, peninsulas and islands. Owing to the 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 controls Easter Island, located 2,180 miles out in the Pacific. In general, Chile is safe, stable and prosperous, with none of the corruption and economic chaos plaguing some of its neighbors.- Andrew Harper
US EMBASSY: Santiago, Tel. 2-2330-3000.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Visit chile.travel before your trip.
DIRECT DIAL CODES: To phone hotels in Chile, dial 011 (international access) + 56 (Chile code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
CLIMATE: Chile consists of a northern desert area, a Mediterranean central section in which the majority of the population lives (Santiago) and a rugged, mainly forested southern region that is often compared to the coasts of Alaska and Vancouver Island (Puenta Arenas).
TIME: Two hours ahead of New York (EST).
CURRENCY: Chilean peso (CLP). Fluctuating rate valued at CLP612.5 = US$1.00 as of April 2015. Note: Our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.
Hotels & Travel Partners
Azul Profundo is located in the lively Bellavista neighborhood. As the name — “Deep Blue” — would lead you to suspect, the spe-cialty is seafood, a suspicion confirmed by the nautical décor. The menu features fish from Chile’s 3,000-mile coastline — swordfish, sea bass, salmon, hake and flounder, plus yellowfin tuna from Easter Island — and the best way to order them is a la plancha, which means grilled on a cast-iron skillet. Nothing else is required, except perhaps a turn of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. A good way to begin is with ceviche or the selection of ocean-fresh shellfish. The perfect accompaniment is a crisp Sauvignon Blanc — Chilean, of course.Calle Constitucion 111 Providencia Santiago
Aquí Esta Coco has long been a popular restaurant in the smart Providencia neighborhood. Having arisen from a major fire in 2008, it remains one of the capital’s most fashionable places, thanks to the loyal following of the Pacheco Baquedano family. We started with shellfish-packed empanadas, which were just delicious, and continued with the signature "mai mai" conger eel (which looked and tasted rather like North Atlantic loup de mer) in a fresh cream sauce with shrimp, mushrooms and ham. Closed Sunday and during the month of February.Calle la Concepcion 236 Providencia Santiago http://www.aquiestacoco.cl/?lang=en
Astrid & Gastón is actually the Chilean branch of a well-known Peruvian establishment, but pedigree aside, it is probably the best restau-rant in town. (In 2008, it was awarded this accolade by Santiago’s Guía Culinaria.) Also in Providencia, it is tucked into a small pink building with a bustling dining room flanked by an open kitchen. We were seated on the very pleasant upstairs terrace, which for some reason known only to locals seems to be regarded as a social Siberia! Fortunately, the food was superb and beautifully presented. The starter of grilled octopus was a lovely composition, arranged in the shape of a star and set on a potato purée along with tangy dollops of olive foam and dabs of pepper coulis. A main course of grilled turbot came with potato gnocchi in a zesty tomato sauce. The service could not have been more gracious. Closed Sunday.Antonio Bellet 201 Providencia Santiago http://www.astridygaston.cl/