world map

Chile

Along the Pacific coast from the Arctic to the desert

date of entry 05/05/1997
mileage 163,367

capital Santiago de Chile

area 755.696 km²

population 16.634.603

GDP 248,4 Bill. US-Dollar

official language Spanish

The country stretches across 5,000 kilometres by the Pacific Ocean along the Andean Ridge. It extends through almost every climate zone, from Arctic areas in the south, through temperate rainforests and wine-growing regions around the capital, Santiago, all the way to the deserts of northern Chile. The people of Chile are often known in South America as "the Germans" – not because of their origins, but because of their hard work and their tendency towards punctuality. Otto crossed the Andes into Chile several times and covered the whole country.
  • A particular attraction in the Atacama are the El Tatio Geysers, where hot water gushes out at 3,500 metres altitude close to San Pedro de Atacama, near the volcano of the same name.
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  • There are many passes leading over the Andes from Argentina to Chile. Most of them are at a height of much more than 4,000 metres.
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  • The generally even slopes of the Andes often give a misleading impression of their height. Most of the mountain terrain is above the tree line.
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  • Time and again in the Andes you encounter conical mountains such as this – volcanoes, some of which are still active today.
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  • These fertile valleys produce excellent wine. Chile is considered to be the only country where old grape varieties that lack resistance to phylloxera still grow.
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  • In the southern part of the country, large lakes lie between forests and rugged, snow-covered mountains. The region is dominated by sheep and cattle farming.
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  • The south has the attractive national park Terra del Fuego with well-developed walking routes. The picture shows the famous Bahia Ensenada.
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  • Time and again during the southern-hemisphere summer, the Holtorfs found themselves beside isolated lakes such as this.
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  • The blue between the brown hills often seemed almost unreal.
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  • Although narrow, Chile is a land of long distances. From Tierra del Fuego, it is more than 3,000 kilometres to the capital, Santiago, and over 5,000 to Arica in the far north.
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  • Reconstruction of a pioneer settlement built by European immigrants.
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  • The Pacific waves wear away at the coastline. Dangerous currents often make it impossible to swim in the sea.
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  • A settlement built extending into the sea.
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  • The famous highway "Panamericana" running along Chile's coast from Santiago de Chile to the north, here close to La Serena.
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  • Alpacas are related to lamas and produce excellent wool.
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  • The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth. It stretches for around 1,200 kilometres along the Chilean coastline.
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  • For at least 15 million years, it has often not rained in this region for decades at a time. When precipitation does fall, it flows into large depressions and evaporates. This leaves behind huge salt pans, known as salars.
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  • At higher levels in the Atacama Desert, frost forms at night and then thaws and flows into the valley in small streams. Otto experienced a few cold nights here.
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  • Video: Chile – a land both hot and cold

Otto was here before ...

Argentina

date of entry 10 May 1997
mileage 164,686

Chile

date of entry 16 May 1997
mileage 166,486