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Southern Oceans.

Ice Diving.

Sailing.

 



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Sailing expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia,
Cape Horn, Falklands & Tierra Del Fuego
On this virtual tour you may see: Majestic mountains dipped in snow...
Crystalline waterways... Whales, seals, Soaring Andes condors...
Ice-blue Glaciers that shimmer like jewels..

Map of Chile

Map of Chile


Getting To Tierra del Fuego, Chile

You fly into Santiago, Chile first, then take Lan Chile or one of several other airlines such National to Punta Arenas for an overnight stay.

The following day you take a beautiful 45 minute flight on DAP AIRLINES to Puerto Williams over Tierra Del Fuego Island seeing many glaciers, lakes and the snow capped Andes where they end plunging into the sea.

We can make your DAP and Lan Chile reservations.

You may take LAN Chile or several other airlines from Santiago with a short 1 hour stopover in Punta Arenas, the world's most southern city and then a one hour flight to Puerto Williams, the world's most southern town and ancient camping ground of the Yamana Indians.

Yamana Indians

Yamana Canoe Indians


There are only connections available by yacht to Puerto Williams via Ushuaia.

We will be glad to help you with your stay in Punta Arenas or Ushuaia and your transportation to and from Puerto Williams.

Punta Arenas {poon'-tah ah-ray'-nas} is the capital of Chile's Magallanes province and the southernmost mainland city in the world, lies on the Strait of Magellan. The population is 111,700 (1987 est.). Sheep raising, lumbering, canning, coal mining, and shipping petroleum from TIERRA DEL FUEGO are the main economic activities.


Founded in 1847 to strengthen Chilean claims to the strait, Punta Arenas became a coaling station for ships en route to California. Good palces to stay are the Hotel Cabo De Hornos and the Hostal Califate in Punta Arenas which offer a discount to Victory Yacht Cruises' passengers.

Punta Arenas is close to the world famous national park "Torres Del Paine". With time permitting, you may want us to to book you a quick 2-4 day tour at this beautiful place as part of your holidays

Puerto Williams, your destination is just a short 45 minute hop from Punta Arenas flying over the beautiful ice fields, Beech forrests, glaciered valleys and the snowy Andes mountain peaks of Tierra Del Fuego. (Sit by the window and get some photos)

In Tierra Del Fuego you will breathe some of the purest air in the world supplied by 15,000 miles of unobstructed and uncontaminated open ocean winds.
Safety & Comfort
Chile is one of the the safest, and most stable countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
Because of this, Chile is considered by many entrepreneurs to be a very good country for investment.
Chileans love forigners and try to copy them in every way.
They will make you feel very much at home even if you do not speak Spanish.
Many American hotels exist in Santiago such as the Hyatt Hotel.


Torres Del Paine in Patagonia
Near the fjord area of Tierra Del Fuego and the Beagle Channel one may visit the famous Torres Del Paine National Park on the southern edge of the Patagonia Ice Cap. The area is easy to get to from Punta Arenas with transportaion of buses, taxis and minibuses. It is possibly the most famous national park in South America with 60,000 visitors last season. It is some 100 km north of Puerto Natales. It is a 2422 sq. km park that was given the World Heritage status in 1978 by UNESCO.
It gets it's name from three wonderful and very prominate polished columns of pink granite, the Towers of Paine (Torres Del Paine). Cerro Paine Grande, the tallest of the peaks, is covered by ice mushrooms a phenomenon peculiar to the Southern Andes. The park lies between the great windswept plains of Patagonia and the vast southern continental icesheet. Here you may go backpacking and trekking, or you can join programs to do the mountain climbing as well. Nandu and Guanaco (Ostrich and Alpaca like animals) are frequently seen in the park refuge.
There is a broad diversity of fauna y flora. Backpackers should have experience with overnight trips in rough country; those who desire to make ascents should have mountaineering ice and snow climbing experience. The Torres Del Paine lookout is the most spectacular in the park and is a short trek. The summit of the tallest tower is almost 10,000 ft above sea level. The best season is from November thru April. A map of the area is issued free upon entrance to the park. Good information and maps on the area are found in the .

Safety
Chile is one of the the safest, and most stable countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
Because of this, Chile is considered by many entrepreneurs to be a very good country for investment.
Chileans love foreigners and try to copy them in every way and will make you feel very much at home even if you do not speak Spanish.
Many American hotels exist in Santiago such as the Hyatt Hotel.



CHILE IS A MIRROR IMAGE OF the U.S. WEST COAST



Visas: From the US , for US citizens you don't have to have any special visa ( you get a "tourist visa") to stay as a tourist for up to 90 days. They give you a piece of paper ( a form) on the plane or ship and that's about it. But don't lose your copy of that form, they take it back from you on the way out of Chile and if you don't have your copy it kind of fouls up their system and they frown a lot. For other countries/citizens contact your airline or travel agent. IMPORTANT, show this visa at hotels and you avoid the 18% IVA sales tax. Also important for US and Canadian citizens. They pay a one time $65 entrance tax, one time in the sense that it is good as long you use the same passport. Why only US and Canadians? I think it has to do with grapes, yes grapes, sour grapes in fact.

Hotels: A few tips are in order here. First if you are a foreigner then if you show your passport and the tourist visa you don't pay the IVA taxes (18%) on hotels. Also there are Cabinas ( Cabins) which are cabins for tourists and can be very nice with kitchens, etc. Hotels are hotels. Motels can be a good deal or they may be the kind of place that charges by the hour, really for locals, we have avoided listing the by the hour type.

Hostals: This is a confusing term. It really means generally a very large family dwelling that has been converted to a hotel. It may have been a ranch or simply a very large home before conversion. Don't let the word fool you, some of the Hostals are every bit as good as Hotels, and some are better!

Hosteria: Again a confusing term. And like the Hostals these can be excellent and like any hotel some not so hot. It is the same as a Hostal except it usually has a more developed restaurant.

Communication:Chile has cable TV( CNN, HBO etc.), a great phone system, and one of the highest incidence of personal computers in Latin America. Chile has a definite European flavor having been settled largely by Italians, Germans and English and of course Spanish, and a few Texans ( ever check out their respective flags?). They also have Internet with a bunch of ISP's, 'course the average price is 3x the US and they charge local calls by the minute!!!

Cellular phones: A good tip is to rent a cell phone while you are there, you can use one from almost anywhere. Sometimes your provider can set it up for you before you enter Chile. You can rent a cellular phone in Chile for a reasonable price and it works throughout the country. It really is amazing that you can keep in touch with the folks back home from almost anywhere in Chile.

Language: Spanish, a few speak English, German and Italian.

Currency:Peso, check the banks for exchange rate to your currency . Because of the stability of the Chilean economy it has stayed around 720 pesos to 1 US Dollar . Changing money from and to most currencies is unrestricted and easy. They have what they call RedBank here and they are everywhere. It is a automatic teller machine (ABM) and if you have a US bank card you can usually use it! Really. It will give you pesos at a good rate and charge your bank at home, and you don't have to carry a lot of cash. Most places will accept US currency but it is always better to use local currency.

Credit Cards: Most hotels, restaurants and shops will take the better known credit cards like American Express, Diners, VISA or Mastercharge, but it is always good to ask first.

Electricity:220v 50c, don't plug in your 110v hair dryer unless you want to fry it and your hair!!! You can get transformers that will work depending on the amps you need. If the transformer starts sparking a smoking it is a good sign it doesn't have enough amps! The wall plugs are different but the adapters are cheap and pretty easy to find.

Water: Depends on area but generally OK. However, to be on the safe side drink bottled water with gas ("con gas" or "agua mineral"). That way you know it wasn't filled at a nearby stream or worse. It also makes brushing your teeth more exciting! It sounds like a whole 4th of July (or Bastille day if you are French) in your mouth!

Weather: Because of the extreme length of Chile it varies a lot by region. In general it is of course the reverse of the US August being winter there and December being summer. It can be quite Chile (or is it chilly?) in the winter, I mean June to more or less September so be prepared. The summers, October to May, can be very warm. UV sunglasses are also advised the UV here is very high.

Local Time: GMT minus 5 hours ( During Chile daylight savings time -4hours). During our (US East Coast) winter there is 2 hours later than the USA East Coast. In summer Chile and the East Coast US are on the same time.

Telephones: For telephone the country code is 56, Santiago is city code 2 so you would dial 56-2-xxxxx, other cities have different city codes.

Transportation:

*    Air: Chile has very frequent flights from most countries in the world, all international flights go to Santiago's Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Pudahuel about 23 KM. from the city center. Most larger cities (over 150,000 population) have daily air service.
*    Santiago Airport: We get lot of questions about this. The domestic ariport is 200 meters from the International. Really the same airport with different terminals. Oddly there is no airport hotel! So the nearest is in Santiago 30 minutes to 1 hour from the airport depending on time of day.
*    Airport Tranfers: For as little as $14.00 US per person you can take a safe, clean, new, professionally driven Delfos shuttle bus from the airport to your hotel. Delfos also has direct service from the airport to the Santiago ski areas and the costal area of Vina Del Mar. The fares are guaranteed so why hassle with a taxi driver over fares!
*    Cabs: Taxis: Taxis in town are fairly cheap. In Santiago if you pay much over $5US to go anywhere you probably took a VERY scenic route. If you see the same statue twice that should give you a clue! By law they are all supposed to equipped with meters. Quality of the cars varies from escapees from demolition derbies to nice modern cars. Two cautions: make sure the meter is running and started at the base (about 220 pesos) and you have small change. Tipping taxis is not customary but appreciated.
*    Subway: Called the METRO, it is clean, effecient and safe. It is a great and very inexpensive way to get around Santiago.
*    Train: There is a train system that links Santiago and the rest of the country. It is both cheap and reliable. It isn't an Orient Express but it isn't full of goats and chickens either.
*    Roads: The Panamericana, also called route 5, goes almost the entire length of the country with helpful Carabinero (police) stations about every 5 feet. It is divided from Santiago to about 400 miles South. It is in very good condition generally with numerous gas stations (Texaco, Mobil, Copec) and they have usually the dreaded quick stops for Cokes, sandwiches etc. A car trip through much of Chile is both practical and enjoyable. There are also lots of pretty good quality motels along major roads that also can add to the fun of a car trip. You can drive with a valid foreign driver's license. Note that wearing of seat belts in Chile is mandatory, and in any case a darn good idea anywhere. Hertz has 17 locations throughout the country and provides good quality vehicles at good rates. As a plus they have 24 hour emergency service and even vehicles specially equipped for all sorts of terrain.


People:People in Chile are really genuinely friendly and helpful. They alone make a trip to Chile worthwhile.

Santiago: Just a few words to answer some common questions we get about the capital city. It is about 15 miles from the airport, about a 20 to 30 minute drive. It has a number of districts but in most cases they are all part of the city. Providencia and Las Condes and Vitacura districts are very fashionable with good hotels, shops, restaurants, bars. They are only minutes by cab from the "downtown" area. Most major businesses are located in these districts.

Safety: Chile is actually a pretty safe place for the tourist. But in Santiago, like any big city in the world, reasonable prudence is always a good idea. Don't wear a solid gold Rolex, a Timex will do, don't carry a large amount of cash, don't leave cameras and valuables exposed in an unoccupied car...just be smart.

Police: Well every country has to have them. In the case of Chile they are really very good in spite of the somber military style uniforms, they are called Carabineros. You will find the Carabineros very helpful and honest. If you do have a problem they will assist. In Chile seat belts are mandatory. One or two points: They frown on drunk driving a lot so don't do it, hey the cabs are cheap enough. They also use radar and laser for traffic speed enforcement so be forewarned.




Chile - Consular Information Sheet


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Chile has a stable government and a strong economy. Civil disorder is rare. Facilities for tourism vary according to price and area.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a stay of up to three months. At the international port-of-entry, a "processing fee collected under reciprocity" of 45 U.S. dollars is levied on U.S. citizen visitors.

The fee is payable in dollars only upon arrival in Chile, and the receipt is valid for multiple entries during the validity of the traveler's passport.

Dependent children under age 18 (including the children of divorced parents) arriving in Chile alone, with one parent, or in someone else's custody, are required by the Chilean International Police to present a notarized document certifying that both parents agree to their travel. This document must be notarized before a Chilean consular officer in the United States.

To exit Chile, children traveling under one of these scenarios require this same type of document. The one used for entry may be presented or one can be signed before a Chilean notary if executed in Chile. In either case, the document presented must be executed not more than three months prior to entry or departure.

Travelers considering scientific, technical, or mountaineering activities in areas classified as frontier areas are required to obtain authorization from the Chilean Government at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the expedition. The portions of Antarctica claimed by Chile are exempt from these pre-approval requirements. Officials at the Torres del Paine National Park require mountain climbers to present an authorization granted by the Frontiers and Border Department, obtainable at the Chilean Embassy or Chilean consulates throughout the United States.



SAFETY/SECURITY:

There are no known threats directed specifically against U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Chile. Traditionally, September 11-18 is an active period for public demonstrations. Violent political, labor, or student protests can occur at other times also, often near government buildings in Santiago and Valparaiso or in the vicinity of major universities.

No matter when such assemblies occur, American citizens traveling or residing in Chile are advised to take common-sense precautions and avoid any large gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. Additional advice about demonstrations, particularly during the September period, may be obtained from the U.S. Embassy at the telephone numbers listed below.

CRIME INFORMATION: Street crime is a problem in metropolitan Santiago in general and specifically in the city center. One should be particularly alert while walking in the downtown area, especially in the late afternoon, after dark, or on weekends, even in well-traveled areas. In Santiago and other large Chilean cities, thieves thrive on rush hour crowding on the street and aboard public transportation.

Crime is also prevalent at crowded tourist locations, at Metro (subway) stations, on trains and buses, and occasionally in taxis. Persons wearing expensive-looking jewelry or carrying luggage or cameras are favorite targets for pickpockets and purse snatchers. Bags and briefcases are stolen from chairs in restaurants and outdoor cafes.

Outside Santiago, robberies and assaults have occurred most frequently in the Vina del Mar and Valparaiso area, which becomes increasingly crowded during the height of the Chilean summer season (December through February).

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. This publication and others, such as Tips for Travelers to Central and South America are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402; via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs; or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Although major roads in Chile are generally in good condition, secondary roads are sometimes poorly maintained and/or lighted. At night, heavy fog conditions in rural areas have led to multiple-vehicle accidents with occasional deaths and injuries. Traffic jams during peak hours in downtown Santiago and other neighboring areas are common. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive.

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Chile is severely penalized and can lead to incarceration if the driver is involved in an accident. Additional road condition and safety information may be obtained from the Chilean Automobile Association, Avenida Vitacura 8620, Santiago, tel. (56-2) 212-5702. The National Tourist Bureau, SERNATUR, is located at Avenida Providencia 1550, Santiago, tel. (56-2) 236-1420 or 1416 or via their Internet site at http://www.sernatur.cl.

The U.S. Embassy also advises visitors to Chile that, according to local law, they must have an international driver's license in order to drive. Although car rental firms rent to clients with no international driver's license, several persons driving with only a U.S. license have been detained by the police for prolonged periods.

AVIATION SAFETY:
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Chile's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Chile's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.




Chile, on the west coast of South America stretches in a ribbon more than 4,200 km (2,600 mi) from Peru to the southern tip of the continent at Cape HORN, including the larger part of TIERRA DEL FUEGO, an archipelago separated from the mainland by the Strait of MAGELLAN. It has an average width of 177 km (110 mi). Excluding a disputed territory of about 1,251,000 sq km (483,000 sq mi) in Antarctica, also claimed by Great Britain, Chile is slightly larger than Texas. Outlying territories include EASTER ISLAND, the Juan Fernandez Islands, and other islands in the Pacific. The ANDES Mountains, reaching to more than 6,700 m (22,000 ft) above sea level, separate the country from Argentina and Bolivia. The capital and largest city is SANTIAGO, located in the central part of the country, where most of the population is concentrated. Manufacturing and mining make Chile one of the most important industrial nations in Latin America. Fertile soils in the Central Valley produce wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, and fruit. Chile, from the Indian Tchili meaning "the deepest point of the Earth," achieved independence in 1818.
Chile land boundaries:
total 6,171 km,
Argentina 5,150 km,
Bolivia 861 km,
Peru 160 km
Coastline: 6,435 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
International disputes: short section of the southern boundary with Argentina is indefinite;
Bolivia has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama area was lost to Chile in 1884; dispute with Bolivia over Rio Lauca water rights; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially


Geography

Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
Geographic coordinates: 30 00 S, 71 00 W
Map references: South America
Area:
total: 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
water: 8,150 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
Area-comparative: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 6,171 km
border countries: Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km
Coastline: 6,435 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: temperate; desert in north; cool and damp in south
Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,962 m
Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum
Land use:
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 55% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 12,650 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
Environment-current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation contributing to loss of biodiversity; soil erosion; desertification
Environment-international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography-note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions
People


Population: 14,973,843 (July 1999 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (male 2,137,255; female 2,044,605)
15-64 years: 65% (male 4,845,523; female 4,885,328)
65 years and over: 7% (male 440,010; female 621,122) (1999 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.23% (1999 est.)
Birth rate: 17.81 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Death rate: 5.53 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1999 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 10.02 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.46 years
male: 72.33 years
female: 78.75 years (1999 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.25 children born/woman (1999 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean
Ethnic groups: white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%
Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish less than 1%
Languages: Spanish
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.2%
male: 95.4%
female: 95% (1995 est.)
Government
[Top of Page]
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile
Data code: CI


Government type: republic
Capital: Santiago
Administrative divisions: 13 regions (regiones, singular-region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bio-Bio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana, Tarapaca, Valparaiso
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)
Constitution: 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended 30 July 1989
Economy

 
Economy-overview:

 Chile has a prosperous, essentially free market economy. Civilian governments-which took over from the military in March 1990-have continued to reduce the government's role in the economy while shifting the emphasis of public spending toward social programs. Growth in real GDP averaged more than 7.0% in 1991-1997 but fell to about half of that average in 1998 because of spillover from the global financial crisis. Inflation has been on a downward trend and hit a 60-year low in 1998. Chile's currency and foreign reserves also are strong, as sustained foreign capital inflows-including significant direct investment-have more than offset current account deficits and public debt buy-backs. President FREI, who took office in March 1994, has placed improving Chile's education system and developing foreign export markets at the top of his economic agenda. The Chilean economy remains largely dependent on a few sectors-particularly copper mining, fishing, and forestry. Success in meeting the government's goal of sustained annual economic growth of 5% depends largely on world prices for these commodities, continued foreign investor confidence, and the government's ability to maintain a conservative fiscal stance. In 1996, Chile became an associate member of Mercosur and concluded a free trade agreement with Canada.


Breathtaking, Exhilarating, Awesome... Adventures You Will Never Forget.

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