Nature and Wildlife

Sea lion Chile's flora and fauna, like its geography, are singular and tremendously varied, and for many visitors constitute one of the country's principal attractions. Many of Chile's plants and animals are endemic, meaning that they are found nowhere else on earth. Of some 5,100 identified plant species, over 2,500 are endemic. Many unique ecosystems are preserved within one of South America's finest national park systems: Chile ranks seventh in the world, and third in the Americas, in percentage of landmass protected. Five UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves underscore Chile's importance as a treasure trove of biodiversity. Because of tremendous variations in climate and geography, few plants or animals are found throughout Chile's entire 2,600-mile length. Guanacos - wild relatives of the llama and alpaca - were once common throughout the Chilean Andes, but now are found only in the far north and in Patagonia. Pumas still inhabit many national parks throughout the country, and the Andean Condor is often seen in high altitude environments. Coastal environments are somewhat more homogeneous, thanks to the Humboldt Current, which carries cold, nutrient-rich waters north along the Chilean coast. Thanks to the Tourism Promotion Corporation of Chile : 202-530-4109