The START of our expedition……CHILE
Chile stretches to the most southerly tip of continental South America, Cabo Froward, where we begin our expedition. Beyond Cabo Froward lies Tierra del Fuego (Land of the Fire) split between Chile and Argentina. South America culminates at Cape Horn, which is in fact an island, whose infamous wild waters sailors still fear.
The Valdivian temperate rainforest of Chile’s central and southern regions are rich in endemic flora & animal species.
At the far North of Chile lies the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest desert, covering 105000 km2 (just over ½ area of UK).
Chile is home to the ancient alerce trees (second oldest tree species in the world after American redwoods). Also the araucaria tree (monkey puzzle) which was collected by explorers and planted around the world.
Chile also holds claim to the world’s most southerly city, Punta Arenas, which we pass through about 30km after the start of the expedition.
With the Andes barricading Chile from the rest of South America, Chile has effectively become an island, perpetuating the evolution of endemic species including: helmeted water toad, cabbage tree, Atacama lava lizard, Araucanian herring & common rose hair tarantula.
Chile’s current population is 17,113,688, with a 0.83%, annual growth rate. 87% of the population live in urban areas.
Service industries are the most important sector of Chile’s economy, providing 52.3% GDP.