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From salty-desert top to glacier-crowded bottom, Chile is a gobsmacking reminder of nature's beauty and power. This narrow trickle of a country is jammed with enough geysers, mountains, beaches, forests and volcanos to keep adventure nuts slavering for a lifetime. Travellers are mostly drawn to this string bean country because of its spectacular Pacific coastline and Andean highlands, and because of the opportunities it offers for adventure sports. Chile's distinctive culture has survived the violence and repression of its recent history and is thriving once again thanks to a people noted for their warmth and resilience. Despite having the most European community in South America, indigenous traditions persist in the Andean foothills and in the southern plains, while some of South America's finest national parks draw trekkers and guanaco spotters alike.