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Culture: Intro

Undoubtedly one of the sexiest in the South American culture scene, Chile has money, Chile has art, literature, music, dance, Chile has a 96% literacy rate! Culture in Chile is no hidden gem, rather, it is a commodity shared by the rest of the world, those who love Pablo Neruda, Chilean wine and summers skiing in the Andes. The incredible thing is, however, that while seemingly more worldly than other Latino countries, Chilean culture is distinctly Chilean.


To say that culture in this country is well-defined suggests both bad and good. Chileans enjoy being Chilean, and this plain fact gives off an air of pride and detachment. They have had little outside influence, and whether this was built by the dictatorship, land-shape isolation or simply by choice, it remains a reality today. The Chilean people seem to keep to themselves, quiet, restrained and unamused by travelers passing in an out. In addition to the repressive Pinochet regime, Chileans have been influenced by a once tough-ruling Catholic church and conservative conformity. This suggests a lack of diversity in religious and ethnic terms, and so minor racism and prejudices among the conservative classes are present internally in Chile, and sometimes projected outward to foreigners. From this a significant class and gender divide has resulted. Cuicos are upper class yuppies, living in the posh parts of the country, a world away from poor coastal fishing families or indigenous Ayamara or Mapuche communities. And while women in Chile are gaining respect bit by bit, the homosexual community has not seen such growth.


This isn't to say that gringos will be unwelcome or that Chileans are a rigid people. Rather, it is evidence of the greater cultural divide. There are those who have stuck with this conservative mindset, others who have completely rebelled, and a majority middle ground that is progressive and peace-seeking. In some ways Chile's pride and self-preservation is an impressive strength. Coming from years of Pinochet censorship and repression, it has emerged as a country that is proud of its beauty and heritage. Chile is also extremely family focused, not with exceptionally large families, but child oriented and hard working. They have cut poverty in half in the last fifteen years and as aforementioned, Chile has an incredibly high literacy rate. Whether it concerns politics, education, film, literature, or setting fashion-forward trends, the culture here is rich and ready to be explored.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Chile: Safety, Bargaining in Chile, Suggested Itineraries , Safety in Puerto Natales, Safety, Safety, Talca Services, Other Tour Types, Crossing into Bolivia and Torres del Paine: Safety.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
25 Jun 2009

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