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About Chile / Puerto Varas



Chile has been politically stable and safe in the last three decades, despite significant social inequalities. Tourism soared and the economy seemed to be on the rise.

However, the recent social outbreak (starting October 18, 2019) which manifested itself in both peaceful and violent protests with thousands of people taking to the streets has cast some doubt as to whether Chile remains safe. Indeed tourism has gone down by 20%.

Meanwhile, the government has taken several steps to calm the situation, including the call for a plebiscite on a new political constitution, with a vote to take place on April 26th, 2020.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, on March 24th 2020 the Congress agreed to rescheduled the plebiscite from April 26th, 2020 to October 25th, 2020 and the subsequent Convention election from October 25th, 2020 to  April 11th, 2021.

Most of the conflict and violence took place in Santiago (capital) and also in Concepcion (2nd largest city) during October/November/December 2019.

Starting in 2020 public order has been largely restored.

The most visited tourist attractions, cities and locations in the North and South of the country remain calm and have not seen much of the occurrences taking place in Santiago. 

Puerto Varas, in particular, has not seen any unrest so far.

We believe participants attending the conference should not worry about encountering problems to travel to Chile, Puerto Varas or other locations within the country, except Santiago or its largest cities. Should the situation change for some reason and give rise to concerns, we will certainly provide all the necessary information immediately. For the moment, there are no safety issues in or near Puerto Varas and we expect this will remain so in the months to come. 

The next political event in Chile will take place on October 25, 2020, when the members who will write the new Chilean constitution will be elected, which will be after the ISM Conference. 


Chile is located in South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes mountain range to the east, the Atacama Desert to the north and Ice Fields (glaciers) to the south. Chile also shares borders with Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.

Chile has a population of approximately 17.5 million, divided into a diverse mix of ethnic groups:

White and non-indigenous 88.9%
Mapuche 9.1%,
Aymara 0.7%,
Other indigenous groups 1% (includes Rapa Nui, Likan Antai, Quechua, Colla, Diaguita, Kawesqar, Yagan or Yamana), unspecified 0.3% (2012 est.)

Chile has historically been a country of emigration but has slowly become more attractive to immigrants since transitioning to democracy in 1990 and improving its economic stability (other regional destinations have concurrently experienced deteriorating economic and political conditions). Most of Chile's small but growing foreign-born population consists of a mix of other Latin American countries, especially Peru, and most recently from Colombia, Bolivia, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Spanish is the country’s official language, 99.2%. About 10% of the population speaks English and 1% speaks indigenous languages, such as: Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui.

Roman Catholic is Chile’s predominant religion, with 66.7% of the population. 16.4% claims to be Evangelical or Protestant, 1% Jehovah’s Witness, other 3.4% and 11.5% of the population does not profess a religion.

Chile’s urban population is 89.5% of the total, Santiago, its capital, being the largest, with about 6.5 million of the population, followed by the port city of Valparaíso, 907,000 and the southern capital of Concepción, 816,000.


Chile is the longest north-south trending country in the world, extending across 38 degrees of latitude. It has a strategic location relative to sea lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage). The country boasts the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, spreading across the northern part of the country, and also the crater lake of Ojos del Salado, the world's highest lake at 6,390 m.


Total: 756,102 km2 (291,933 sq mi)
Land: 743,812 km2 (287,187 sq mi)
Water: 12,290 km2 (4,745 sq mi)
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua), Robinson Crusoe Island (Isla Juan Fernández) and Isla Sala y Gómez

Climate: Temperate in general, Desert in the North; Mediterranean in the Central Region; Cool and damp in the South

Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas, also known as "La ciudad de las rosas" or “the city of roses”, is a city located in the southern Chilean province of Llanquihue, in the Los Lagos Region or Lake District. 

The city is famous for its German traditions, its natural environment, and its popularity as a tourist destination. It enjoys a scenic location close to mountains, lakes, forests and national parks.It is located 20 kilometres from the city of Puerto Montt on the shore of the Llanquihue Lake, the second largest lake in Chile.The conical Osorno Volcano and the snowcapped peaks of Mt. Calbuco and Mt. Tronador are clearly visible from the lakefront. Puerto Varas is the southernmost of a string of towns on the western shore of Llanquihue Lake that includes FrutillarLlanquihue and Puerto Octay. The lake spans an area of 4,064.9 km2 (1,569 sq mi).

It was founded by German immigrants who settled the shores of Lake Llanquihue as part of a government colonization project during the presidency of Manuel Montt (1851-1861).


The weather in Puerto Varas is cool and damp. Weather in September/October can be rainy and cool, although climate change has made the area drier and warmer throughout the years.

It is recommended to bring warm clothing and rain gear. For more information please go to: https://www.yr.no/place/Chile/Los_Lagos/Puerto_Varas/


Santiago, Chile’s capital, largest and most populated city (7 million inhabitants) sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range. Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city’s old colonial core, is home to two neoclassical landmarks: the early-19th-century Royal Court Palace, which houses the National History Museum, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral.

Santiago’s city center also features museums such as the recently remodeled Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, and the Cultural Center La Moneda that sits below the Presidential Palace, el Palacio de La Moneda.

The impressive Museum of Memory and Human Rights seeks to draw attention to human rights violations committed during the Chilean dictatorship between 1973 and 1990, after the coup d'etat by the military junta. Its mission is to allow dignity for victims and their families, stimulate reflection and debate and to promote respect and tolerance in order that these events will never repeat themselves. https://ww3.museodelamemoria.cl/english-version/

Barrio BrasilBarrio ItaliaBarrio Lastarria and Barrio Bellavista offer a lively and bohemian style nightlife, full of restaurants, cafés and boutiques. The neighborhood dubbed as Sanhattan, located in Las Condes, at the intersection of Av. Andrés Bello and Av. Isidora Goyenechea, boasts five-star hotels, gourmet restaurants, bars and a shopping center. 

The Sky Costanera, the tallest tower in Latin America (300 meters high), located in Providencia and part of the Costanera Center Shopping Center, offers a spectacular 360 degree view of Santiago. 

Parque Araucano, a 30-hectare park in Las Condes, is nestled in between high rise office buildings and one of the city’s oldest shopping centers, Parque Arauco, which features a large selection of shops, boutiques, restaurants, luxury brand stores and a movie theater.