Souvenirs from Chile
Souvenirs from the Republic of Chile are fun and elegant reminders of your vacation, and can keep the memories alive for years to come. One of Chile's principle mineral exports is copper, and is used to create many decorative items, such as plates, pictures, maps and dining items. Jewelry featuring lapis lazuli, a stone only found here and in Afghanistan, will delight with its deep blue colors. You can find it also made into paperweights and small statues. The nearby Easter Islands also provide many Moai statue souvenirs, in the form of postcards, key chains, refrigerator magnets, earrings and T-shirts bearing the images of their stone heads. Another Chilean souvenir is a trompo, a wooden top wound with string popular with children. Be careful! It's not as easy as it looks! You can also try the emboque, a traditional game where you try to catch a wooden cup on a stick.
Chilean Plant and Animal Life
Relatively geographically isolated from the rest of South America, Chile's wildlife has been given a chance to evolve in a distinctive fashion. You will not find the colorful avian species, but you will be delighted by the tiny pudu deer, the majestic puma and fuzzy guanaco. On the coastline, penguins and seals frolic in the waters, swimming past many different kinds of whales. The plant life and landscapes are just as varied. Barren deserts of cacti, including the copihue, the national flower of Chile, are dotted with brush plants that are hardy against the dry, hot northern climate. As you head south, the traveler will encounter temperate forests full of evergreen, laurel and flowering magnolia trees that thrive in the heavy rainfall. Grasslands dominate as you reach the southernmost latitudes, due to the bitter cold and harsh winds. Interestingly enough, Chile is home to over 3,000 fungi species, 1,995 of which are endemic to the country alone.