Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...
, and the center of its largest conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...
(Greater Santiago). It is located in the country's central valley
Chilean Central Valley
The Central Valley , Intermediate Depression or Longitudinal Valley is the depression between the Chilean Costal Range and the Andes Mountains. The central valley should not be confused with Central Chile that encompasses part of the valley...
, at an elevation of 520 m (1,706.04 ft) above mean sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...
. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies
National Congress of Chile
The National Congress is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Chile.The National Congress of Chile was founded on July 4, 1811...
meet in the coastal town of Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...
, 120km to the west.
Chile's steady economic growth has transformed Santiago into one of Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...
's most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping centers, and impressive high-rise architecture.