Net Gains: Chipper in Chile

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The Independent Culture
General Pinochet's problems have thrown Chile into the headlines recently, but don't write it off as just another troubled, slightly backward South American country. The Internet has plenty of information about the place which might surprise you. An excellent starting point is the Chiptravel page. Unusually for a good travel site, it's not part of a travel publishing group's web pages. It is well put together and contains plenty of fresh and relevant facts. Especially good is its section on national parks, which you access through an interactive map on the page.

If you want more basic information about the country, Columbus travel guides have an excellent site ( navigate/top.asp), which has plenty of hard facts on documentation, local customs and so on.

There is also an excellent site on skiing in the Andes ( skichile/), plus a more general site (www.south which covers skiing opportunities in the entire South American continent and contains regularly updated snow reports for anybody interested in hitting the pistes.