On Chiloé Island also in the south, a distinct chilote culture emerged over the centuries from a relatively harmonious blending of Indian and Spanish backgrounds; this culture is characterized by rich traditions of music, dance, and mythological tales.
Formidable natural barriers mark present-day Chile's boundaries, isolating the country from the rest of South America.
To the north the arid Atacama Desert separates it from Peru.
The high Andes peaks constitute its natural frontier with Bolivia and Argentina.
The southern region by contrast is chilly and rainy, having icy fjords and glaciers at the southernmost tip.
The capital city, Santiago, is located in the central region and constitutes the political, cultural, and economic center of the country, and the homeland of the historically dominant Central Valley culture.