Chileans love flying kites. Catholic monks brought the first kites to Chile in the 18th century. Today, people of all ages fly kites for sport and amusement in spring and summer. Every weekend, thousands of Santiago residents fly their kites in public parks. Kites have even been honoured in Chilean literature as a national treasure.

Rayuela is a Chilean game enjoyed by people of all ages and particularly by men. It involves throwing heavy metal disks called tejos toward a string stretched across damp ground in an attempt to have them land on the string. Children play a similar game using coins rather than the heavy tejos.

The most popular spectator sport in Chile is fútbol, or soccer. Many consider it Chile's national sport. Major soccer events attract as many as 80,000 people to Santiago's National Stadium. Some of the most popular soccer teams in Chile include Colo Colo, Universidad Católica, and Universidad de Chile.

The Chilean rodeo is known as the la fiesta huasa. Rodeo teams often travel from village to village and rodeo competitions take place in arenas called media lunas (half moons). Huasos, Chilean cowboys, dress in colourful ponchos, fringed leggings, flat-topped hats, high-heeled boots and large spurs. The object of the competition is for a two-man team to control a steer by making it stop in a certain place without using a lasso.

A traditional Indian team game is called chueca, which means curved stick. A hole marks the centre of the field and a goal line is drawn across each end of the field. The game starts at the hole. Each team tries to knock a small rubber ball into it using a curved stick. The first player to succeed then drives the ball across the opposing team's goal line to score a point. Chueca was created by Indians long before the Spanish arrived in the area known today as Chile.

Chileans enjoy group activities and most people belong to a team, club or organization. Some take part in a variety of sports including tennis, fishing, golf, volleyball, polo, rugby, basketball, skiing, water-skiing, fishing, scuba diving, horseback riding and jogging.

Did you know?

One of the best tennis players in the world is a Chilean, Marcelo Rios. He has competed in major international tennis competitions, such as Wimbledon and the Australian Open.