Located in a long, narrow strip along the coast, Antofagasta is the capital of the Second Region, enchanting its visitors with the singular beauty of its desert landscapes, clear skies, and long beaches washed by the Pacific Ocean. All these features, together with its comfortable climate, historical monuments, and rich culture, make Antofagasta an unmissable destination. Known as Chile’s quintessential mining zone, Antofagasta is one of Chile’s most important ports. Most of the region’s copper exports are shipped from here to the rest of the world. Antofagasta is also famous by its natural monument of La Portada, a beautiful geological arch that became one of the most iconic landscapes of the area. If you decide to visit this city you will understand why it is called the “Pearl of the North”.
Activities for all tastes
One of the biggest attractions of the region, La Portada, is located in northern Antofagasta. Besides admiring this impressive sea rock formation, visitors can watch several types of birds, seagulls, and pelicans. There are also two trekking paths (please note that these might be closed temporarily due to rock landslides). Its various beautiful beaches, with temperatures ranging from 17° C and 20° C (62° F - 68° F) attract tourist from all over the world who seek a well-deserved rest. The ones standing out are Juan López, Hornitos, El Huascar, and Las Almejas, among others.
Historical and cultural capital
Discover the history of saltpeter by taking a tour from the city to get to the now-abandoned Saltpeter Works located in northern Antofagasta, particularly the remains of Francisco Puelma, Chacabuco, and Pamapa Unión. If you take Route 5 you can go through the Tropic of Capricorn to get to Baquedano, where you can visit the Railway Museum. A tour by the historic quarter will lead you deeper into this region's past; you will be able to get to know the architecture heritage of the city, represented by the Municipal Theater, the Cathedral, or the House of Culture. You can also visit the National Museum of Antofagasta or admire the famous Ruins of Huanchaca.
Closer to heaven
Having one of the clearest skies of the planet is one of the perks of visiting the Region of Antofagasta, therefore, stargazing becomes a great attraction for tourists, both amateurs and experts in astronomy, who go there to study and learn about the planets and galaxies To safeguard the quality of Antofagasta’s skies, UNESCO granted the Starlight certification to 3 destinations of the region. One of them is the famous Hand in the Desert, an impressive sculpture located in southern Antofagasta where stargazing is possible with or without instruments.
If time is not an issue, you can’t miss this lovely fishers’ peninsula awash with great cultural and architectural value that dates from the saltpeter era; there you can practice water sports, visit the pier, or take a boat ride. If you decide to swim underwater, you will be surprised by the wide variety of sea life. You can’t miss its diverse gastronomy, specially fish and shellfish.
If you have more time...
San Pedro de Atacama
Its spectacular landscapes have their source in the underground waters and Altiplanic lagoons. Among volcanoes, museums, and archaeological ruins, San Pedro turns into a magical destination. Not far from you can find natural hot springs. If you travel during the summer, be prepared for the occasional rains of the Altiplano winter.
For those who seek adventure
In the coasts of Antofagasta you can play several sea sports, such as diving, surfing, or kitesurfing. If you prefer ground sports, you can go sandboarding or tour around in a buggy. The most daring can enjoy paragliding.
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