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Tel: 55, Pop: 300,000


Many tourists do not give Antofagasta a second thought - and it is probably a good idea if time is limited in Chile. There are more interesting places to see in the north of the country for short-term visitors. That said, the city does have a few sights and is a good place to fill up on essential supplies or find decent banks and ATMs. Antofagasta was a Bolivian city until 1879 when it was annexed during the War of the Pacific. These days, the city is flourishing as an export center for the mines in the region. The downtown area is compact with several older buildings, while the costal avenue is more modern.


The city has an distinctly European flavor bestowed upon it by former British residents who built the Torre Reloj, a replica of Britain’s Big Ben. The Museo Regional and the Católica del Norte have some interesting items on display and there are good views of the city from Ruinas de Huanchaca.


Antofagasta has an mix of budget and expensive accommodation with little in the middle-range. Businessmen are quick to check in to chain hotels such as the Radisson or the Holiday Inn Express for the amenities. Big-spenders beeline toward Hotel Antofagasta, which is the best in the city with a great view of the water. Budget travelers should hit up Hotel Brasil or Hotel Isla Capri.


As expected from a city by the sea, there is good seafood to be found in Antofagasta. Club de Yates serves oysters and fish near the port. Picadillo has above average sushi, while El Arriero is the place to go for a great steak. Café del Centro has a nice atmosphere and good coffee, while Don Pollo serves the best rotisserie chicken in the region.



Other places nearby Antofagasta: Calama, Huara, Putre, Taltal, San Pedro de Atacama, Pica, Iquique, Arica, Mejillones and Mami√Īa.

By Chris Hughes
Traveling South America to give Viva readers the most up-to-date information...
12 May 2009

Things to do in Antofagasta

Museo Regional

The Museo Regional is housed in the former Aduana - the customs building which was originally built in Mejillones but disassembled and moved piece by piece to Antofagasta in 1888.. The museum has ...
Antofagasta, Chile

Ruinas de Huanchaca

The hillside at the southern end of Av. Argentina was once the foundation of a 19th-century British-Bolivian silver refinery. Take colectivo 3 from downtown, ask to be dropped at the Minas de Plata, ...
Antofagasta, Chile

Torre Reloj

No, you have not just been teleported to London if you spot Big Ben in Chile - you are looking at Torre Reloj in Antofagasta. British residents erected this replica of London’s Big Ben in ...
Historical Building
Antofagasta, Chile

Train Station

This dark green train station, which was once a stop on the Antofagasta-La Paz railway, has been restored, though it is not open to the public. Its floor dates from1887 and the upper floor from 1900. ...
Historical Building
Antofagasta, Chile

Católica del Norte

There are a variety of artifacts and items relating to the Norte Grande on display here from the Catholic University. ...
Historical Building
Antofagasta, Chile

Monumento Natural La Portada

The temperamental Pacific Ocean has pounded and eroded this gigantic rock formation situated on top of a volcanic base into a natural arch. It is the main attraction of a 31-hectare piece of ...
Antofagasta, Chile

Juan López

Slightly north of La Portada there is a paved road that heads west to the charming beach village Juan López. The beach has soft, gray sand and the water can be relatively warm - at least compared to ...
Antofagasta, Chile

Ma√Īo de Desierto

A huge, 11 meter-high granite hand emerges from the sand with its fingers stretched toward the sky at the junction of Ruta 28 and Panamericana 75km south of Antofagasta. This attraction was built in ...
Antofagasta, Chile

Observatorio Cerro Paranal

Observatorio Cerro Paranal has four 8.2-meter telescopes and is one of the highest-powered telescopes in the world. It is located approximately 120km south of Antofagasta on Cerro Paranal at 2,664m ...
Antofagasta, Chile
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