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‚Äôs Big Ben. The Museo Regional and the Cat√≥lica 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. Caf√© del Centro has a nice atmosphere and good coffee, while Don Pollo serves the best rotisserie chicken in the region.