CHILE’S PEARL OF THE NORTH
Rich in history, industry, and spectacular scenery, Antofagasta is Chile’s second largest city and a gateway between the vast Atacama Desert and the pristine South Pacific coast. White sands and calm waters hug the length of this booming mining city. Any and all beach-related leisure activities are strongly encouraged in Antofagasta’s consistently pleasant climate.
The Plaza Colon is a prime starting point to get your bearings. Stroll this beautiful 19th-century square where you’ll find the Antofagasta Cathedral and the Torre Reloj—a (much smaller) replica of London’s Big Ben—surrounded by soothing fountains and palm trees. Engage in a little retail therapy at the nearby Mall Plaza Antofagasta, shop for fresh seafood at fisherman’s harbor, or watch local merchants feed sea lions and pelicans.
Venture inland for a taste of Chile’s incredibly diverse terrain and environments. Tour incredibly scenic salt flats, lagoons, and sprawling desert landscapes. Back along the coast, just north of the city, gaze in awe at nature’s magic—and might—when you visit the Monumento Natural La Portada, a stunning 141-foot high natural stone arch surrounded by crashing waves and even higher cliffs. It’s the perfect vantage point for a memorable photo. It’s also a favorite spot for gulls, pelicans, seals, and dolphins. Southeast of the city, visit the massive ‘Hand of the Desert’ by sculptor Mario Irarrázabal, which reaches from the sands toward Chile’s famous clear, starry skies. Or cheer on the home soccer team, Deportes Antofagasta, which plays in Chile’s top league.