Iquique is a city where people really know how to live. It’s not unusual to spot a convertible sports car zipping along the esplanade, which is framed by tall white buildings and runs along the beach.
The Duty Free Area created in 1975 transformed this city into a center of commercial exchange, especially with the countries of Mercosur and Asia Pacific. In the Zofri Mall, which is part of this area, you can find electronics, fine perfumes and liquors as well as all sorts of high-tech gadgets and vehicles.
If you’re not looking to shop, you can spend your days by the sea. The average annual temperature is 18ºC, and the area known as “The Peninsula” is home to great restaurants that serve authentic mango sours made with the creamy tropical fruit that is one of the region’s treasures.
Southeast of Iquique you’ll find the oases Pica and Matilla and plantations producing mangos, guavas, oranges, grapefruits and lemons.
The Mamiña Circuit is one of the best ways to explore the foothills of the Andes and their hot springs and interesting archeological sites.
Towards the pampa, abandoned saltpeter mining towns like Humberstone offer a look into the area’s mining past. There’s also Pisagua, a saltpeter port that still features the buildings from the golden age of this mineral.
Iquique has restored its old quarter to show off its valuable architecture and refurbished museums. This is no doubt the the perfect place to enjoy your dream vacation.
|Iquique – Pozo Almonte – La Tirana||Huara – Isluga Volcano National Park – Colchane|
|Iquique – Mamiña||Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter offices|
|The Oases of Pica and Matilla||Celebration of La Tirana||Chumbeques|
|These two towns are linked by a shared history, and compete by imitating one another. One of them put an altarpiece featuring The Last Supper in one of their churches with dolls the size of children, and the other promptly followed suit. If one makes their alfajor cookies using fruit marmalade, the other will do the same (and neither is willing to share the recipe). Both offer visitors a chance to visit natural hot springs with underwater sources.||The city of Iquique fills up with visitors between July 12 and 18 for the Celebration of La Tirana, one of the most important religious celebrations in Chile. For nearly a week, dozens of congregations flock to the town of the same name to dance for the Virgin of Carmen wearing colorful garb. The 16th is the most important day of the ceremony.||One of the most characteristic things about the city is its chumbeques. Chumebques are alfajor-like cookies whose recipe was brought over by Peruvian immigrants, and which were patented in the city by a Chinese immigrant. Although you can find them in certain supermarkets in other parts of the country, if you’re in Iquique you simply have to try them. The original recipe calls for honey filling, but you can also find varieties featuring chocolate, mango, guava and papaya.|