Official language: Spanish
Time zone: UTC-4 (summer), UTC-3 (winter)
Currency: Chilean peso (CLP)
Origin of the city’s name is not certain to this day, the most popular theory says, that this is a combination of words meaning, more or less, “a village by a big, dry lake” in one of local languages.
By the city you can move around in mini-buses, that cover 13 routes. Additionally, there is a network of smaller cabs (look out for black sedans), that have demarcated permanent routes.
25 km north from the city there is situated a huge, natural rock, making an arch over the Ocean’s shore. It was created from conjunction of volcanic rocks and sea sediments as result of leaching by water.
Antofagasta is an harbour city in the northern part of the country; it used to belong to Bolivia. Due to its history and economic importance, it is called the Pearl of the North.
In 1871 Antofagasta was appointed by the Bolivian government as “Puerto Mayor”, the main port in which trade not only with Europe and other American cities was conducted, but with ports in the whole world. It was mainly due to the coal excavation on the neighbouring areas and exporting it to other markets. From that period to this day are preserved beautiful, harbour buildings.
Most of the 19th century Victorian buildings you will see in Barrio Historico, the oldest part of the city, near the port. By Bolivar still is standing railway station from 1887 in colour of bottle green. Though you can’t go inside, but from the western side, through the fence, you will effortlessly see old engines and British phone booths.
An interesting museum is located by Avenida Balmaceda & Bolivar. An old custom office serves as premises for Museo Regional, where you can admire natural history of the region and phases of development of culture on the area of today’s Antofagasta. Among collected objects, there is a deformed skull, first colonial snacks or toys made of tins.
Where to go to have fun? If you are looking for an interesting spot, while spending there weekend, step by Café del Sol at Esmeralda 2013. That place on weekends is filled with music and local dance shows. In other days of the week you can eat tasty, local dishes in cosy, wooden interiors.
When you fancy some proper, meat dish, step by El Arriero at Condell 2644. Juicy steaks are specialty of that place, interior has rustic vibe, and in the very middle there is a fountain. We recommend parrillada – dish for two with huge portion of meat. What would a journey by without trying to eat as inhabitants of Antofagasta do? Visit Don Pollo by JS Ossa 2594. By small, plastic tables, in huge crowd, locals are indulging themselves with very cheap, juicy chickens.