Antofagasta -Photos: Jorge González
he phrase "where the desert ends into the sea" is the most frequent explanation people give to describe this beautiful and fascinating city. Antofagasta
is one of the most beautiful cities in Chile. Capital of the II Region in the country, it occupies a broad sea strip that, in addition to the immediate presence of the dessert and the Coast Mountain Range, contributes with a singular kind of beauty, quite unusual for a big city.
Antofagasta shelters almost 300 dwellers who live on commerce, industry and tourism. Located 1,364 kilometers North of Santiago de Chile
and 2,381 of the City of Puerto Montt
, it features one of the most important ports in the desert area, which makes it possible to export copper from the Chuquicamata and La Escondida mines to the rest of the world.
The image that made this city worldwide famous is La Portada: a beautiful arch of natural rock standing out from the ocean and perfectly carved by nature. Declared “Natural Monument”, at present it is visited by thousands of tourists who come along to catch its singular beauty in a photograph.
The vast and varied beaches are another attraction in the city. The most outstanding include Juan López, la isla Santa María, Mejillones and the singular Hornitos bathing resort, a real paradise for resting and relaxing.
A quick city tour lets visitors see the historical neighborhood with the old port, the former Customs building and the old government house, as well as the railway station and the worn-out but still standing wooden piers. Colón Square, with its old clock tower and its space for open-air band concerts, catches the eye of all visitors who stop there to find their way around. The same happens with the milestone that marks the Tropic of Capricorn, which is located in the outskirts. The Town Hall, Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, the Municipal Theater and the House of Culture surround the square. Pedestrian promenade Arturo Pratt starts there. Its malls are one of the most beautiful spots in the city. To the South, stand the famous Huanchaca Ruins. Today, that place is admired by tourists from all over the world.
The road, which runs parallel to the sea from Antofagasta to Tocopilla, is one of the most picturesque in Chile. It displays hundreds of fishermen coves wgere the sea lies to one side and the desert to the other. It is unforgettable when the sun sets.