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Always Facing the Sea

Pablo Etchevers Pablo Etchevers (2) Jorge González (1)

After leaving Antofagasta and driving northwards along the highway bordering the Pacific, it is inevitable to arrive at Tocopilla, a lovely town full of history and surrounded by nature always facing the sea.

Visit to the District of Tocopilla from Antofagasta

The busy and crowded 21 de Mayo Avenue is the landmark of the center of this town, which shows the hours, habits, customs and meeting points of various generations. Towards the local coastline is the famous Coya Clock Tower, a historical building that has been part of the abandoned salt work named Coya Sur for 50 years, one of the crucial symbols of the past golden days of salt industry.

Wandering about the streets of Tocopilla, we arrived at the church called Our Lady of Carmen, built in 1866, where all the Catholic festivities and some social events are celebrated.

Visit to the District of Tocopilla from Antofagasta

From Arturo Pratt Avenue, travelers can watch and enjoy the huge bay in Tocopilla, as well as a diversity of port activities like fishing. El Salitre Beach, which lies nearby, offers visitors a calm rest, sunbathing or a good place for swimming. Another spot to spend a day on the beach is the Municipal Beach Resort named Caleta Covadonga.

Midday is the ideal time to visit the local Municipal Market, a picturesque and warm spot where various and attractive seafood bars invite travelers to dive into the ocean by tasting their dishes and (caldillos), but on solid ground.

A Little Bit “Farther” from Tocopilla

Just 15 kilometers North of Tocopilla is Punta Guanillos, a rocky vein from where it is possible to see a huge sea islet inhabited by numerous beautiful sea birds, mainly, guanero species.

Visit to the District of Tocopilla from Antofagasta

It is obvious that during a journey that always faces the sea nobody wants to miss the chance to spend a day on the beach. Therefore, by traveling only 28 kilometers visitors reach La Cuchara, a paradise of white sand made up by a modern golf club and an array of alternatives to practice water sports like surfing and diving.

A little bit farther on, now 120 kilometers from Tocopilla, is the Punta Blanca beach resort, attractive to visitors because of its wide variety of fish and seafood caught onsite, which can be tasted at any of the local restaurants. The perfect finale to this visit was the presence of magnificent native fauna, such as pelicans, patillos and sea lions.

Just 30 kilometers from town, La Piedra del Elefante (The Elephant Stone) is one of the most attractive spots visited by tourists. Here, there is an unusual geological formation resembling the profile of an elephant laid on the ground with its trunk facing the sea.

Visit to the District of Tocopilla from Antofagasta

Just 2 kilometers from this incredible formation are Conchuelas Beach and Conchuelitas Beach, full of colorful seashells of diverse mollusks coming in all shapes and sizes.

70 kilometers South of the town, we can find another alternative to visit: Cobija, a cove inhabited by native fishermen. During the colonization, towards the 18th century, this cove was a gateway for foreigners to trade goods with the Calama, San Pedro de Atacama and Chiu-Chiu settlers. Nowadays, you can still experience what remains from those days.

It is hard to define glamorous Tocopilla, a town which invites you to walk every corner, from North to South, so that nobody can miss any detail.

Visit to the District of Tocopilla from Antofagasta
Welcome Chile - Outings in Antofagasta
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It is one of the most typical towns in northern Chile and you can get there from Antofagasta or Iquique.

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