Heading up or down the coast of Chile, Iquique is a logical stopping point – and you won’t be disappointed! It’s a gorgeous city where the sun shines practically all year round, making it excellent for paragliding (one of the best places in the world), surfing, scuba diving or sandboarding. Walking around town, the main street, Baquedano, is an attractive pedestrian boulevard with architecture that takes you back in time. The cathedral and the Plaza* Arturo Prat are both beautiful and worth taking a look at.
Outside Iquique, don’t miss the geoglyphs Atacama Giant, the world’s largest rock art, and the remarkable Cerros Pintados (painted hills) which demonstrate the ancient Tiwanaku culture. Enjoy the natural hot springs at the Pica Oasis, explore the Tamarugos Woods or marvel at the salt flats and the geysers of Puchuldiza.
If you’re after a change from all the outdoor activities, soak up some history in the nitrate mine ruins, Humberstone and Santa Laura, located outside of the city. It was this industry that gave life to the Iquique region but since the closure of the mines, they have become complete ghost towns and named World Heritage Sites.
If you’re there in July, go to the “Fiesta de LaTirana,” one of the most important religious festivals of the country .