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Antofagasta and Calama

Chuquicamata

Everything at Chuquicamata is huge, from the 3.4 km by 4.5 km open pit mine itself to the trucks and machines. ...

Historic District

Iquique’s Historic District is home to some of the country’s most well-preserved artifacts from the saltpeter industry. ...

The Gateway of Antofagasta

No visit to Antofagasta is complete without a photo of its famous “Gateway.” ...

Salitre Route

The best way to get to know the pampa in all its rugged melancholy is to visit salitre (saltpeter) offices. ...

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Explore the Past and Present in the Atacama Desert

The port town of Antofagasta, (1,377 km from Santiago) and the city of Calama (1,574 km) are at the heart of the Chilean mining industry. Though this part of the northern region is home to the country's most important copper mines, visitors will find other treasures here as well.

Situated just 215 km northeast of Antofagasta, Calama calls itself "the land of sun and copper." Its vibrant economy and entertainment scene revolve around mining, and it is home to the miners who work at the Chuquicamata copper deposit just 15 km away. Tours of this giant open-pit mine, which can be seen from any part of the city but is definitely worth a visit, are offered year-round. The site measures more than four kilometers in diameter and reaches depths of nearly 1,000 meters.

In terms of services, Calama is the point of departure for expeditions to inland towns like San Pedro de Atacama, Chiu-Chiu and Caspana.
Both cities also offer access to the Paranal Astronomy Center, one of the most important in the world.

Deserts, beaches, enormous mining deposits, altiplano towns and stargazing are all within reach.

 

Featured Destinations

a  Historic District

b  Chuquicamata
c  Gateway of Antofagasta

d  Salitre Route

 

Getting There

en avion
By Plane
From Santiago, there are direct flights to Cerro Moreno Airport in Antofagasta and El Loa in Calama (2 h).
bus
By Bus
Buses from Santiago stop in Antofagasta before continuing to Calama. The ride takes a total of about 23 hours, so it's a good idea to take a sleeper line.

Buses depart from:
- Terminal Los Héroes: Located on Tucapel Jiménez and Alameda near the Los Héroes Metro Station. A number of bus lines offer service to the northern part of the country. Telephone: (562) 420-0099
- Terminal San Borja (formerly Terminal Norte): Located at San Borja and Alameda near the Estación Central train station. Bus companies offer service to northern Chile and within the Metropolitan Region. Telephone: (562) 776-0645

en auto
By Car
From Santiago to Antofagasta, take Route 5 north and then Route 26 or Route 28 west (1,377 km).
To Calama, continue along Route 5 north until its forks at Carmen Alto. From there, take Route 25 northeast (215 km).
Coming from the north via Route 5, take Route 24 (Calama-Tocopilla) east.

 

Activities that we recommend

 

Tips

01

Resort Towns The Huanchaca Ruins Observatories
You can reach the area's most popular resort towns (Juan López, Mejillones and Hornitos) by heading north along the highway that leads to the La Portada monument. In Mejillones, you'll find simple but quality hotels as well as good restaurants for all budgets. You'll find the Huanchaca Ruins Cultural Park and the Atacama Desert Museum in a metal foundry that closed in 1902. They are located in the southern sector of the city of Antofagasta, and can be reached by taxi or car (simply follow the signs). From the city's downtown area, head south along Avenida Argentina. The ruins will appear on your left-hand side before you reach the village of Coviefi. The most important observatory in this is area is Cerro Paranal, which is located 130 km from Antofagasta. Run by the European organization ESO, it is open to visitors on the last two weekends of every month (except December). You need to make reservations in advance. For more information, see www.eso.cl.

02

Climate
Calama can have warm days in winter and very hot days in summer, but it's always very cold at night (especially during the colder months, when the temperatures can drop to -11ºC). Make sure you pack accordingly.

 


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