Antofagasta, the pearl of the north

Francisca Pizarro | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Antofagasta is a port city of the north of Chile, and it is the regional capital of the region with the same name. The city is known for its iconic monument, "La Portada," a natural monument in the shape of an arch. Antofagasta is an oasis city in the middle of the desert, with a lot of activities and natural wonders to marvel with. 

Natural Monument La Portada 

La Portada is the icon of Antofagasta; it is a natural monument that looks like a stone arch. It sounds dull described as that, but it is a marvelous sight because the monument is in the sea. It feels as it does not quite belong to the place it is. Even though you could think the monument is human-made, it is not. As weird as it sounds, it was the sea that made the monument; more accurately, the erosion of the sea gave it its striking shape. There is a balcony where you can appreciate the monument and take time to enjoy the ocean breeze.

© istock/hernan4429

Cultural Park Huanchaca

The Cultural Park hosts the museum ruins of Huanchaca and the "Museo del Desierto" (Desert Museum), which has a rock garden. As the name suggests, Huanchaca is what is left from an ancient silver foundry, which was once the biggest and most modern foundry of South America. On the outside, there is a significant stone construction that tells by itself how old the building is. Fun (and kind of sad) fact: Its name is Quechua for "Bridge of sorrows." It was closed in 1902 because of the unstable prices of silver back then.


Historical Wharf of Antofagasta

It is most commonly known as the "Historic Pier." Originally it was called Saltpeter Pier Melbourne Clark. It opened in 1880 so that the city could transport nitrate. Another important thing is that it is a national monument (since 1978), as a historical event happened in the pier: in 1879, Chilean troops disembarked in there, while this was still Bolivia. Why is this fact historical? Because this action marks the start of the War of the Pacific.


Japanese Park

The Japanese Park of Antofagasta is a traditional place in the city. The park was a donation from the Nippon Mining Company and a small colony of Japanese families to Antofagasta. Besides that, the park has a Japanese aesthetic. Originally, it had a lot of walking trails, and it was constructed using the Kaiyushiki Teien system of construction, which lets the visitor appreciate every element of the park from any point of the place. Sadly, the park was neglected for many years and was remodeled a few years ago. Now it keeps the original elements that made it the hotspot of the city. Fun challenge: look for the koi fish and photograph them!

©Wikimedia/Francisco Martínez

This is just a first stroll among the many activities you can do in the city; it has a lot more to offer, but these are definitely some of the must-sees if you are in town! Come to Antofagasta,  the pearl of the north,  and walk through its shoreline to feel the ocean's breeze!

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