Day 11 |
Oct 28, 2009

Antofagasta, Chile

By JJ Apéstegui, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: Noon Position: 23° 39.0’ S, 070° 24.3’ W

Weather: Clear

Air Temperature: 27C

Sea Temperature: 16C

Our arrival was on time as expected, around 8 AM, for a departure of the morning tour at 9:30 AM. A refined blend of traditional Chilean town and British colonial city, Antofagasta reflects its history in its architecture and according to our guide, Nestor, it is also the “biggest mining port of the world”.

We visited the old Silver Foundry, known as the Huanchaca Ruins, These are the remnants of one of the biggest and oldest silver foundries in South America, which closed its doors in 1912 and was declared a National Monument in 1974.

We visited the Barrio Histórico – home to many historic Victorian buildings. The old customs house blends Spanish colonial and Swiss chalet architectural styles, and the clock tower of the Plaza Colon is an exact small replica of Big Ben. Here we had some time to peruse the local market.

The second part of our morning tour was to the area north of the city, along the dramatic seacoast to admire La Portada, an enormous rock caressed by the sea and sand until a spectacular arch formed.

After this, it was back to ship, with a short stop for some at the Tropic of Capricorn, a monument marking this important latitude. Later that afternoon we sailed for our next destination, Isla Pan de Azucar.