Situated between the ocean and the mountains of the Coastal Range is Chile’s largest city of the northern region. Antofagasta's role as port for the exportation of nitrate began in 1866. In 1872, when silver was discovered, the first municipality was established. Today, Antofagasta is still the centre of nitrate and copper mining, as well as an important hub for rail traffic to La Paz, Bolivia, and Salta, Argentina. According to the treaty signed after the War of the Pacific, much of Bolivia's international commerce transits through Antofagasta.
The area surrounding Antofagasta is renowned for having the highest solar intensity in the world. Its archaeological zones, desert and mountains make it a sought after place for travellers looking for unusual destinations.
The city's landscaped plazas are a tribute to man's conquest over the desert. Plaza Colón boasts a landmark Westminster clock donated by the British residents; the design of the old Customs House is an odd combination of Spanish colonial and Swiss chalet-style architecture. The soil in the gardens along Avenida O'Higgins was brought from all over the world as ships' ballast, replaced by nitrate for their return voyages.
Arriving by sea presents the best view of Antofagasta's unique setting between the ocean, the desert and the mountains – arguably the city's most impressive feature.
Please Note: Due to the limited tourism infrastructure in this port, the buses and guides may not be up to Western standards but are the best available in this particular area. Local conditions may be challenging, therefore we urge flexibility and understanding as we visit these unique, and somewhat remote destinations.
Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at the Port of Antofagasta, located about 2 miles (3 km) from the town centre. Taxis are not allowed inside the port. Shopping The major shopping area for local goods is found along the three-block pedestrian zone. A handicrafts market is located in the Plaza del Mercado, featuring articles made by artists in the High-Plateau area. Most shops open a 9:30 a.m. and close between 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The local currency is the peso. Cuisine For good food with an excellent view, beach and swimming pool, the Hotel Antofagasta is worth a try. The Yacht Club is also noted for fine cuisine and a great view of the old harbour. Other Sites In addition to the attractions covered on the organized tour, sports enthusiasts will find a golf course with sand greens. Guests interested should check with the Shore Concierge Office on board well in advance for availability and reservations. Please bear in mind that mostly Spanish speaking visitors frequent this region; English is not widely spoken.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board, subject to the availability of English-speaking guides. There are no sedans available, only vans.