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Iquique, with a population of over 200,000,, is the capital of Chile’s northern most region. The name is derived from the native Aymara language, Iqui-ique meaning “peaceful place of rest”. It is sometimes called “The Miami of Chile” for its high front beach hotels and condominiums. As a holiday destination people come from all over South American attracted particularly by its duty free status..
The waterfront promenade is 4 km long, stretching from Playa Bellavista to the neighborhood of Playa Huantajaya, to the south of Playa Brava. It is made up of a wide-open strip, lined with gardens, children's games, fountains and beaches, including Playa Cavancha.
Puntilla del Marinero
This little point is in the northern sector of the costanera. Here, sited on a rocky promontory where the waves break thunderously, stands a massive bronze statue in honor of the Navy. From here you can see the buoy which marks the site of the sinking of the Esmeralda. There is also an extensive view of the city.
Boya de la Esmeralda
The Esmeralda Buoy is in the northern part of the costanera, close to the Plaza de Armas of Iquique. The buoy marks the site of the remains of the Esmeralda, which was sunk during the Naval Combat of Iquique, on May 21, 1879. There are boats along the shore which will take you out there.
Every year on May 21, important public figures gather to pay homage to the heroes of the Navy.
This is an avenue with palm trees growing down the middle. The houses along the avenue are in the North American Georgian style, and were all built between 1880 and 1920. There are important buildings on the street, such as the Museo Regional and the Palacio Astoreca.
These buildings all have much in common: they are built of Oregon pine, they are in an American architectural style, and the construction technique is of a simple framed building. This street was declared a Zona Típica in 1977.
The Regional Museum is in Baquedano 951 (Baquedano between Zegers and Wilson), and dates from 1892. It was built by the nitrates industrialist Astoreca in Oregon pine, and at that time was a family residence.
Up until 1987, it served as the Courts of Justice. It now contains important collections of items of indigenous peoples, objects from the Andean Plateau and a room devoted to photographs. There are also some interesting mummies from the Chinchorro culture.
Plaza Arturo Prat
This is the Plaza de Armas of the city and is the main point of reference for visitors. On one side of the square is the Municipal Theater, and in the center is the clock tower. The trees and palm trees in the square have been there for many years.
Torre del Reloj de Iquique
The clock tower decorates the center of the Plaza de Armas Arturo Prat, surrounded by ancient trees and palm trees. It was constructed in 1877 and is symbolic for the local inhabitants. The structure is of Oregon pine and the clock for which it is named is at the top.
More in Iquique
Walking is the most convenient mode of transport for getting to and from the beaches. You can share a taxi for 500 pesos and or get a private one for 2000 pesos. Faster than taking the bus.
Visiting beaches is a must. Iquique is known for its good weather and beaches (playas) with "Playa Cavancha" being the largest. Be careful not all them are apt for swimming, submarine tides are dangerous in some places. There is also good surfing in town.
The duty-free zone, Zofri, is located in the north of town. A convenient place to stock up on duty free perfumes and laptop computers.
Baquedano Street is a cobbled, old-Western style street with plentiful tourist and artisan activities.
Credit Card acceptance is considerably reduced in small towns and communities, for which reason when visiting these it is recommended you take with you cash in local currency: the Chilean peso. 1 USD = 712 CLP. This will prevent any unpleasant surprises.
Spanish is Chile's official language
Chile has so-called cyber-cafes, stores offering Internet access. The cost of accessing the world info network varies from town to town. In Santiago, an hour online costs 4 dollars, while in Calama it costs 6 dollars, approximately. On the other hand, the main hotels and lodging places frequently offer Internet access to their guests, in many instances at no extra charge.
Ambulance service: 131 Fire Brigade: 132 Carabineros (Chilean police): 133 Drug Enforcement: 135 Andean Mountain Rescue Squad: 136 Sea Rescue: 137
Business and trade establishments in Chile are generally open to the public from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a 60 minute lunch break at 1 p.m. Saturday timetable is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In malls, the timetable is Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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