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Antofagasta

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Travel Guide South America Chile Antofagasta

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Introduction

Antofagasta is a port city in the north of Chile with about 300,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of both the Antofagasta Province and Region and is great stopover for travellers between Santiago and places further north and into Peru and Bolivia. The city deserves a day or so, but hasn't got that much to offer to spend more time.

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Weather

The town of Antofagasta has a mild desert climate (with abundant sunshine and strong maritime influence. The marked aridity and water scarcity are regulated by the Humboldt Current, addition to the high humidity and morning fog known as camanchaca. Furthermore, the Pacific anticyclone generates winds from the south and southwest. All this means mild and stable temperatures for most of the year.

The average annual temperature is 16.8 °C. The average daily low temperature in the warmest month, January, is 17.5 °C while the average daily high temperature is 23.2 °C. The coldest month, July, sees an average low temperature of 11.8 °C and an average high temperature of 16.5 °C. The highest temperature recorded is 30.0 °C on January 1998 and the lowest recorded is 3.0 °C on September 1978.

The Atacama Desert coast is subjected to a climate of extreme aridity, therefore generates a low average annual rainfall of 3.4 mm (1970–2000). However, the sporadic occurrence of heavy rainfall, together with the geomorphologic situation of the city, make it susceptible to be affected by mud flows and landslides. Between 1916 and 1999, the city was affected by floods or landslides on seven occasions: 1925, 1930, twice in 1940, 1982, 1987 and 1991, of which the most important episodes in 1940 and 1991.

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Getting There

By Plane

Antofagasta Airport only has domestic services including regular connections to the capital Santiago de Chile.

By Bus

Antofagasta has regular connections to all major cities in the northern half of Chile, and some international destinations, including Lima in Peru. The main cities served by regular buses are Calama, La Serena, San Pedro de Atacama, Santiago, Arica, Copiapó and Iquique.

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Getting Around

By Foot

The area of interest for most visitors is easily covered on foot.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are cybercafes in every major and midsize city and at all tourist destinations. Some libraries are in a program called Biblioredes, with free computers and Internet. Wifi is getting more and more common. They're usually in metro stations, airports, malls, cafes, public buildings and several public spaces. Check for the ones that say gratis - for free. McDonald's and Starbucks are chains which almost always have free wifi.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Chile is: 56. To make an international call from Chile, the code is: 00. Emergency phone numbers include 131 (Ambulance), 132 (Fire) and 133 (Police).

Public phones located on streets are very likely to be tampered or vandalized, so it's better to use a phone located inside a commerce or a station. Prepaid cards for mobile phones and public phones are sold at most newspaper kiosks, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and phone dealers. Mobile GSM networks are ubiquitous in all major cities and most of the territory of central and southern Chile. A basic prepaid cellular phone usually costs about 15,000 pesos, most frequently charged with 10,000 pesos worth of prepaid minutes. No ID is required to buy a prepaid phone. GSM SIM cards from ENTEL, Movistar or Claro are usually available for 5,000 pesos, but without credit, so you'll need to buy some prepaid minutes to be able to call. Money can be charged into a cellphone from some pharmacies (Ahumada, Cruz Verde and Salco Brand) on the counter and in cash, or by using a credit card through an automated service operator, with directions in Spanish or English.

Post

Correos de Chile is the national postal service, and although relatively slow it is reliable with post offices throughout the country. On the website you can find more information about prices to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. Post offices are generally open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday until 2:00pm, although there are sometimes longer opening hours in the bigger central post offices and shorter ones in small places. Ask around. If you want to send packages internationally, you might consider companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are fast, reliable and usually competitively priced as well.

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Accommodation in Antofagasta

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Antofagasta searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Antofagasta and areas nearby.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 9:12 on May 2, 17 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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