Iquique

Photo © Emmak

Travel Guide South America Chile Iquique

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Introduction

Iquique

Iquique

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Iquique is a port city along the northern Pacific coast of Chile and has about 225,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of both the Iquique Province and Tarapacá Region.

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Sights and Activities

  • Baquedano Street is a cobbled, old-Western style street with plentiful tourist and artisan activities. Buildings around constructed during the 19th century offer interesting architecture mainly in Georgian and Victorian Styles adapted to the coastal desertic climate.
  • Historic sites can be found along the city and nearby the coast and desert, most of them related to the Pacific War against the coalition of Perú and Bolivia during the 19th century and with the massacre by the government against miner workforce demanding social and economical rights, known as "the Santa Maria School massacre".
  • Iquique's 19th century architecture can be visited mainly downtown. Its origins are linked with the mining activities during that century, when European entrepreneurs became rich with the extraction of saltpetre and established their homes in the city. Many of them constructed big houses in different styles that predominated during the period and grouped in colonies with their respective buildings, with special stylistic, material and constructive adaptations to the climate of Iquique. The most emblematic house is The Astoreca Palace, that actually belongs to Arturo Prat University as an extension centre. Other important examples are The Spanish Casino, The Croatian Casino, The Chinese Club and The Municipal Theatre, one of the most important nationwide.

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Weather

Iquique, like the rest of the northern Chilean coastline, has a desert climate though with the rare conditions that there are hardly any extreme temperatures and almost no rainfall at all. Average highs fluctuate between 17 °C in July and August and 25 °C in February, with lows between 13 °C and 19 °C respectively. The record highs and lows are 31 °C and 3 °C, one of the smallest differences possible outside the typical tropical regions. Rainfall is practically nihil with 0.7 mm a year.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max24.9 °C25.2 °C24.1 °C22.3 °C20.3 °C19 °C18 °C18.1 °C18.8 °C20 °C21.7 °C23.6 °C
Avg Min17.6 °C17.6 °C16.8 °C15.1 °C14.1 °C13.5 °C13.1 °C13.3 °C13.8 °C14.5 °C15.3 °C16.5 °C
Rain Days00000.20.1000000.2

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Getting There

By Plane

Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ) offers flights to/from Antofagasta, Santiago de Chile, Arica, Calama, Salta (seasonal), Arequipa, Copiapó, La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Lima.

By Bus

Buses pull in on different locations. The 'main terminal' north of the centre serves most destinations, but quite a few buses from Arica pull in close to the central mercado in the cross between Calle Barros Arana and Thomson. 'Tur-bus' have their own terminal on Calle Esmeralda. Several daily arrivals from Arica, Antofagasta, Calama and Santiago(25 h). Also buses from La Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba in Bolivia.

The last bus to Calama currently runs at 21:30 and arrives at 04:00 with bus company Fronte de Norte.

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Getting Around

Micros run along the major streets in the centre and takes you from the centre to the Zofri in no time. 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 2,000 pesos. Faster than taking the bus.

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Eat

Iquique's Chinese immigrants that arrived during the 19th century as slaves to work in saltpetre extraction, have had a distinct influence on the local food. The area around the Mercado is Iquique's Chinatown. You'll find a large number of Peruvian influenced "Chifa" restaurants here, all pretty expensive. The smaller restaurants between them are cheaper, and serve sandwiches and burgers for Ch$800 and up. McDonald's, Domino's, KFC, and other fast food chains can be found in malls.

For dessert you can try the chumbeque invented by Chinese descendants. It's prepared with layers of fried thin dough filled with different fruity caramels. Nearby towns in Iquique specially Pica and Matilla offer a variety of fruits and desserts made with them, the best known are the alfajores.

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Drink

Pisco Sour prepared with lemons from "Pica" is the local speciality.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Iquique or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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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 Iquique

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

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This is version 10. Last edited at 7:50 on Oct 9, 17 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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