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Popular Destinations

Humberstone Ghost Town

 

Humberstone: enigmatic ghost town and UNESCO heritage gem
Wander the streets of the once-grand saltpeter plant and you’ll come face to face with a unique desert culture – and a fascinating period in South American history.
In 1872, with the nitrate boom gathering speed, the Peruvian Nitrate Company founded Humberstone Saltpeter Works in the dry desert altiplano near Iquique, northern Chile. It was destined to become one of the largest factory towns of its time.
 
In the time when saltpeter was known as “white gold", Humberstone grew fast and became a busy community with lovely English-style buildings, plus its own movie theater and swimming pool.
 
This all changed in the Great Depression of 1929, when the economic fortunes of saltpeter fell and the region’s plants spiraled towards bankruptcy. In 1960, Humberstone was finally abandoned and became the ghost town it is today.
 
Humberstone has been a Chilean National Monument since 1970, and in 2005 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
 
UNESCO highlights Humberstone’s cultural richness, springing from the thousands of workers who lived on the arid desert highlands.
 
“They forged a distinctive communal pampinos [plains] culture,” says UNESCO’s website, “manifest in their rich language, creativity, solidarity, and, above all, in their pioneering struggle for social justice, which had a profound impact on social history.”
Top sights include the town square and beautiful Municipal Theater, where Mexican movies were premiered and traditional Spanish zarzuelas, or operettas, were held. There is a cafeteria where you can buy souvenirs, but the best way to experience this unique place is to grab your camera and take in the history while wandering the deserted streets.
 
Iquique, Chile

Indigenous New Year

 

Indigenous New Year
The indigenous peoples of Chile – the Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui and Mapuche nations – follow their own ancestral calendar. For them the New Year begins with the winter solstice on the night of June 24. The harvest has ended and the earth must rest, prepare herself for the sowing of crops, and renew her fertility. It is a new cycle of life, and the indigenous cultures express their gratitude to Nature. The New Year festival of the Mapuche Indians is the best known. It is called We Tripantu, meaning “the sun’s new turn” or “the return of the sun.” It is celebrated in the rural regions of the south, in the city of Temuco in the main square, and in Santiago on the hill of Santa Lucía (Huelén).
The celebration coincides with the winter solstice as Chile’s largest indigenous group comes together to bid farewell to the harvest season and usher in the sowing season by honouring the sun.
24 th night, families got together to feast on traditional Mapuche dishes like sopaipilla, a fried bread, muday, a fermented corn drink, and catuto, a bread made of ground grains, oil and salt.
In addition to meaning “new year,” We-tripantu also means “sunrise of the new sun” and at sunrise on Friday, Mapuche will bathe in the frigid waters of Chile’s rivers in order to purify their bodies and souls for the New Year.
Immediately following the bath, families typically participate in individual and group prayers before returning to their homes to play music, games and dance.
Together, they celebrate their coexistence with the sun, the land, nature and the seasons as the natural cycle starts over.
Temuco, Chile

La Tirana

 

La Tirana is a small town in the northern Tarapaca Region, near the city of Iquique. But its annual festival, Fiesta de la Tirana, has acquired an importance that spreads far beyond the itself. It has become Chile’s most celebrated festival, visited by both local pilgrims and tourists.  On June 12 to 17 each year, dancers and musicians enact the diablada, the 'dance of the devils', a carnavalesque dance for exorcising demons. The dance troupe, wearing fearsome costumes and masks, move to the rhythm of drums and flutes, with the leader of the troupe setting the pace with toots on a whistle. The festival demonstrates a synthesis between local indigenous religions and Catholicism, also paying homage to the Virgen del Carmen, or 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel'. Descendants of the Atacameño, Kunza, Aymara and other indigenous peoples arrive at the Virgin's sanctuary in processions, making promises in exchange for blessings. Masses are said in the church while in the surrounding area there are stalls with handicrafts and food, and dancing throughout the day.
Fiesta de la Tirana is an annual festival held in the locality of La Tirana in Tarapacá Region of northern Chile. The celebration takes place on July 16 in honor of Virgen del Carmen. La Tirana is the biggest geographically localized religious festivity in Chile and attracts between 200,000 and 250,000 visitors during the week of celebrations, while the villages population is normally of 560 inhabitants
La Tirana, Chile

Caldera And Bahia Inglesa

 

Caldera located 75 km northeast of Copiapó. In the old days it was the port for the city of Copiapó, since it was from there that minerals extracted from the mine of Chañarcillo were exported. Today it is one of the most important resorts of the region.
 
Caldera is made up of 3 bays with warm waters, interconnected by paved roads. The first is Playa Mansa located right opposite the city, Playa Brava lies to the extreme north, and finally Playa Loreto, 3 km southeast.
 
During the year, the port has a very varied commerce, ranging from the first grapes of the year, destined for international markets, to the transport of copper concentrate. It’s also an important unloading point for traditional and industrial fishermen.
 
You should visit the San Vicente Church, built in 1862, and towards the coast, the Railroad Station built in 1850.
Bahia Inglesa ("English Bay") is a village and beach located near the port of Caldera in Atacama Region, Chile.
With a population of 135 inhabitants (census 2002), it owes its name to the visit of the English privateer Edward Davis. Bahia Inglesa is renowned for its white sands and warm waters, as well as its accommodations. Campgrounds, hotels, restaurants and summer houses offer lodging to visitors.[1]
Some of the better known beaches are La Piscina (The Swimming Pool), Las Machas (The Clams), Playa Blanca (White Beach) and El Chuncho (The Owl). The place in addition enjoys a year-round mediterranean climate.
 
Caldera And Bahia Inglesa, Chile

San Rafael Lake And Glacier

 

The laguna is part of the Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, which covers an area of 1.742,000 hectares. Laguna San Rafael was declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979.
 
The laguna is situated in the extreme south of the Canal Moraleda, at the foot of the Campo del Hielo Norte; it is a small inlet of the Pacific Ocean, about 15 km long by 10 wide. The huge, 3,000 year old San Rafael Glacier falls into the sea at this point, and is without doubt the main tourist attraction of the region, now world famous.
 
There are many floating blocks of ice in this laguna, as well as the glacier San Valentín Glacier, and large blocks of ice periodically fall into the surrounding waters. Tourist vessels which visit the laguna stay for about six hours, and use their boats excursions. There are a number of alternatives for a trip to the Laguna San Rafael, varying both in cost and duration, some doing the journey in a day and others taking up to five days.
 
A small jetty has now been installed here so that smaller boats can dock and people can walk to the base of the glacier. There are also a series of viewpoints dotted along the path.
 
From Puerto Chacabuco, you can make a magnificent voyage, sailing south into the Fiordo Aisén, continuing along the Costa Channel and then deep into the Estuario Elefantes.
Northern Patagonia, Chile

Huilo Huilo

 

In the middle of the Andes Patagonian of southern Chile, in the heart of the Valdivian Ecoregion, 40° south latitude, Region of Los Ríos (XIV), Panguipulli zone, is "Huilo Huilo", the Biological Reserve at South of the World,  a private protected area with 100,000 hectares of native forest, supports a diversity of high natural value.
"Patagonia occupies the southernmost tip of South America, a vast territory of more than 900,000 square kilometers. This triangular shaped region extending south of the Colorado River in Argentina and Valdivia River in Chile to Tierra del Fuego. The landscape Patagonia offers the abrupt contrasts: plains and terraces to the east where the dominant vegetation is herbaceous and shrub steppe and the Andes to the west by glacial lakes, streams and dense forests."
The Patagonian temperate rainforest is located in Chilean territory, between latitude 38° 30'S to 55° 30'S, west of the Cordillera de los Andes. It is characterized by abundant rainfall received throughout the year and summers.
 
This rainy weather is the result of winds that carry anticyclonic winds of South Pacific, which is condensed by the cold Humboldt coastal. Upon entering the continent, as rain falls to the Andes and dissipated when it hit dry winds from the Patagonian steppe of Argentina.
Inside the Patagonian jungle Neltume is located, a timber town located in a mountain setting of great natural beauty. Its name derives from Mapudungun and means "Go to Freedom" (Neltún: set free, Men: go there). In this area of ​​the mountain rage there is no Chilean or foreign presence until 1870.
 
By the late nineteenth century the city of Valdivia was in continuous development, which led to a significant increase in the levels of the population, to meet its needs the exploitation of forests began to be a vital economic resource.
Do not forget that the Reserve is one of the few places in the world covered with temperate rain forest where we can enjoy the perception of wildlife in all its glory. Respect the natural rhythm of it and its ecosystems, future generations will enjoy the wonders of the cold forest, a world heritage site.
Conservation is a constant challenge and a long-term task. Chile is country with an important geography and natural values, especially the mountain ranges of the Andes and the Patagonian jungle which is the home of Huilo Huilo. It is important to understand that conservation is everyone's job, and without the support and commitment of the community and the authorities any task would be pointless and would not be possible.
"There are still magical places on earth where life develops at a natural pace, we invite you to be part of this world" Raulíes, coigues and mañíos, add color to magical places where a shelter in the middle of native forest, is the starting point for numerous activities related to nature. The subdivision was developed around forest clearings, with pedestrian walkways that connect the land and lead to lookouts and points of interest, allowinga privileged view of the volcano-Choshuenco Mocho.
Northern Patagonia, Chile

Cachagua And Zapallar

 

The most stunning summer homes in the area sit atop the small hills that run into the wide beaches. Surfers flock to El Abanico, Aguas Blancas and Playa Grande, enjoying the strong Pacific tides at dawn while paragliders make the most of the strong winds. The waterfront boasts several renowned restaurants and pubs that are very crowded in summer.
 
Maitencillo is located right next to the Zapallar Lagoon, which is home to several species of birds. It also serves as the border with Cachagua, a more exclusive resort town where larger, more modern homes have been built in the hills that overlook a 5 km beach. There you will also find Penguins Island, a 5-hectare bird and marine animal reservoir. The town also has a golf club, equestrian club, rodeo arena and seafood restaurants.
 
Zapallar is one of the region's most exclusive resorts and was once the land of Chief Catapilco. Most visitors head to the two main beaches, Chica and Larga. The small bay and hills that protect Zapallar from the wind create an extraordinary microclimate. It is also famous for its tall trees, stunning summer residences, gorgeous gardens and stone church. Take time out to walk the stone path that runs along the sea to Cachagua and Maitencillo.
Cachagua And Zapallar ( Central Coast), Chile

Puerto Natales

 

Puerto Natales is a city in Chilean Patagonia. Puerto Natales is the capital of both the commune (Spanish: comuna) of Natales and the province of Última Esperanza, (Spanish for "Last Hope"), one of the four provinces that make up the Magallanes and Antartica Chilena Region in the southernmost part of Chile. The city is located 247 km (153 mi) northwest of Punta Arenas and is the final passenger port of call for the Navimag ferry sailing from Puerto Montt into the Señoret Channel as well as the primary transit point for travelers to Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
Última Esperanza Sound, originally inhabited by the Kawésqar tribe or Alacaluf and the Aoniken or Tehuelche, was sailed in 1557 by Juan Ladrilleros, a sailor who was looking for the Strait of Magellan.
The city was settled by European immigrants: The largest groups are Germans; British such as the English, Welsh and Scots; Croats; Greeks; Italians and Spaniards. Later settlement by Chilean people, with a substantial number coming from the Island of Chiloé, all attracted by the sheep-raising industry.
The city was formally founded under the government of Ramón Barros Luco on May 31, 1911. Nowadays, one of the most important activities is tourism although cattle production and the fishery industries are also significant.
The Province where Puerto Natales is located received the name Última Esperanza (Last Hope) from the sailor Juan Ladrilleros, who was seeking the Strait of Magellan in the year 1557. It was his "last hope" to find the Strait after exploring the maze of channels between the waters of the Pacific and the mainland. It was not until three centuries later, in 1830, that another major expedition sailed through the fjords and channels of Última Esperanza. This was the British expedition of the sloop HMS Beagle. Some of the expedition - (Robert FitzRoy, William Skyring and James Kirke) and their senior officers - are remembered by several place-names in the area. Commander Fitzroy was the captain during the Second voyage of HMS Beagle (1831–1836).
In 1870, interest in the region of Ultima Esperanza was rekindled. Among the daring travelers who ventured these desolated lands, was Santiago Zamora, also known as 'Baqueano' Zamora. He discovered the lake district of the Torres del Paine area and many wild horses locally known as 'baguales'. Another was the English traveler and writer Lady Florence Dixie, commemorated in the city's present-day Hotel Lady Florence Dixie.[5] Dixie authored the book, Across Patagonia.
Puerto Natales was founded on May, 1911 as a port for the sheep industry. During the last half of the 20th century the sheep industry declined and many people from Puerto Natales started to work in the coal mines of Río Turbio in Argentina. During the zenith of the sheep industry in Patagonia, two large "frigorificos" or freezer plants, were constructed in the Natales area, of which one has survived.[6] The plant at Puerto Bories, about 4 km NW from Puerto Natales, was a project of the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego. The Puerto Bories site was inaugurated in 1913 and was in production until 1993. The Cold-Storage Plant was constructed in "Post Victorian Industrial" architectural style and features of number of British machinery examples which reflect the technology of the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The Cold-Storage Plant complex is part of the industrial history of the Puerto Natales area. In 2010, a restoration has started.
Puerto Natales features good tourism facilities, and it has become the base for excursions to the Torres del Paine National Park; the Cueva del Milodón Natural Monument (a cave complex used by prehistoric tribes and where remains of the extinct Giant Sloth have been found);[7] the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park; and the Alacalufes National Reserve. The latter includes the Fjord of the Mountains, Cordillera Riesco and Cordillera Sarmiento.
Puerto Natales, Chile

Punta Arenas

 

Punta Arenas (English: "Sandy Point") is a commune and the capital city of Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was officially renamed Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to Punta Arenas. It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south. As of 1977 Punta Arenas has been one of only two free ports in Chile.[4]
Located on the north shore of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established in 1848 as a tiny penal colony. During the remainder of the 1800s Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade destined to the west coast of both South and North America. This period of growth also coincided with the a gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900's. Chile effectively used Punta Arenas to firm up its sovereignty in this southernmost part of South America, which led to the Strait of Magellan subsequently being recognized as Chilean territory in the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina. The geopolitical importance of Punta Arenas has remained high in the 20th and 21st centuries because of its logistic importance in accessing the Antarctic Peninsula.
Punta Arenas, Chile

La Serena

 

La Serena is a city and commune in northern Chile, capital of the Coquimbo Region. Founded in 1544, it is the country's second oldest city after the national capital, Santiago, located 471 km (293 mi) to the south.[3] It has a communal population of 190,716 (2006 projection, and 400,000 for the Greater La Serena) area, the country's fourth largest conurbation (pop. 300,000, 2002 census), which includes nearby Coquimbo with an area of 1,892.80 km2 (731 sq mi). It is one of the fastest-growing areas of Chile, witnessing a population increase of 32.6% between 1992 and 2002.
The city is an important tourist destination, especially during the summer, where people go to visit the beaches. It is in the headquarters of the University of La Serena and also is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of La Serena, one of five Catholic Archdioceses of the Catholic Church in Chile.
The old part of the city presents the only architecture in the country, dividing for being the biggest Typical Zone of Chile, adempas of being the zone of architectural and historical preservation inside an urban, more important zone of the Country. The churches stand out with models of belfries, there being gained the title of City of the belfries.
Church Cathedral of La Serena (Historical Monument from 1981) Construction initiated by the French architect Jean Herbage, the year 1844, and dedicated in 1856. It is the biggest temple of the city, constructed in neoclassic style, measures 60 meters of extension per 20 meters of width, with 3 central bodies. Inside one finds the organ donated by the filántropa calm down Juana Ross de Edwards. The belfry dates back from the 20th century.
The town has retained its historic architecture and this, along with a selection of beaches (known as Avenida del Mar, "Sea Avenue"), has caused the city to become a significant tourist centre, attracting many foreigners (most of them Argentines from San Juan and Mendoza provinces) during January, and later Santiago residents fleeing February heat.
The beaches of the Avenida Del Mar are one of the most crowded walks of La Serena, joining El Faro Monumental, in the south with an extension of 6 km and adjacent with Peñuelas's beach (Coquimbo). However, the beaches of La Serena have very rough water and are not suitable for swimming. In comparison Coquimbo's beaches, such as The Horse-shoe have very calm water and clean sands.
This avenue includes 12 sections of beaches known like: El Faro, Los Fuertes, Mansa, Blanca, La Barca, 4 Esquinas, La Marina, El Pescador, El Corsario, Hipocampo, Las Gaviotas y Canto del Agua. All of them except the beacon are suitable for the swimming and aquatic and nautical sports. In the recent years the La Serena Song Festival (created in 2004) has been acquiring national importance, due to the great quality of the invited artists. Also projects have been approved as a new international airport. Real estate development along the beach has created a tourist residential development from the Elqui river.
La Serena holds offices for the European Southern Observatory organisation (operator of La Silla Observatory), AURA, Inc. (operator of Cerro Tololo and Gemini observatories), and for the Carnegie Institution for Science (operator of Las Campanas Observatory).
Close to la Serena the reknown and mystical Elqui Valley.
La Serena ( Northern Area), Chile