Antofagasta just in case of emergency
I really don't recommend to stay at Antofagasta, not because of the people. Just because this city doesn't have anything interesting to do or to visit. Some people say that make a little tour to "La Portada" maybe could be interesting, but that's all you can do. If Antofagasta is on your route i recommend better to stay in San Pedro de Atacama or wait untill Iquique. But do not stay at Antofagasta and also in Calama that is ugly and also dangerous.
Surfing @ La Portada
My good friend Carlos, the guy in the center, and myself were advised that 7 am would be a good time on that day for surfing on the beach.
Gonzalo (on the left) provided the wet suit and the boards and drove us to La Portada.
I guess he would make this availble to you, if you would ask.
You can also ask in the Radisson Hotel, where we stayed.
This is not for beginners ! The waves can be more then 1 m and the beach is rocky mostly.
You smelled "Guano" before ? There is plenty.......
Tiene aproximadamente 226.000 habitantes, siendo esta la capital de la II región.
La vida urbana estaba hasta hace muy poco en los pie de la cordillera de la costa, hasta que hicieron una costanera de mas de 20 km.
Es la quinta ciudad del país Tiene un importante puerto y un ferrocarril a Bolivia.
La economía se basa principalmente de la minería.
Antofagasta, Chile- My "Home"
"The Low Down"
I live here! I'm from the US but I got a job here. There are other gringos from Australia and Canada (mostly, a couple kiwis ;) )because of Escondida, the giant Australian Copper Mine. The city is virtually owned by the mine. Nearly everyone has something to do with the mine (at least someone in everyone's family is somehow connected to the mine)
Antofagasta is surprisingly expensive! Prices are comparible to those in the US (more expensive in some cases). Everything has to be shipped in (even the water, which contains Arsenic, drink sparingly-there are higher number of stomach cancer rates here). I
"Antofagasta-A REAL Chilean city"
There are not a lot of tourists here. The only people trying to sell you things are outside the TUR-BUS station. Otherwise, you are hardpressed to find postcards and keychains (outside the post office in the plaza de armas sells postcards, also in the bookstore by Korlaet del Parque if you REALLY want some).
This is one of the most expensive cities in Chile, you've been warned. Expect to pay US prices for water, soda, housing, snacks, bread, and fruit (except at the Vega (open air market) remember to use VegiLimp). Expect to pay MORE than US for gas, peanut butter (yes they DO have it), REAL coffee (not Nescafe), milk, and cereal.
City buses aka. micros, liebres (privately owned) are about 50 cents US (330 pesos) and Collectivos (shared taxis on set routes) depend where you are going(rarely more than US$1). Ask. Prices are more after 8 and 10pm(up to US$2). Taxis are definately more. Expect to pay $16 for a taxi to/from the airport. Transfers are cheaper (US$5) and are very safe and reliable for airport (which is 30 min from the city).
PS: You pass the only landmark from the airport south to the city. Called "La Portada"
The hardest thing for me when I got here, was, OMG?!?! Where can I find everything? LIDER is like Walmart, upstairs from LIDER is Sodimac HomeCenter which is Home Depot. They also sell sleeping bags and flashlights. You have to take a bus or a colectivo here, it's a bit of a hike to get here. In the centro you can go to Dolomitri's (something like that) across from Falabella (Latorre, near the bus stations) upstairs for comprehensive camping supplies. Falabella and Ripley both are typical department stores. On the other side (south exit) of Falabella's there's a store to the left. It's like a giant dollar store/BigLots. If you need cheap junk stuff, check there. Korlaet is their chain grocery store, but LIDER also sells groceries.
Bookstores are practically non-existant! There is a bookstore by Korlaet del Parque that sells travel guides in Spanish. Otherwise you can buy metaphysic books and textbooks on Latorre west of Falabella and the bus stations. The Casa Cultural also has a used bookstore, with a descent selection (nothing newer than 80's)
blanketpower's new Antofagasta Page
Been here on and off since 1997. I am working in a large copper mine about 170 km inland, but living in Antofagasta on the coast.
Anto is not exactly a wonderful tourist spot, but is a useful stopover and service canter on the way to more scenic or interesting places like the nearby San Pedro de Atacama. Antofagasta has a modern airport, and is easily accessible from Santiago.