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Antofagasta, Chile - Top Attractions Are The Historical Center & Street Art

Chile travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2014   » View Photoset (85 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
So what do I know about Antofagasta? I know as much about the place as you would know after walking around the city for 6 and a half hours. It's not a bad
Chile Photo - Statues, palms and historical building at Plaza Colon in Antofagasta.
Statues, palms and historical building at Plaza Colon in Antofagasta.
place at all. There is not a ton of attractions but it's a good place for a stopover. The city is known as a busy place for miners, they come from all around and the city has plenty of 'ladies of the night' to cater for them too I believe, this is what I have read. That's all very fine and dandy but I came to Antofagasta to look for street art and wall murals. I had a fair idea I would find quite a bit of it after doing a little internet research. I certainly was not dissapointed!

4hrs Bus from San Pedro

I came to Antofagasta from San Pedro in the morning - 1hr 30mins from San Pedro to Calama plus another 2hrs 40mins from Calama to Antofagasta.

I Found a Budget Hotel

Another thing Antofagasta is known for is a lack of budget accommodation. Everywhere I read says the same thing, that there is none. However
Chile Photo - Indigenous woman and child in the jungle wall mural in Antofagasta.
Indigenous woman and child in the jungle wall mural in Antofagasta.
I found this to be untrue. I had the name and address of a budget hotel before I arrived given to me by the owner of the hostel I stayed at in San Pedro. After catching a bus from the terminal into the central city, I fould this budget hotel just 20 meters from the central McDonalds, how convenient!

In Town

Right outside my hotel was the main carless public walking and shopping area - Paseo Arturo Prat. There is a pretty cool monument right outside the McDonalds called 'Alma del Pueblo', it's a sculpture made in 2003 of 6 huge people, real people walking around it are totally dwarfed by the thing.

Searching for Street Art

I turned my attention now to looking for street art. Usually you won't find it in the very central public areas. I needed to get a few blocks out and explore the sidestreets and dodgy areas a little. I had a good idea where I would find some from seeing it from the bus as I arrived in the city and also from the bus
Chile Photo - Drummer boy and dog, huge mural on a building side in Antofagasta.
Drummer boy and dog, huge mural on a building side in Antofagasta.
I took into the center. I had even taken a photo of a street sign from the bus so I could remember the name of the street where I saw tons of it. For the next 3hrs I walked several kms looking for and finding a lot of street art and murals, all kinds, good, bad, beautiful and ugly - it's all here.

The Waterfront

I ended up down on the waterfront and saw a few sealions in the water where nearby is a gold monument of a man on a horse - General Bernardo O'Higgins (1778-1842), an independence leader. Next morning I continued my search for street art and murals in a different part of the city near the port. I found a ton of it and of much better quality too.

Top Attraction is the Historical Center

Now I wanted of course to see the historical area, main plaza and cathedral. At one end of the historical
Chile Photo - Girls face beside a door street art in Antofagasta.
Girls face beside a door street art in Antofagasta.
neighborhood is the old train station where they have recreated the look and feel of how it once was. The Barrio Historical has a few buildings of note including the customs building and museum. There is also a bust of Emilio Sotomayor Baeza (1826-1894) - a military man and a gold statue of Juan 'Chango' Lopez who was the first inhabitant of Antofagasta. I headed now to Plaza Colon, the main plaza. This is a nice place with beautiful palm trees, colorful flowers, a fountain and a clock tower called 'Torre Reloq'. There are monuments (busts) of a few important figures - Hernan Merino Correa (1936-1965), a military man, Bishop Luis Silva Lezaeta (1860-1929) and Captain Ignacio Carrera Pinto (1848-1882), hero of the War of the Pacific. At the side of Plaza Colon
Chile Photo - The 'live with honor or die with glory' monument at Plaza Colon in Antofagasta.
The 'live with honor or die with glory' monument at Plaza Colon in Antofagasta.
is the white gothic cathedral.

Flight to La Serena

It was early afternoon and I had a flight south to La Serena to get to. I decided to fly rather than do a 13 or so hour bus because I simply couldn't be bothered and the plane fair was quite reasonable with Sky Airlines at around $100USD. I reckon by the time you pay for a bus, pay for food, have a bad nights sleep and need to pay for another night in La Serena because you spent the first day sleeping it would end up costing about the same. The flight only took 45mins! The airport shuttle bus takes 20mins from the city center to the airport. Thanks Antofagasta, see you next time!

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Antofagasta (Chile) to:


Map location: Antofagasta, Chile. A pleasant city out on the coast in the north. I found lots of graffiti art here and enjoyed wandering around the place!
 A : Calama - Chile 187 kms 187 kms straight distance | 2hrs 49mins 2hrs 49mins by car (243 kms) | 3hrs 22mins 3hrs 22mins by bus (243 kms) (243 kms)
 B : San Pedro de Atacama - Chile 232 kms 232 kms straight distance | 3hrs 39mins 3hrs 39mins by car (335 kms) | 4hrs 22mins 4hrs 22mins by bus (335 kms) (335 kms)
 C : Iquique - Chile 365 kms 365 kms straight distance | 4hrs 53mins 4hrs 53mins by car (402 kms) | 5hrs 51mins 5hrs 51mins by bus (402 kms) (402 kms)
 D : Paso de Jama to San Pedro to Calama - Chile 341 kms 341 kms straight distance | 5hrs 22mins 5hrs 22mins by car (492 kms) | 6hrs 26mins 6hrs 26mins by bus (492 kms) (492 kms)
 E : Iquique to Arica to Peru Border - Chile 443 kms 443 kms straight distance | 6hrs 2mins 6hrs 2mins by car (569 kms) | 7hrs 14mins 7hrs 14mins by bus (569 kms) (569 kms)
 F : Salta to Paso de Jama (Chile Border) - Argentina 407 kms 407 kms straight distance | 7hrs 48mins 7hrs 48mins by car (658 kms) | 9hrs 21mins 9hrs 21mins by bus (658 kms) (658 kms)
 G : Uyuni & the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) - Bolivia 498 kms 498 kms straight distance | 10hrs 4mins 10hrs 4mins by car (665 kms) | 12hrs 4mins 12hrs 4mins by bus (665 kms) (665 kms)
 H : Tupiza via Atocha to Uyuni - Bolivia 515 kms 515 kms straight distance | 12hrs 11mins 12hrs 11mins by car (763 kms) | 14hrs 37mins 14hrs 37mins by bus (763 kms) (763 kms)
 I : Jujuy - Argentina 516 kms 516 kms straight distance | 9hrs 17mins 9hrs 17mins by car (810 kms) | 11hrs 8mins 11hrs 8mins by bus (810 kms) (810 kms)
 J : La Quiaca to Jujuy - Argentina 514 kms 514 kms straight distance | 9hrs 16mins 9hrs 16mins by car (815 kms) | 11hrs 7mins 11hrs 7mins by bus (815 kms) (815 kms)
 K : La Quiaca & Bolivian Border - Argentina 515 kms 515 kms straight distance | 10hrs 17mins 10hrs 17mins by car (825 kms) | 12hrs 20mins 12hrs 20mins by bus (825 kms) (825 kms)
 L : Villazon & Argentinian Border - Bolivia 514 kms 514 kms straight distance | 10hrs 32mins 10hrs 32mins by car (829 kms) | 12hrs 38mins 12hrs 38mins by bus (829 kms) (829 kms)
 M : Tupiza - Bolivia 529 kms 529 kms straight distance | 11hrs 55mins 11hrs 55mins by car (920 kms) | 14hrs 18mins 14hrs 18mins by bus (920 kms) (920 kms)
 N : Salta - Argentina 517 kms 517 kms straight distance | 10hrs 58mins 10hrs 58mins by car (943 kms) | 13hrs 9mins 13hrs 9mins by bus (943 kms) (943 kms)
 O : Cafayate - Argentina 528 kms 528 kms straight distance | 12hrs 49mins 12hrs 49mins by car (1001 kms) | 15hrs 22mins 15hrs 22mins by bus (1001 kms) (1001 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Antofagasta, Chile:

Residencial El Cobre, Antofagasta, Chile - Large Photo
Residencial El Cobre, Antofagasta, Chile (April 2014 - 1 night) - There is a big misconception about the so-called problem of expensive accommodation in Antofagasta. I found Residencial El Cobre in the very center of the city, 20meters from the main McDonalds. For $9000 pesos ($17USD) I had my own room, it was not flash and there was no wifi or anything. The shared bathrooms had hot showers. Fine for 1 night. Who said there was no cheap accommodation in Antofagasta?

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Antofagasta, Chile - Top Attractions Are The Historical Center & Street Art. A pleasant city out on the coast in the north. I found lots of graffiti art here and enjoyed wandering around the place!

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