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Iquique, Chile - Georgian Architecture & Beach - Northern Tarapaca Region

Chile travel blog by Mark Berman - May 2009 May 2014   » View Photoset (90 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
May 2014 It was great to be back in Iquique exactly 5 years after my first visit, however it was only 1 month after the magnitude 8.2 earthquake in
Chile Photo - Wooden house, blue and grey, door and window, in Iquique.
Wooden house, blue and grey, door and window, in Iquique.
April the previous month, so this was slightly on my mind. After checking into a hostel, making sure it wasn't next to or under a 10 storey building, I had a quick wander about the place in the late afternoon. It had been a long day of bus travel, 90 minutes from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama and from there 5hrs up to Iquique.

Walking Around Town

The city looked intact. I didn't really see any debris or damage from the earthquake. That evening I got myself a cheap meal and walked around the streets in the central shopping area 2-3 blocks up from Plaza Prat. Next morning I headed down to the coast around Playa Bellavista and the rocks where the pelicans hang out. I was particularly on the lookout for street art and wall murals or anything different to photograph. I enjoyed once or twice
Chile Photo - Nice cross-section of views, busts, flower pots, park and huge buildings behind Playa Cavancha in Iquique.
Nice cross-section of views, busts, flower pots, park and huge buildings behind Playa Cavancha in Iquique.
again walking along the main pedestrian walk called the Baquedano, where all the cool Georgian Architecture is and also around Plaza Prat. I found a church on a backstreet called Santuario Sagrado Corazon de Jesus and saw the odd surfer at the beach.

Around the Beach

The weather was much better than on my first visit, it was all blue skies. At beach Playa Cavancha at the other end there are many palm trees and nice places to walk around cactus and rocks. There's a couple of busts of military men - Captain Ignacio Carrera Pinto and Subtenant Luis Cruz Martinez as well as some flower gardens. Across the road you will see some cannon outside a nice blue and white church and military base - Cuartel Granaderos (1905). I did find some street art and bits and pieces in the backstreets, old houses, the Maria Auxiliadora School and some interesting street corners.

My First Time in Iquique

May 2009 On my first visit to Iquique I arrived in the mid-evening and walked for 10 minutes to the central Plaza Prat. The clock tower Torre Reloj was lit up with
Chile Photo - Boy with a boogie board walks past 3 palm trees in front of the beach in Iquique.
Boy with a boogie board walks past 3 palm trees in front of the beach in Iquique.
lights, there is a fountain bridge leading towards the Teatro Municipal which has a sequence of colored lights lighting it up so it is changing color. I looked for a place to stay, the first places I went to were either full or too expensive. I did eventually find a hostel on the main walkway called Baquedano. I went for a walk along Baquedano after checking in and found a restaurant and bar called Ronny Tequila, they had some nice food available and you can sit outside. I was getting the feeling that Chile is quite expensive compared to the rest of South America though. Next morning my aim was to have a good look around Iquique for a few hours and take lots of pictures. I walked to the beach, I hadn't seen the coast since Peru 5 weeks earlier. There were pelicans
Chile Photo - Man with dog wall mural on an old house near the sea in Iquique.
Man with dog wall mural on an old house near the sea in Iquique.
sitting on rocks and the odd person still asleep on the sand. Iquique is a beach resort but it definitely wasn't the peak season on this day in late May. Nearby is a small garden on a traffic roundabout with a statue of an important Chilean statesman called Diego Portales y Palazuelos.

Baquedano and Georgian Buildings

I walked back to Baquedano to have a look at the Georgian buildings that line both sides of this very long thoroughfare. Baquedano is wide and has street lamps, palm trees, seats, fountains, sculptures and a tram running all the way down and has a very stylish feel about it. I walked in the direction of Plaza Prat. Sights include the wooden tram, the Teatro Municipal, the Torre Reloj and the fountain bridge and a statue of a goose. It is a very nice area to walk around, there are
Chile Photo - A nice yellow historical building with a lookout tower on a corner in Iquique.
A nice yellow historical building with a lookout tower on a corner in Iquique.
busy side streets with the hills as a backdrop in the distance. I saw the maritime building Gobernacion Maritima de Iquique with armed guard on the roof, a statue, a church with a big monument of Jesus on the cross, a nice blue building with a statue in front and bags of dried fruit and nuts for sale which is popular in Chile. I started to walk along the wooden boardwalk on Baquedano away from the plaza to see the beach area way down the other end. Along the way apart from the colorful buildings I noticed a place that rents bicycles called Arrendamos Bicicletas at #1440. A bike would be a good way to see Iquique. At the other end near the beach I saw a statue on a pedestal of a man with a sword and flag and at ground level a flame was burning. The beach has a
Chile Photo - Woman shouts out, wall mural on a street corner in Iquique.
Woman shouts out, wall mural on a street corner in Iquique.
boardwalk next to the sand with palm trees on the other side, there were a few people surfing. I came across a statue of a man on a horse, he is Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme who was an independence leader who helped free Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. The beach is really big and would be busy at peak season I'm sure! It was time to make my way back towards the hostel to checkout and walk to the bus terminal.

Pelicans and Sealions at the Port

Down past the plaza on the coast is the port, a lot of fishing boats and cargo area and there was a bunch of pelicans, vultures and seals and a statue of Almirante Patricio Lynch Solo de Saldivar who was a Chilean naval officer. I also saw a submarine sitting there.

Bus to Arica

From Iquique to Arica on the
Chile Photo - The facade and statues of the Maria Auxiliadora School of basic learning in Iquique.
The facade and statues of the Maria Auxiliadora School of basic learning in Iquique.
bus through the rocky and mountainous terrain takes about 5hrs. We left towards the huge hills behind Iquique and began to ascend up the 4 lane road and as we did the views got really good. It had looked amazing the previous night when I arrived with all the lights. My 2nd time in Iquique, it took 4hrs 30mins to bus north to Arica.

Last Word

So to sum it up, Iquique is a nice place and is in a great setting. It would be fun in the summer months but probably even more expensive than it already is!

     

View all photos in the Iquique Photoset


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


Map location: Iquique, Chile. This is a great city on the north coast and it's full of Georgian architecture, the beach is nice too. Spend a couple of days relaxing in Iquique for sure!
 A : Iquique to Arica to Peru Border - Chile 78 kms 78 kms straight distance | 1hr 43mins 1hr 43mins by car (139 kms) | 2hrs 3mins 2hrs 3mins by bus (139 kms) (139 kms)
 B : Arica - Chile 195 kms 195 kms straight distance | 3hrs 57mins 3hrs 57mins by car (315 kms) | 4hrs 44mins 4hrs 44mins by bus (315 kms) (315 kms)
 C : Chile Border to Tacna - Peru 210 kms 210 kms straight distance | 4hrs 29mins 4hrs 29mins by car (342 kms) | 5hrs 22mins 5hrs 22mins by bus (342 kms) (342 kms)
 D : Tacna - Peru 244 kms 244 kms straight distance | 4hrs 50mins 4hrs 50mins by car (371 kms) | 5hrs 48mins 5hrs 48mins by bus (371 kms) (371 kms)
 E : Calama - Chile 279 kms 279 kms straight distance | 4hrs 33mins 4hrs 33mins by car (393 kms) | 5hrs 27mins 5hrs 27mins by bus (393 kms) (393 kms)
 F : Antofagasta - Chile 365 kms 365 kms straight distance | 5hrs 5hrs by car (408 kms) | 6hrs 6hrs by bus (408 kms) (408 kms)
 G : Oruro - Bolivia 403 kms 403 kms straight distance | 6hrs 6hrs by car (478 kms) | 7hrs 12mins 7hrs 12mins by bus (478 kms) (478 kms)
 H : San Pedro de Atacama - Chile 361 kms 361 kms straight distance | 5hrs 27mins 5hrs 27mins by car (488 kms) | 6hrs 32mins 6hrs 32mins by bus (488 kms) (488 kms)
 I : Moquegua to Desaguadero - Peru 346 kms 346 kms straight distance | 6hrs 27mins 6hrs 27mins by car (523 kms) | 7hrs 44mins 7hrs 44mins by bus (523 kms) (523 kms)
 J : Uyuni & the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) - Bolivia 347 kms 347 kms straight distance | 8hrs 53mins 8hrs 53mins by car (528 kms) | 10hrs 39mins 10hrs 39mins by bus (528 kms) (528 kms)
 K : Tupiza via Atocha to Uyuni - Bolivia 417 kms 417 kms straight distance | 11hrs 11hrs by car (626 kms) | 13hrs 12mins 13hrs 12mins by bus (626 kms) (626 kms)
 L : Uyuni to Potosi - Bolivia 415 kms 415 kms straight distance | 10hrs 25mins 10hrs 25mins by car (633 kms) | 12hrs 30mins 12hrs 30mins by bus (633 kms) (633 kms)
 M : La Paz to Desaguadero - Bolivia 422 kms 422 kms straight distance | 9hrs 53mins 9hrs 53mins by car (686 kms) | 11hrs 51mins 11hrs 51mins by bus (686 kms) (686 kms)
 N : Puno to Bolivian Border - Peru 447 kms 447 kms straight distance | 10hrs 11mins 10hrs 11mins by car (703 kms) | 12hrs 13mins 12hrs 13mins by bus (703 kms) (703 kms)
 O : Arequipa - Peru 449 kms 449 kms straight distance | 9hrs 13mins 9hrs 13mins by car (730 kms) | 11hrs 3mins 11hrs 3mins by bus (730 kms) (730 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 Iquique, Chile:

Hostal Nan-King, Iquique, Chile - Large Photo
Hostal Nan-King, Iquique, Chile (May 2014 - 1 night) - Fantastic place to stay just 3 blocks up from the main plaza and surrounded by shops and restaurants. Great price, half the cost of the hotels and hostels around the plaza area. I had my own room with tv and wifi, shared bathroom. The hostel is very secure with the owners locking the door everytime someone comes in or goes out. I would stay here again for sure. Recommended!
Hostal Cuneo, Iquique, Chile - Large Photo
Hostal Cuneo, Iquique, Chile (May 2009 - 1 night) - Not bad, nice and central on Baquedano and not too expensive, basic room with shared bathroom, run by some nice old people, was not the most lively place I have been to though.

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