Highlights of Iquique, Chile

Iquique is currently known for two things – a really long beach and the home of paragliding.  It also has an interesting history as being part of the nitrate boom in the early 1900’s.

Iquique 2014The beach tends to get filled up around 4pm when it starts to cool down.   It was too hot to sunbathe without an umbrella.  You can find bodyboarders further down the beach where the waves are a bit larger.  Bob and I were silly enough to go in the sea with our sunglasses on when we got taken out by a big wave.  Bye bye sunglasses!  In spite of that, it was great to go swimming in the sea!

As I mentioned before, Iquique is the home of paragliding.  Rather than spending our money on an excursion to visit the abandoned nitrate towns of Humberstone and Santa Laura, we decided to try tandem paragliding instead!

Arlene ParaglidingIt was an amazing experience and surprisingly relaxing.  I managed to land on the beach and Bob ended up in a football pitch!  There was also a moment when I thought I might disgrace myself when I got a bit air sick, but I got through it thankfully!  It is something we would both try again and highly recommend it.  The views were amazing!


Me trying not to be sick while chasing the thermals and trying to enjoy the amazing views at the same time.

Iquique became prosperous in the early 1900’s due to nitrate mining, and it also had a very busy port.  You can still see some of the old buildings that remind one of the wild west as they are mainly built from wood.

Iquique 20141There is one long street in the town full of these lovely buildings and it has been designated as a historical area.

As Iquique is on the coast, it is not unusual to see the obligatory tsunami sign post.

DSCF6629The whole coastline of Chile is a tsunami zone.  The nearest hill in Iquique is quite some way unfortunately.  I didn’t really want to think about that!

As for the food, we did not have one bad meal and a couple of expensive ones.  We tried Japanese Peruvian.  If we had more Spanish, we might have worked out what this in fact was.  However, our meals were excellent.  Bob tends to go for the lomo and I had a risotto with asparagus, avocado and the most tender piece of lomo I had in ages.  However, the big foodie thing here is sushi!

DSCF6688It wasn’t sushi as I knew it, but it was really delicious!  Not one piece of seaweed in sight!

Staying at the beach wouldn’t be right without taking the obligatory sunset photos.  After all, we were on the Pacific!

Iquique 20142Iquique boasts an extremely long promenade with a cycle path alongside of it.  After work, you will find hoards of people on the seafront doing group exercise, running clubs, etc. Not very different from at home in Eastbourne!


We had a great time in Iquique!  We met some lovely people and tried new things!


4 thoughts on “Highlights of Iquique, Chile

  1. Thanks for the post – some good info there. Would you say one day in Iquique is enough? I’m more into walking, exploring, local history and culture and taking photos than lying around on a beach (though I would stlll check it out for sure). I’m going in April so not sure how hot it will be them or if the water is warm enough to swim – I’m guessing not as it will be going into winter.

    Anyway, I have one extra day at the end of my South America trip which I can spend in Arica (not sure there’s anything there), Iquique or back in Santiago before I fly out…. any opinions on that you’d care to share? Is there anywhere else down the coast before Santiago that is really worth visiting?

    • We went to Iquique because we were going north and wanted to try the paragliding and hit a beach for a couple of days. We liked it but not Arica. We missed out on Valparaiso and everyone seems to love it. We also loved Santiago and had 10 days there!

      • Thanks Anne, appreciate the reply. I have 2 full days in Valparaiso as the friend I’m traveling with insisted we go there – and I’m glad she did becasue it looks and sound excellent. We’re basically going straight from the airport so it will be our first destination in Chile.

        In the end I decided to just fly from Arica back to Santiago so I will spend the extra day in Santiago. That will give me two days which I hope is enough to see the sights and relax a bit before my crazy-long flight back to Australia. Did you find Santiago dangerous? I keep reading how dangerous the big cities are in South America, especially La Paz where we have 3 days.

      • I spent 10 days in Santiago. You do need to keep an eye out on your bags, wallet, etc. as in any other city, but no, I did not think it was dangerous. Arlene

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