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!

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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!

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

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