Welcome to Antofagasta!
The second biggest city in the country, Antofagasta, Chile, is a historic city well known for its rich cultural tradition and superb beaches. A port city, where the sea meets the desert, Antofagasta is a place where life is unhurried. Whether you wish to explore natural monuments and ruins, mingle with the locals on one of the lovely beaches, or try local foods at the city market, there are plenty of cool activities to keep you entertained in Antofagasta for at least a couple of days.
Whether you’re staying in an Airbnb or a hotel, Antofagasta is waiting for you to leave your room and explore. Instead of roaming its streets with a typical travel itinerary, explore the city as a worldwide local to discover some of its best attractions. In this insider’s guide, you’ll find plenty of information on unique things to do in Antofagasta.
Where to Begin
Start off your travel adventure with a visit to the Museum of Antofagasta, which is located right by the seafront. Here, travelers will have a chance to learn more about the history of the city, they are about to explore. The museum houses nearly 10,000 artifacts and pieces, which are stored in 12 different areas. Visit the central part of the city, Plaza Colon, and Arturo Prat. Expect to find everything from picturesque squares, to numerous boutiques and restaurants. Our next stop is the Centro Cultural Estación Antofagasta. Located just a short walk from the waterfront, this cultural center boasts interesting exhibitions that focus on topics such as national identity and immigration. The center also organizes a variety of events including yoga sessions and film screenings.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a local experience, pay a visit to the thoughtfully designed Biblioteca Regional de Antofagasta. Opened in 2013, the library features a nice interior and hosts art exhibitions. There is a nice café in the back where you can unwind with a refreshing drink or two.
Take a Day Trip into the Stars
Located just south of the city, in the Antofagasta region, you will find Paranal Observatory. This is the world’s second-largest optical observatory and an ideal place to visit for all you stargazers out there. Public tours are free of charge and available every Saturday. Due to high demand, it is recommended to book the tour in advance. Monumento Natural La Portada is probably one of the most famous attractions in the area. Located 22 km outside the city, this 31-hectare protected zone is famous for beautiful sculptures made by Mother Nature. You will also find a nice museum here.
Worldwide Local Tip: One of the strangest artistic expressions in all of South America can be found right outside of Antofagasta. See the Hand of the Desert, an 11-meter hand coming right out of the desert sand. This amazing sculpture was created by Mario Irarrázabal.
Beaches in Antofagasta
No visit is complete without spending some quality time on the playas Antofagasta is known for. Make your way to Playa Paraiso, located just a short walk from the center of the city. This golden strip of sand is a perfect place to get to know the local life. Whether you wish to go swimming, enjoy sunset views, or play a game of volleyball with the locals, Playa Paraiso has it all.
Where to Eat
To try local food delicacies in the city, it’s best to stop by Terminal Pesquero. This busy fish market is home to dozens of stalls, selling everything from fried fish and ceviche to seafood soups.
Worldwide Local Tip: Shopaholics visiting Antofagasta will find high-end fashion at the Mall Plaza Antofagasta. Besides shopping, you can have a drink at the picturesque outdoor café. Travelers looking for local clothing, souvenirs, and accessories can visit Mercado Central.
Enjoy Your Stay!
The city may not be your average tourist destination, but its unique charm rarely fails to impress, making it incredibly easy to enjoy Antofagasta. Explore the streets of the city as a worldwide local and gain easy access to some of its finest attractions.