My name’s Yerko Bustillos. I was born and raised in Iquique. This city is located in the amazing Tarapacá Region on the coast of Northern Chile.
Travelling has always been a big part of my life. We used to go on road trips when I was a kid and visit the southern parts of Chile at least once a year. My Dad was an antiques dealer and he used to sell many analog cameras. I started to acquaint myself with photography from this point onwards.
It was only a couple of years ago that I started to take photography as more than just a side hobby. I began taking pictures of stunning landscapes across Chile and specifically aerial photographs with my drone. These days I love taking photos of Iquique – its unique buildings, landscape and sea.
Why Iquique Should be on your Bucket List
Iquique is a unique coastal city which makes for a great addition on a wider tour of the Atacama Desert. It’s also a great stop off point for travellers on the way from Argentina to Peru. What I love most is the fact that it never rains and the weather is always suitable for outdoor adventures.
The city offers a mix of different attractions including surf beaches, paragliding adventures, glitzy casinos and massive shopping centres. You can even go sand-boarding here. Probably the biggest drawcard out of all the activities just mentioned is surfing. It’s some of the best in all of Chile.
One of my favourite places to enjoy an adventure in Iquique is “El Cerro Dragón”. It’s the world’s largest urban sand dune. When you reach the top, you have a panoramic view of the whole city and the coastline. The best part is that it doesn’t cost anything to enjoy the sunset from here.
6 Best Things To Do in Iquique
1. Catch a Wave and Swim at Playa Cavancha
Cavancha Beach is located in the heart of Iquique and is one of the best beaches in Chile. You’re surrounded by modern urban architecture, a fantastic walkway and convenient shops. Here you can catch a wave and learn how to surf from the many surf schools in Iquique.
2. Go Sandboarding in the Dunes of Cerro Dragón
El Cerro Dragón is the highlight of any trip to Iquique and makes for an unforgettable experience. The enormous sand dune is around 4km long and varies in height from 150-500 meters. Only the sand dunes in the Sahara are higher. Of course, you have to go sandboarding!
3. Visit Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works
Just 50kms outside of Iquique is the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Humberstone and Santa Laura. The site contains over 200 former saltpeter works where workers from across Chile, Peru and Bolivia lived in company towns and formed a unique communal culture. It’s a fantastic day trip.
4. Drive to the Hot Springs of Colchane
It’s a three and a half hour drive from Iquique to the hot springs near Colchane but the drive takes you through some stunning scenery in the Altiplano. Known as “Termas de Enquelga”, these springs range from 30-85 degrees. You can relax in these springs and the scenic views of nature.
5. Cool off from the Heat at Cocha Resbaladero, Pica
Pica is a small town just outside of Iquique which has a freshwater oasis called Cocha Resbaladero. This pool is surrounded by unique rocks, hanging vegetation and a watery cave. It’s a great spot to cool off from the heat of the desert. However, there’s not much else to do in Pica.
6. Enjoy a Paragliding Adventure from Alto Hospicio
There is a whole other city sitting above Iquique called Alto Hospicio and it’s the perfect spot to go paragliding. In theory, you can take off from any part of the ridge here above Iquique. Flying over the desert landscape is just stunning, especially at sunset which offers unparalleled views.
The Rich History and Heritage of Iquique
The rich multicultural identity of Iquique can be seen through the mixture of different languages, traditions, foods, religions and celebrations. Everything is constantly evolving here and adapting to new trends but the city (and wider region) maintains its culture and preserves its uniqueness.
Due to the proximity of Iquique to Peru and Bolivia, there is a really exciting culinary flair to be enjoyed in this city. Since we are a seaside town, we have typical seafood dishes like “caldillo de pescado” which is a type of fish stew/soup. Also, we have a traditional pastry called “chumbeque”. Yum!
Where to Stay on your Visit to Iquique
Since Iquique is a tourist city, there is a wide variety of accommodation available from five-star hotels such as Terrado Suites and Hilton, to budget backpacker accommodation like Backpackers Hostel which is located right on Cavancha Beach. It’s got the best location in all of Iquique.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
If you decide to visit Iquique don’t forget to bring your swimsuit to enjoy some of the best beaches in Chile. I invite you to travel through the highlands and small towns that make up this unique region of South America. Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch with me anytime!