Iquique is the capital of the Region Tarapaca in Chile which stretches from the Peruvian border in the north of the country to the Rio Loa in the south. The outskirts of Iquique are lined with old and decrepit timber houses which make quite a contrast to the modern houses that can be found on the promenade. You will find that Iquique is a great location to reach the Cerro Dragon on foot. The Cerro Dragon is a huge sand dune that is over 800m high and has unbelievable dimensions but can also be reached with car hire. A trip to Santiago de Chile with car hire has a distance of roughly 600 miles, perfect for a road trip!
The city that today accommodates 150,000 inhabitants used to be a Peruvian Saltpetre (sodium nitrate) harbour in the 19th century. Today, Iquique is a bustling Latin American city. The people look proudly on their new beaches and the historic treasure – the Barrio Historico which is the apple of their eye. You will find a large number of tourist attractions located in the centre of Iquique that can be easily reached in your hire car. The central point of the city is the generously proportioned Plaza Arturo Prat. In the middle there is a beautiful white bell tower which contains a clock from the year 1877- the clock is the city’s landmark. Huge palms and fine ironwork benches decorate the area where you can while away the hours.
For those of you that are interested in culture the architecturally magnificent Teatro Municipal will definitely be a building for you to gaze upon. It was built at the end of the 19th century. In those days the theatre was mainly used for the opera but today it’s used as a theatre and there is a separate room that can be used for events. A small museum is attached to the theatre that is definitely worth taking a look at.Near to the theatre you will find the building of the Sociedad Protectora de Empleados de Tarapaca. This building was constructed in 1911 and was the first workers union. On the east side of the Plaza Arturo Prat you will find yourself looking at the beautiful building of the Centro Espanol This building was built in 1904 in a Moorish-Andalusia style as a place to assemble the Spanish community. The building is most certainly a highlight of the Plaza.
Follow the Calle Baquedano from the Plaza in a southerly direction and you will come across a well kept complex of houses from the time of the nitrate boom. This complex is at the same time the heart of the historic district. In the Avenida Baquedano you will also find the interesting Museo Region that exhibits an extensive collection of the cultural artefacts from the area. Furthermore there is lots of information about the history of the Nitrate Boom. On the other side of the street you will find the Palacio Astoreca. On the upper floor of the palace, you will find interesting exhibitions that have been organised by the city university.
The brightly coloured city cathedral which has been maintained in the colours yellow and sky-blue can be found near the Calle Ramirez. In your hire car, you can travel independently from the public transport and discover the surrounding areas of Iquique. It is worth it to take a trip to the Humberstone Mine and the Oficina Santa Laura that can be found close to the junction of Panamericana and can be very easily reached with car hire. You should definitely not forget the beautiful beaches of Iquique and you should definitely pack your bathing suit.
CarDelMar wishes you a pleasant journey with car hire in Iquique.