Tarapaca
Best months:
January to November

Tarapaca

Chile
LAST UPDATED 10/06/2008
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introduction

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B1mbo: Mapa loc Tarapac√°; 6 October 2007

The Tarapacá Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It ia located between ChileanArica-Parinacota Region to the north, Bolivia's Oruro department on the east, the Antofagasta Region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The total area of the region is 59,099.1 km². The capital is Iquique.

surfing

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Benutzer Caupolican: Torres del Paine; 2005

The Tarapaca Region and the capital here, Iquique are a virtually untapped surfing destination. West coast currents ensure the water is always chilly (16-19C) so it's steamers all year round. Regular SW swell drives up the coast from the deep south pacific making this one of the most consistent surfing areas on the planet. March to November is your window with consistent year round surf a possibility. A nice place to work on your cold water reef skills.

travel

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DJFunkinmixer: Expressway in Las Condes; 28 May 2005

Metro is a reliable way of travelling in Santiago, Valparaiso and Concepcion. You are required to buy a ticket when you enter the system, and then you can ride as much as you want.

The bus system is very good as well and allows you to get from town to town without any problems. Just note that the journey might take some time, as most of the buses stop at many bus stations along the way. If you want to get around the cities, then take a local bus called Micro, they are good and quite affordable. Just note, that there is a lack of the maps with the routs, so your knowledge of Spainish will really help you out. Another option in the city is a mix between a micro and a taxi - colectivo. They are more comfortable then buses and move around quicker. The price depends on the time of your travel, but colectivo can be even cheaper than the micro.

Hitchhikin is possible as well. Just don't do it on the the major highways, be patient and show that you are a tourist (your backpack, flags attached to it, etc).

where to stay

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Koiranaama: Radisson SAS hotel, 15 May 2008

Iquique is the capital of Tarapaca province, in the northernmost area of Chile.
As a duty free zone, the city is busy all year round with a vital tourism industry and recreational center.
The hotels are a good stay for visitors to the desert, the archaeological regions, the national parks and the beaches. With a mild all year-round climate, Iquique is one of the most visited cities in Chile so definitely the best to stay in.

Hostal Li-Ming is located right across the road from the bus terminal - which can be really convenient. Free use of a kitchen and a few different types of rooms to choose from.

Backpacker's Hostel - a Euro-friendly hostel providing their guests with comfortable lounge, TV, kitchen, breakfast, bar, ping-pong, hammocks, guitar, computer with internet, etc. Bikes, surf and bodyboards (plus equipment), and sandboards for rent.  The best thing is that the hostel is located close to the beach and not too far from historic district. Matrimonial suite and separate cabin are available.

Hotel Oregon is about a 20 minute walk to the beach. Features high ceilings and provides bathtubs for guests

Other luxurious hotels which travellers may want to consider include:
Radisson Hotel, Terrado Hotel, Gavina Hotel, Sunfish Hotel

what to pack

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Brandon Blinkenberg- Toilet paper; 2007-03-07

The climate is mostly desert like, so take trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot and dry weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as medication is "rare" here in Chile.

If you take some extra basic medicines for locals or just give them what you didn't use, that would be great. The same story with soap, toilet paper and anti-septic hand-shower stuff, batteries...take plenty for yourself and share with the local, they will appreciate it.

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