Iquique, Chile - Polarsteps

Iquique, Chile: population: about 190,000. Back in the early 1880s, there was a war between Chile and Peru, and Iquique and the regions north of it were taken by Chile. The history dates back to something like 7000 years BC. Iquique and other towns of northern Peru owe their existence to saltpeter mining. In 1835, Charles Darwin visited Iquique and apparently wasn't very impressed with what he saw, he said, Iquique is a town "very much in want of everyday necessities, such as water and firewood". The city's economy now relies on commercial and port activities as well as tourism. So, my impressions: Iquique is both a beach and desert city. And it sits barely above sea level. If there ever is a tsunami here this city would be literally wiped off the face of the earth. The city has the ocean on one side and steep almost cliff-like hillsides around the read of the city. And they are high. A giant wave would hit the city then hit the hillside "walls" and bounce back and hit the city again as the water was still pouring in from the ocean. It would be a 100% wipe-out erasure of a city. Would I choose to live here? No. Other than that, the city is a tourist city with lots of beach-side condos and apartment buildings and long beaches (though some have water and waves that are rough and dangerous so swimming is not allowed). The city is generally clean, especially the city center, and there are many buildings and houses that date back to the 19th century. One difference here is these old houses are wood-framed and sided, unlike in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, where I saw something like 99.99% of the houses made of masonry. I wonder where the wood came from? This is a desert with absolutely no plant growth of any kind. Here in the city, the plant life has all been brought in by people.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Iquique