Destination guide: Calama, Chile
Calama is a city located in northern Chile, more than 2,000 meters above sea level. It is considered the country’s mining capital, due to the fact that most of its economy is based on the mining of minerals in deposits such as Radomiro Tomic, El Abra and Chuquicamata. The latter is the biggest open cast copper mine in the world, which is why one of the main tourist attractions in Calama are the guided visits offered around it.
The city also has a rich natural and cultural heritage that you can discover both in its center and in the surrounding oasis and neighboring villages.Calama is also the starting point for your trip to San Pedro de Atacama.
Calama (elevation 2250m)– most people will only stop here for the night on their way to San Pedro de Atacama –Everywhere are reminders of the precious metal: copper statues, copper wall-etchings and reliefs, and even a copper-plated spire on the cathedral In 2004 the city also inherited a wave of copper refugees when the entire population of polluted mining town Chuquicamata relocated here.
The city’s history is tied to that of Chuquicamata. It’s a measure of Calama’s relative youth that it did not acquire its cathedral until 1906 – until then, it was ecclesiastically subordinate to tiny Chiu Chiu.
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