Destination guide: Copiapo, Chile

Long before the world-famous mining cave-in of 2010, Copiapo Chile was an established mineral-rich location in the north of Chile. The natural wealth of the region inspired many early businesses to travel to Copiapo, and to begin mining there. Today, you can find from small businesses to larger and state-owned mining operations.

There are numerous interesting historical and cultural sites in the city. You can also explore the Mineralogic Museum as well as the beautiful Plaza de Armas.

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  • Copiapo - Things to do

    Sights

    Casa de la Cultura

    Copiapo's mining heyday is evident throughout its town center. Shaded by century-old pepper trees, Plaza Prat is graced by several buildings from the early mining era, such as the musty old municipal Casa de la Cultura the elegant Iglesia Catedral, with its three-tiered tower. Watch out for the roving fortune-tellers, once they get started you'll have a hard time getting away.

    Latitude: -27.3667937515660 / Longitude: -70.3331851959229
    Sub-Type: Square, Plaza
    Address: Plaza Prat, City Center

    Escuela de minas

    There's a treat for railroad enthusiasts in the grounds of the historic Escuela de Minas, now the Universidad de Atacama, just west of town; on its grounds is the beautiful yellow-and-black Locomotora Copiapo (1850), the Norris Brothers locomotive thought to be the first to operate on the Caldera–Copiapo railway line (and hence the first to operate in South America). Attached are 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-class carriages.

    Latitude: -27.3581990847063 / Longitude: -70.3524541854858
    Sub-Type: Mine
    Addres: Av. Copayapu 485

    Museo Mineralógico

    The must-see Museo Mineralógico literally dazzles. This tribute to the raw materials to which the city owes its existence displays a kaleidoscopic collection of more than 2300 samples, some as delicate as coral, others bright as neon under fluorescent light. The museum was founded in 1857 and supported by the Universidad de Atacama (successor to Copiapo’s famous School of Mines).

    Latitude: -27.3655169807277 / Longitude: -70.3306531906128
    Sub-Type: Museum
    Opening Hours: 10am-1pm & 3:30-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-1pm Sat
    Pricing: adult/child CH$500/200
    Address: cnr Colipí & Manuel Rodríguez
    Telephone number: (56-52) 206 606