Destination guide: Iquique, Chile
Located in the far north of Chile's coast, Iquique is a thriving port city. There are many different industries that flourish here. Iquique is in the heart of Chile's rich mineral country, making it a common destination for mining executives and other staff.
Iquique also offers the opportunity to experience duty free shopping at Zofri, the commercial port centers. The duty free zone includes common goods, but also restaurants, banks, warehouses, and more, in an area of just under one square mile.
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Barefoot surfers, paragliding pros, casino snobs and merchants all cross paths in the rather disarming city of Iquique. Located in a golden crescent of coastline, this city is fast becoming Chile’s premier beach resort, with a glitzy casino, pleasant beachfront boardwalk, and more activities – from paragliding to sand-boarding – than any sane person can take on in a week. The big draw here, of course, are the arching swaths of pitch-perfect beach, which offer some of the best surfing – and sunbathing – around.
Refurbished Georgian-style architecture from the 19th-century mining boom is well preserved, and the Baquedano pedestrian mall sports charming wooden sidewalks. Iquique’s main claim, however, is its duty-free status, with a duty-free shopping zone (zona franca), which uses the ominous sandy hills behind the town as an outlandish nighttime billboard.
The city, 1853km north of Santiago and 315km south of Arica, is squeezed between the ocean and the desolate brown coastal range rising abruptly behind it.
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