Humberstone & Pica Oasis

  • Port

    Iquique, Chile

  • Activity Level

    Moderate

  • Excursion Type

    Local Sightseeing, All

  • Wheelchair Accessible

    NO

  • Cost

    USD USD USD

    Price between $101-$150
  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 7 Hours

  • Meals Included

    Yes

Departing from Iquique, an hour's journey through the coastal range brings you to the nitrate town of Humberstone. Founded in 1862 at the junction of the Pan-American Highway and the road to Iquique, it is today a ghost town after operations here ceased in 1960. See the remaining buildings around the square, including the theater, a general store, the administration buildings and even a swimming pool.

Continue with your drive on the Pan-American Highway through the town of Pozo Almonte and the Tamarugal Forest. This natural reserve of tamarugo trees pops up as quite a surprise in the vast desert.

Only five miles from Pozo Almonte, you will leave the Pan-American Highway to take the road to Pica. On the way, you will pass through the small town of La Tirana, where a very famous religious festival is held every July 16th. It is called the Virgen del Carmen Festival and the town's year-round population of 600 inhabitants is elevated to 100,000 people for a few days.

After crossing a vast desert area, you'll suddenly see the green oasis of Matilla. This small village dates back to 1760, when wine-making was the main industry. The local church here deserves a visit.

Next is the nearby Pica oasis. An ancient town, Pica dates from the pre-conquest times. Several springs surface here making water readily available and lending the town the air of an oasis. The main crop in Pica is citrus trees, which have replaced the vineyards of colonial times.

In the afternoon, return to Iquique and the pier.

Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes.