Humberstone & Pintados Geoglyphs

  • Port

    Iquique, Chile

  • Activity Level


  • Excursion Type

    Local Sightseeing, All

  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Cost


    Price between $101-$150
  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 6 Hours

  • Meals Included


Gunpowder, fertilizer, preservatives and green vegetables all contain nitrates. How is this possibly relevant to your day out in the Iquique region? Tune into your guide to learn the fascinating story of nitrate -- a polyatomic ion that lies at the heart of the area's legacy of boom and bust.

An hour's journey through the coastal range brings you to the former nitrate town of Humberstone. Founded in 1872 at the junction of the Pan-American Highway and the road to Iquique, today it's merely a ghost town. Operations ceased in 1960 but the remaining buildings around the square, including the theater, a general store, administration buildings and even a swimming pool are quite intact. It's a rather eerie setting -- well preserved in the dry Atacama Desert.

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

Thirty minutes on lies the site of one of the largest displays of ancient Native art. More than12 acres of hillside slopes are decorated by more than 400 figures depicting humans, animals, birds or abstract shapes, both isolated and arranged into thematic groups. The Pintados Geoglyphs are estimated to date from AD 1000 to AD 1400 and are thought to be part of a votive center. They're quite fascinating and raise more questions than they provide answers, but your curiosity will be piqued and your imagination fired.

Finally, begin the relaxing 75-minute return journey to Iquique.

Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes.