What You Need To Know

Antofagasta  is a port city in northern Chile, about 1,100 kilometres (700 mi) north of Santiago. It is the capital of Antofagasta Province and Antofagasta Region. According to the 2012 census, the city has a population of 345,420. Formerly part of Bolivia, Antofagasta was captured by Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879–83), and the transfer of sovereignty was finalized in the 1904 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two countries. The city of Antofagasta is closely linked to mining activity, being a major mining area of the country. The last decade has been a steady growth in the areas of construction, retail, hotel accommodations, population growth, and remarkable skyline development. Antofagasta has the highest GDP per capita of Chile, 37,000 USD and the 3rd place for Human Development Index just after Metropolitana de Santiago Region and Magallanes and Antártica Chilena Region.


Area: 30,718 km²

Population: Estimate 396,530


  • The Chilean peso is the currency of Chile.


Antofagasta’s economic development is mainly based on copper mining and nonmetallic minerals such as nitrate and iodine. It is also important port activity, although in recent years has lost the lead port in the region, due to the installation of the megaport of Mejillones. Antofagasta owns two major industrial areas, one is located 20 kilometres (12 miles) outside the urban area known as Ciudad Empresarial La Negra, a complex of approximately 2,400 hectares. There are refinery furnace copper industries in addition to cement, lime and other products. The second industrial area is located in the north of the city, where they have installed multiple operating centers of different companies, mainly along the “Pedro Aguirre Cerda Avenue.” Trade is concentrated mainly in the center of Antofagasta, around the Plaza Colón, where there are installed within the last 2 decades several national retail chains. Moreover, in different parts of the city have set up large supermarket chains like “Líder”, “Tottus”, “Unimarc”, “Santa Isabel” and “Jumbo”. Recently in 2006, were also installed, the national chain ” Mall Plaza” in the coastal area and the “Casino Enjoy Antofagasta” in the south of the city.



As a commune, Antofagasta is a third-level administrative division of Chile administered by a municipal council, headed by an alcalde who is directly elected every four years. The current mayor is Mrs. Karen Rojo. Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Antofagasta is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Mrs. Marcela Hernando (PRSD) and Mrs. Paulina Nuñez (RN) as part of the 4th electoral district, (together with Mejillones, Sierra Gorda and Taltal). The commune is represented in the Senate by Mr. Alejandro Guillier (Ind.) and Mr. Pedro Araya (Ind.) as part of the 2nd senatorial constituency (Antofagasta Region). The township has three local police courts. In addition, the Municipality of Antofagasta has a number of municipal headquarters, which are entities created to meet and control certain community needs a more specific way.


Health systems

Healthcare in Chile is provided by the government via Fondo Nacional de Salud (FONASA) and by private insurers via Instituciones de Salud Previsional (ISAPREs).



The Republic of Chile is an overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking country, with the exceptions of isolated native and immigrant communities. According to Ethnologue, Chile has nine living languages and seven extinct.




The main land route connectivity in the province is the Route 5-CH, route which connects the city with the rest of the country and is part of the Panamerican Highway. This route connects to the city by the Route CH-26 in the north of the city, and the Route CH-28 at the south entrance. In addition, the city is connected to the north of the country by Route 1-CH, the way that also allows access to Cerro Moreno International Airport and the natural monument La Portada. Vehicular traffic is concentrated around the main avenues of the city due to the long and narrow shape of the urban area. The only avenue that crosses the city from north to south, corresponds to the coastal route known as “Avenida Costanera“, which is formed by the avenues Jaime Guzmán, Ejército, República de Croacia, Grecia, José Manuel Balmaceda, Aníbal Pinto, 7º de Línea and Edmundo Pérez Zujovic; these avenues provide access to places like “Mall Plaza Antofagasta“, the “Campus Coloso” of the University of Antofagasta, the city hall of the Municipality of Antofagasta, among others.

Airport and Port

Cerro Moreno International Airport is the only air terminal in Antofagasta and is located in Cerro Moreno, north of the city. This site, despite being classified as International Airport, operates only as a terminal for national flights. In this terminal operates three domestic airlines, LAN Chile, Principal Airlines and Sky Airlines to many Chilean airports and also to Lima, Peru being the only international destination served by TACA Perú. The city also has a port complex of seven docks, inaugurated by President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo on 14 February 1943 under the name of Puerto de Antofagasta, which consists of two terminals. Terminal 1, consists of the docks 1, 2 and 3, is multi-operator and is managed by the “Empresa Portuaria Antofagasta” (EPA) since 1 July 1998. Terminal No. 2, composed of docks 4, 5, 6 and 7, monooperario type, which is managed and operated by the company “Antofagasta Terminal Internacional” (ATI) since 1 March 2003. Overall, this tourist (member of the Association of Cruise Ports Southern Cone) and commercial port, can operate the production of 5,000,000 tons of cargo. The Escondida, which is the biggest private mining in Chile, has a private port located in southern city, near “Cerro Coloso”.

Public Transport

Bus of the “TransAntofagasta”.

Antofagasta train to Bolivia (FCAB).

The higher transportation consists of thirteen lines of minibuses, which correspond to buses with a capacity of less than thirty people. The public transport is within a tender and is known as TransAntofagasta. The public transport plan took effect officially on 28 November 2005, replacing the old bus service.[19] The route of these buses finish in the Caleta Coloso (south end of the city) during the year, and during the summer come as far as “Balneario Juan Lopez”, which is out of town. The lower transport consists of taxis lines, corresponding to a black sedans that make their way through the urban area through fixed routes.


The most important railroad town is the “Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia” (FCAB) founded in 1888, during the economic boom of the saltpeter industry.Unlike other contemporary mining railways, survived the market crash of natural nitrate and today provides a variety of transportation services, highlighting the transport of mining products and consumables such as copper cathodes and sulfuric acid, through a network of 900 kilometers (560 mi), which is connected with the Ferrocarril Andino de Bolivia, Ferronor (in Chile), and Ferrocarril Belgrano in Argentina (Salta–Antofagasta railway). Since 1930, the company was acquired by Antofagasta PLC, which is part of the economic group Quiñenco. The gauge of the FCAB is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in).




The town of Antofagasta has a mild desert climate (Koppen) BWn with abundant sunshine and strong maritime influence. The marked aridity and water scarcity are regulated by the Humboldt Current, addition to the high humidity and morning fog known as camanchaca. Furthermore, the Pacific anticyclone generates winds from the south and southwest. All this means mild and stable temperatures for most of the year. The average annual temperature is 16.8 °C (62.2 °F). The average daily low temperature in the warmest month, January, is 17.5 °C (63.5 °F) while the average daily high temperature is 23.2 °C (73.8 °F). The coldest month, July, sees an average low temperature of 11.8 °C (53.2 °F) and an average high temperature of 16.5 °C (61.7 °F). The highest temperature recorded is 30.0 °C (86.0 °F) on January 1998 and the lowest recorded is 3.0 °C (37.4 °F) on September 1978. The Atacama Desert coast is subjected to a climate of extreme aridity, therefore generates a low average annual rainfall of 3.4 mm (0.13 in) (1970–2000). However, the sporadic occurrence of heavy rainfall, together with the geomorphologic situation of the city, make it susceptible to be affected by mud flows and landslides. Between 1916 and 1999, the city was affected by floods or landslides on seven occasions: 1925, 1930, twice in 1940, 1982, 1987 and 1991, of which the most important episodes in 1940 and 1991.