Chuquicamata tours in Antofagasta are now being offered by many travel operators. This is a testament to its popularity. There are many things to do and see in Chile, but this is one of the most thrilling.
This open pit copper mine is located approximately 200 km northeast of Antofagasta. It is 1,250 km to the north of Santiago, the capital city. The pit is just outside Calama. The tours are done with the cooperation of Codelco, a state owned copper firm.
What to See
The tour commences with a trip around the town. This used to be a vibrant place with playgrounds, banks and hotels, but has since been abandoned due to health risks. From here, the tour gives you the chance to see different types of mining gear and vehicles.
Visitors will be taken to Mirador. This will provide you with a fantastic vista of the mine. Visitors will also get to see some copper ore. The Chuquicamata tours also offer plenty of information about mining in general.
Records show that the area has been mined for a very long time. In 1889, a mummy was uncovered in the site. This mummy was trapped in the mine. The remains date back to 550 AD. Mining continued up to the War of the Pacific on a small scale.
During and after the war, mining was expanded. This became possible after Chile acquired vast lands from Bolivia and Peru. Soon, hundreds of mines were set up at the site. The early years were chaotic. But large companies came and took over the small ones. This helped organize the activity in the area.
The basic tour itself is free. But the pay tour packages offer more amenities. The cost of the tour is around 120 USD per person. The fees are reduced the more people are with you. This rate includes any entrance fees, transportation and guides. Some tour operators will charge even less.
You are allowed to take pictures the mine. Wide angle lenses are ideal for the panoramic pictures of the mine. You can use a standard camera, but it will be hard to get the whole picture. If you are going on tour, make certain you bring some water. Food and water may be provided for by your tour operator.
The Chuquicamata tours are allowed from Mondays to Fridays. The mine itself operates everyday. Due to its popularity, advanced booking is necessary.