Study Spanish in Iquique, the popular seaside destination in the north of Chile.
Whilst at first glance, Iquique may appear a traditional beachside destination with a stream of holiday goers and casino visitors, its location between the crashing waves of the Pacific, the Atacama desert, and the borders of Peru, Bolivia and Chile give it a long and interesting history. Still relatively undiscovered, Iquique is an entincing place to practice your Spanish with locals and Chilean visitors alike.
Iquique is today a fashionable desert city, with beautiful white sandy beaches and palm-tree lined streets, but it evokes a feeling of mystery and makes visitors question how the beachside destination came to exist as it does today. Iquique and its surrounds were populated by the now extinct nomadic Chango indigenous peoples of southern Peru and northern Chile, prior to the arrival of the Spanish.
With soils rich in sodium nitrate, the northern parts of Chile became the global centre of saltpeter mining and as a result, territorial disputes between Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Saltpeter mining existed as a strong part of the economy until the 1950s, and as a result there are now many mysterious abandoned towns to be explored from Iquique, including Humberstone and Santa Laura which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites.
In recent years, Iquique has blossomed into a fantastic tourist destination, hosting international surfing events and becoming one of Chile’s most popular surf destinations. Iquique’s architecture reflects its interesting history, and more can be learnt by visiting museums such as the Museo Corbeta Esmerelda. Still relatively undiscovered as an international tourist destination, sipping a fresh juice on the Playa Cavancha boardwalk with Iquique locals is the perfect way to practice your Spanish.
Iquique is also a fantastic starting point for exploring northern Chile in general, famous for its awe-inspiring desert landscapes, crystal clear night skies and Andean plateaus.
Contact us at our Santiago based Yalea office and our experts will help you plan your Spanish language course and Chilean adventure!