Up north in Iquique

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It’s Cavancha Beach and uniquely duty-free shopping that brings the tourists to Iquique. February is the peak holiday time here

It took us 36 hours to go by plane and then bus from the south to the north of Chile. It was not without drama – the bus broke down in the night and we were all stranded in the middle of nowhere until a replacement bus could be called out.

The fun, touristy town of Iquique is our base for the next few days. After hours of the empty Atacaman desert it’s frankly amazing to find here a booming city of over 1/4m people.

Temperatures have rocketed up, shorts have replaced our hiking clothes, and for the first time in Chile/Argentina we took a siesta.

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This full-scale replica of the Esmeralda tells the story of Captain Arturo Prat’s 1879 death in the ‘War of the Pacific’. Despite sinking, it’s the Chilean equivalent of HMS Victory
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We sat down for an hour to watch the sun set over the Pacific – beaches that face west are always the best
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