Where ever we go we seem to find or make an adventure out of it. Although we only spent a little time in this city, we had a lot of crazy Antofagasta Adventures. Whether it be exploring, working on a project, or searching for a connector.
Matt and I had not explored the southern portion of Antofagasta. So, we set out on a bright, sunny day, turned right and kept walking. We passed several pop up tiendas with locals selling their wares, a new Jumbo grocery market and an Easy hardware store.
We finally made it to Balneario Municipal Antofagasta which is “the” beach for locals. They have a giant slide, a floating islands in the center of the bay, free showers and several eateries. They even had a sectioned off area for kids to play in the water. It was a protected bay with about 2′ of water.
We walked a little further and realized we were almost to the end of town. So, we doubled back, stopped in for a cold beverage and hit the Jumbo and Easy stores.
As you know, there is a never ending project list on a boat (as on a house). After we were rested and finished exploring Antofagasta, we checked a few boat projects and pre-departure preparations off our list.
Mano del Desierto – Hand in the Desert
Several tour companies highlighted tourist spots in and around Antofagasta. One of those spots is a giant hand in the desert. What, you ask? We had to see it. We rented a car and drove 45 minutes into the Atacama Desert. You certainly can’t miss it because it is huge.
The Mano del Desierto sculpture was constructed by the Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level. Its exaggerated size is said to emphasize human vulnerability and helplessness. The work has a base of iron and concrete, and stands 11 metres (36 ft) tall.
Matt thought it would be fun to try to take the rental car (a Chevrolet Sail) up the mountain. Unfortunately, it only made it half way before we rolled it back down. We did manage to hike to the top, which was hard with the altitude.
Cerro El Ancla (Anchor Hill)
We stare at this upside down anchor every day. We gauge where we need to go and where we’ve been using the anchor as a mark. The “Cerro El Ancla” anchor symbol, installed since the beginning of the city of Antofagasta, has become one of the emblems of the city
The origins of the anchor lie in the foundation of the city itself. In the founding charter of La Chimba, it was ordered to mark with an anchor the most visible point of the hill adjacent to the nascent population. In 1868 , Jorge Hicks ordered an employee named Clavería to paint an anchor, as a reference sign for the ships that sailed San Jorge Bay to Antofagasta. Claveria misread instructions Hicks, thus finally painted an inverted anchor.
It is no easy thing to get to the ancla. First, you have to walk / hike to the top of the city to get to the base of the hill. Then you hit the dirt roads. In the first picture, the flag indicates where the anchor is located. The second photo is a shot 1/2 way up the hill. The center is a shot from the base of the hill.
At the base of the hill is the monument to the upside down anchor (top left). Me sitting on the anchor, resting and admiring the view (top right) Photo with the arrow shows you where Sugar Shack is located. And if you zoom in on the bottom right you can see me still sitting on the anchor as Matt walks around and to the top.