Tamarugal Plateau: Humberstone, Santa Laura and the Pintados Geoglyphs

Tamarugal Plateau: Humberstone, Santa Laura and the Pintados Geoglyphs

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      Iquique, Chile
      5.5 Hours
      Shore Excursion with Guaranteed Return to Ship
      From (USD)
      $ 612
      • Santa Laura: Take in this once-prosperous salt mining town, which was mostly abandoned after the nitrate mining industry collapsed in the 1930s.
      • Humberstone: Visit another ghost town that features rows of abandoned shops and homes, many still containing clothes and possessions. There is something so eerie yet so beautiful about this once booming mining town.
      • Pintados Geoglyphs: View these fascinating ancient landscape designs, carved into the hillsides, which were created by indigenous peoples over a thousand years ago.

      Meeting point

      Iquique Cruise Pier. Your guide will be standing on your ship's pier close to where you will disembark. They will holding a sign with your name on it.

      Helpful hints

      Air-conditioned transportation cannot be guaranteed in this destination. Please bring some cash for any purchases you might like to make.

      Getting around

      This tour's activity level is moderate. Anticipate walking over some uneven surfaces and paved walkways and climbing a few stairs.

      Activity type

      Cultural, Family Friendly, Walking Tour, Bus Tour

      Included amenities

      Beverage - Water


      English, Spanish

      Tour ID


      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Suitable for all ages.

      The world we live in today is nothing more than the remnants of what previous generations left behind. But few areas of Earth allow us to see undisturbed relics from as far back in time as the Pintados Geoglyphs.

      These mysterious carvings represent the biggest collection of their kind in all of South America. Historians still aren't sure why or how they got there. Some believe that the ancients carved them to indicate safe routes for caravans traveling through the Atacama Desert. Another opinion is that they may have been used in religious prayer ceremonies performed by the natives. You'll have to formulate your own theory when you lay eyes on the sprawling illustrations for yourself.

      For a more recent example of what those who came before us left behind, consider the mining outposts of Humberstone and Santa Laura. Originally erected in the late 19th century, when Chile's nitrate boom was near its height, these two towns were abandoned in the 1950s after the creation of synthetic nitrates sent the demand for natural salts into a downward spiral. Now protected national monuments, you'll see the movie theaters, houses, and processing plants that once hummed with activity. Walking around the town, you can almost still hear the hum of the salt processing machines and the chatter of the townsfolk, excited about the idea of long-term prosperity that would never come.

      The Red Desert

      The Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth. How barren is it? NASA scientists took samples of the desert's soil and tried unsuccessfully to grow organisms with it. There's only one other place where these scientists observed such lifeless soil: the planet Mars, where spacecraft captured soil samples strikingly similar to the Chilean desert.

      Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.


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      Iquique, Chile
      Great photo opportunities
      Bring money
      Wear sunscreen
      Bring water
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear Hat
      Wear Sunglasses
      Wear shoulder covering

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      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.