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Municipal Theatre in Iquique | © Fabolu / WikiCommons
Municipal Theatre in Iquique | © Fabolu / WikiCommons
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The Best Museums to Visit in Iquique, Chile

Picture of Will Lees
Updated: 4 December 2017
At first glance, you would think that Iquique is a popular tourist destination in Chile simply because of the constant sunshine, sparkling ocean, relaxed town centre, and beautiful beaches that line the whole city. Although those are prominent reasons why people vacation in Iquique, travellers tend to frequent here for the historical aspect and cultural experiences available at the excellent museums.
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Humberstone Saltpeter Works

No museum can be more interactive than the preserved town of Humberstone, which visitors can walk around. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, this destination, located just under 50 kilometres (31 miles) inland from Iquique, was one of the ‘nitrate towns’ that grew during the late 1800s, and it feels as if everyone got up and left everything behind, which they essentially did.

Humberstone Saltpeter Works, KM 47, Pozo Almonte, Región de Tarapacá, Chile, +56 57 276 0626

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Regional Museum of Iquique

A very informative, free museum in the centre of town on Baquedano Street, the Museo Regional de Iquique takes you back in time as far as science can record. Starting at the creation of the universe, visitors can ‘travel’ through the Jurassic era, into the local history of the Chinchorro people, and into the expansion of Iquique through saltpeter mining. There are a lot of visual aspects, including ancient mummified human remains and fossils.

Regional Museum of Iquique, Baquedano 951, Iquique, Región de Tarapacá, Chile, +56 57 254 4719


Entrance to Regional Museum of Iquique | Will Lees / © Culture Trip

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Iquique Naval Museum

The history of Iquique is much more than a fast-growing mining town, and the Iquique Naval Museum explains its pivotal point during the War on the Pacific. The exhibits inside the fortress-style building delve into the maritime past of Iquique, exploring the battles that took place on these shores and the brave sailors who fought them. It’s a great way to get informed of the history of Iquique while on the way to the Corbeta Esmeralda.

Iquique Naval Museum, Esmeralda 250, Iquique, Región de Tarapacá, Chile

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Corbeta Esmeralda Museum

Complete your Iquique naval history lesson with a view into the living quarters, and battle stations, of a 19th-century warship at the Corbeta Esmeralda Museum. To get a feel of what is arguably the biggest sea battle ever fought on Chilean waters, walk aboard a 1:1 replica of the famous Esmeralda ship that sunk off the coast during the Battle of Iquique. Tours run for 40 minutes, but be sure to call in advance. They book up quickly, and some days are by reservation only.

Corbeta Esmeralda Museum, Avenida Arturo Prat, Iquique, Región de Tarapacá, Chile, +56 57 253 0812

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Municipal Theatre

Along with the Torre del Reloj, or clock tower, directly in front, the Municipal Theatre and Museum in the centre of Iquique is possibly the most beautiful building, inside and out, that the city has to offer. The theatre, completed in early 1890, is still immaculate inside and now acts as a museum showcasing the entertainment history of Chile as well as the old-fashioned techniques and procedures used to create special effects during the performances.

Municipal Theatre, Thompson 269, Iquique, Región de Tarapacá, Chile

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Military Museum of Tarapaca

Behind a very unassuming, beige exterior hides more information on the history and independence of Tarapaca, the province that hosts the town of Iquique. The Military Museum of Iquique is another reminder that Chile’s history and independence was a bloody one. Seemingly prehistoric muskets and rifles, as well as cannons and daggers, are on display, allowing visitors to compare the form of war from just over a century ago to what it is today.

Military Museum of Iquique, Baquedano 1396, Iquique, Región de Tarapacá, Chile