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Trip Planner South America  /  Chile  /  Atacama Region  /  Chanaral
(4.4/5 based on 120+ reviews for 1 attraction)
Things to do: nature
Chañaral is a small coastal city and commune in the Atacama Region, Chile and capital of the Chañaral Province. A colourful town largely unknown by tourists, who generally head straight for towns such as San Pedro de Atacama. The town is considered unspoiled, with the benefit of having absolutely no high rise buildings. On the arid hills nearby is a lighthouse which casts a beam over the town during the night. Throughout the day and night, there is a lively, bustling atmosphere on the narrow streets. Despite it being coastal, it is not a typical seaside resort, partly because the ocean is contaminated by copper mining industry. Situated a short distance to the north is the Pan de Azúcar National Park.HistoryIn 1824, Diego de Almeyda made the discovery of the large natural deposits of copper in the area, and was the first in the mining industry in Chile to export it. For this reason, the town was founded October 26, 1833 as Chañaral de las Ánimas ("Chañar field of the Souls"). A few of years later, Pedro Lujan discovered ore at El Salado, where a mine was built. In 1836, a shipping port promising raw material was constructed. The great boom Chañaral began in 1860 when A. Edwards & Company was inaugurated where an inn exists today.
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