An unmistakable landscape, created from the contrasts of desert and sea, is what awaits participants of the 2015 Dakar Rally in Iquique. When passing through the regional capital of Tarapacá, the teams and members of the press who accompany them will get the chance to dine on the “authentic flavours of the North”, savouring traditional dishes from the Aymara culture and gastronomy.
Participants will be able to try typical Altiplano recipes, made from regional products grown along the coast and in the valleys and in the mountains — in particular, quinoa, mangoes, Camiña garlic and Pica lemons. Traditional dishes are accompanied by national wines and a display of the characteristic weavings produced in the region.
Iquique is a city that knows what it means to live the “good life”. Close to the beach, in front of the tall, white buildings, it is not uncommon to see a convertible sports car whizz by along the coast road. Its history goes back to pre-colonial times, when its inhabitants worked in to agriculture and fishing. The free trade zone, in operation since 1975, transformed the city into a commercial trade centre for Mercosur and Asian Pacific countries. Between the beaches — Cavancha and Brava — you’ll find lots of great restaurants that prepare an authentic mango sour, a regional treasure. YiyoIllanes is the city’s local talent. In 2014, he competed in a Jaton Racing Motor 100 buggy, alongside the main driver, EnzoCordano. This year, he hopes to improve on his previous performance.
The sites of the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works are located 45 kilometres south of Iquique. Built in the middle of the driest desert in the world, they were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005.
At is peak, the saltpeter zone was home to around 200 simultaneously operating works. Their strongest period was the beginning of the 20th century, during what was known as the “Golden Age of Salt”. Today, they are a living reminder, the most complete physical and representative testament to the salt industry that Chile has to offer.
At its peak Santa Laura was home to a population of 425, while Humberstonehad over 3,500 inhabitants. The saltpeterworks were established in 1872 and, over the course of many years, they were managed by a variety of owners. The first hiatus in production occurred under the leadership of the Gibbs Company in 1932.
Later on, it was taken over by the Tarapacá & Antofagasta Saltpeter Company (COSATAN), which completely renovated the area in 1934.
Renovations included the construction of a theatre, food market, school, church, hospital, swimming pool, sports fields, traditional grocery store, green spaces and accommodation for employers, admin. staff and manual workers. The constructions were inaugurated on November 21, 1934 — the date when “La Palma” changed its name to what it goes by today, “Santiago Humberstone”. Both the Humberstone and Santa Laura works stopped operating in 1960. The properties were sold by auction to Isidro AndíaLuza, who acquired them for 820,000 escudos (Chile’s currency at the time).