Oficina Salitrera Santiago Humberstone

Oficina Salitrera Santiago Humberstone

Oficina Salitrera Santiago Humberstone
4.5
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,660 reviews
Excellent
1,176
Very good
396
Average
73
Poor
12
Terrible
3

Katrien S
Ghent, Belgium1,949 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
The village and factory were build to subtract and treat salpeter, and is thus located near the place where the stone containing saltpeter was found, in the middle of the desert. Once the natural saltpeter industry collapsed, due to synthetic fertilisers, the town was deserted, as its only reason for existence stopped. Since then the town has slowly decayed, although more recently the decay has been stopped, and some parts are partially renovated. It is thus a mining town preserved, although the housing for the miners themselves have collapsed and disappeared. But the other housing, the hotel, theatre, grocery store where they had to pay with fichas, as they weren't paid in money, but fiches that could only be spent in the town stores owned by the mine company. Also the factory buildings largely remain. Very well worth a few hours strolling through, in the part near the entrance typical objects used in the town are on display, and there is a decent amount of information also in English.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Miguel P
Las Condes, Chile38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
If you are not familiar with the salitre industry history in Chile, this is a good starting point. Renovated in most parts, it tells you a story...of sacrifice, of social classes discrimination, of working and making your living and loving even under the most extreme life conditions. Note that employees and workers lived in different areas and type of houses...also the pool could be used only by employees and their families and after years, the administration opened it for workers and their families, but in a different time than employees. Everything is a piece pf history, but also explains a lot of this country’s present. For everyone it is a reminder on how mankind can be God and the Devil at the sametime. A real experience for the family!
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Culinary-Consultants
Ferrara, Italy3,745 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Couples
A few kilometers from Iquique, in the middle of the desert, a wooden fence separates the abandoned Salitrera Office "Santiago Humberstone" from the highway. When a dirt road arrives, old lampposts, immobile wagons and houses that inside exhibit old toys, telegrams and utensils, among other things, give a silent welcome to those who come to know one of the best-preserved abandoned nitrate towns in the world. world.

A trip to this area can only be motivated by something that generates great interest and, without a doubt, this World Heritage Site is capable of delivering a unique experience to its visitors.

If what formerly gave life to this piece of desert were the workers, foreign businessmen, women and children; what reigns today in the place is the wind and the chirps that it provokes when moving the doors, windows and ramshackle lanterns.

However, to travel Humberstone is not only to enter a solitude that floods every corner, but also to relive what was one of the greatest feats of man: to have inhabited the driest desert on the planet and extract from it this mineral that some Once it was so appreciated around the world.

Like many others, the history of Salitre in the heart of the pampa had a beginning and an abrupt end, which many years later it is possible to discover walking the streets of Humberstone.

In 1872, eleven years before the Pacific War ended with Peru transferring the towns of Tacna, Arica and Tarapacá to Chile, La Palma - as it was originally called this nitrate office - opened its doors thanks to the Peruvian Nitrate Company.

The fame of being the only one in the world, together with Santa Laura, who extracted natural nitrate on an industrial scale, quickly traveled the world. In the period of the War of the Pacific, different companies took charge of the Office, until in 1890, being property of The New Tamarugal Nitrate Co., adapts the system Shanks for the extraction of saltpeter.

This fact, in addition to significantly changing the industrial extraction of this mineral, is responsible for the office changing its name to Santiago Humberstone.

History tells that after the Great Depression of 1929 the nitrate closed its doors for some years, resuming its tasks in 1934, year in which in the hands of the Salitrera Company of Tarapacá and Antofagasta, COSATAN was renamed in honor of Thomas James Humberstone, An English chemical engineer of only 25 years, responsible for adapting the new system of extraction of saltpeter, but who was also a man noted for his humane and friendly treatment for what the workers recognized him affectionately calling him "Don Santiago".

After this, the glory times for the sales of the so-called "white gold" would come, but it was not long before the synthetic nitrate was invented.

Thus, almost overnight and without remedy, the Chilean saltpeter ceased to be competitive in the world. His era was over and with it, the particular life and culture that for almost 90 years populated the Pampas.

In 1961 the farewell meeting was held in the large public swimming pool of the nitrate factory. At the end of the ceremony a padlock was symbolically placed at the entrance to the town, officially closing the activity of Humberstone.

Time later was auctioned, happening to be property of a particular one. However, in 1970, the Santiago Humberstone Saltpeter Office was declared a National Monument. In 2002, it became the property of the Museo del Salitre Corporation, after acquiring it in a auction.

This organization is the one that until today is in charge of what was left of the nitrate. Finally, in 2005, UNESCO named Humberstone as a World Heritage Site.
Written October 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jengiz m
8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Couples
Great place as all say..
i Will tell you about How to go there because i Think the information is lagging.
Step 1 locate the Mercado centenario
It is a Big yellow building with eating spots and Greens.
Then go to the mark i have put on the map.
On that street there should be a shuttlebus and the ticket are beeing sold right in the front of the shuttle.
The Price is around 2000pesos pr.p
The time Will be around 40min to humberstone the shuttle Will stop some places leaving the City.
You Will see signs on the Way on the Road so you should not miss it.
It is really easy to spot where to go when your are getting off.
When you whant to return the shuttle normaly comes up the same Road you walk On to humberstone
Written March 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joline A
Tucson392 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
My wife and I visited Humberstone and Santa Laura in December 2010 with our English-speaking Guide, Rudi. Humberstone is a ghost town where the saltpeter miners lived; it has been designated as a cultural heritage museum and there is a small fee to enter. The place has been abandoned since 1960 but much of the location dates back before 1900. There is a huge theater that is still in good condition, a bakery, an ice plant, offices, and a riveter iron swimming pool!
Santa Laura, just across the road about a half- mile, lies completely abandoned-- just walk in and wander around in the old steel & wood buildings. There is a huge nitrate processing plant with a tall smokestack, a building housing two old two-cylinder engines (made in England) that generated electricity for the plant, and a building with 4 or 5 old air compressors. It is spooky to listento the old corrugated tin buildings rattling and banging in the wind-- it is a perfect movie location.
Chile exported nitrate and earned fabulous wealth until a synthetic process (the Haber Process) for making ammonia was developed in Germany in the 1920s. The market for Chilean nitrate plummeted but smaller minimg operations continued until it shut down completely in 1960. Consider driving to Santa Laura & Humberstone on the way from Iquique to the oasis of Pica.
Written December 15, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lotta B
Lhasa, China91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Couples
Various people told us "just to take a minivan from the central market/ mercado centanario". As we searched for a while we find it worthwhile mentioning that the minivan leaves just off the south/west corner. You have to walk 10-20 meters into Calle Barros Arana - so south at corner Barros Arana/ Almirante Latorre. There is a little agency and a minivan waiting to be filled up. Cost is ca. CLP 2,500 pP.

Entry fee for Humberstone is CLP 3,000 pP
Written April 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Haythem19
Bellevue, WA188 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Solo
If you're at all curious about modern ruins, abandoned buildings or just kind of like the idea of being in a semi-post-apocalyptic town for a few hours, then you will certainly enjoy Humberstone. Built to mine nitrate for fertilizer, this town was extremely advanced for its time with amenities like a theater, basketball court and bowling alley before a cheaper alternative came along and forced the mine to close up, leaving an entire town to lie in waste in the desert. The pool lies empty, showing clearly how it was made from an old ship. The theatre and church have been restored to great condition (which I found disappointing). The industrial areas were the most fascinating to me. Old machines that had rusted in their place. Cars and trains left out to bake in the sun. A giant smoke stack still held up by guy wires as vultures circle overhead. A must-see while in Iquique!

To arrive, go to the Mercado Centenario in Iquique at the corner of Santiago Aldea and Barros Araña. Take one of the shared yellow taxis. It costs CL$2,000-$3,000. Bring lots of water, sunscreen and maybe lunch. The food for sale on site is limited to candy and ice cream. To get back, you can hail shared taxis coming back to Iquique or even intercity busses like I did!
Written January 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

C1001
Leuven, Belgium12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2013 • Couples
Interesting touristic point near Iquique where you have a lot of history about the region and the nitrate industry in the past. Now it is the called "Ghost city", but in the past it was constructed near the nitrate production to provide basic services for the population living and working there. Don't forget sun cream, water and snacks as you can spend more than 2 hours walking around it!
Written July 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karla G
Santiago, Chile773 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Friends
Although I grew up in Iquique, I haven't been to the salpeter since 2010. It has changed quite a lot. I really like that now you have some history written on different walls. I especially liked the "pulperia" and the train station sections.
There are public restrooms and some shops nearby, so if you forget to bring your bottle of water, there is no problem. The fee was 4.000 CLP for one adult; 3.000 CLP for seniors, and 2.000 for a student. You can either take a tour to reach this place or drive by yourself (it's pretty close to Iquique).
Please remember to bring a hat and cover yourself with sunblock (at all times). No matter the month you visit it will always be hot, so please take good care of your skin.
I highly recommend this place.
Written August 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brad S
Portland, OR13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Couples
My wife and I spent over 3 hours doing a self tour of Humberstone. It has a fascinating history and really is a true ghost town. It helped us learn a lot more about the local history of the mining of nitrate in the late 1800’s - mid 1900’s in Chile and some more about Chilean history. The displays were both in Spanish and English. Helped us with improving but limited Spanish skills :). The renovations to some of the buildings like the Theatre really helped to imagine what it was like. Many of the buildings especially the mining area are very rustic and unchanged though have many years of decay which we found quite amazing to see. It’s a World Heritage Site and well worth a visit.
Written December 16, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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