Top things to do in Norte Chico

Top Choice Mine in Copiapó

Mina San José

In 2010, 33 miners were trapped more than 700m underground after a devastating collapse within the mountain where they'd been working. Following a Herculean effort – which pulled resources from a number of countries…
Top Choice International in Vicuña

Chivato Negro

Two blocks east of the plaza, Chivato Negro has a bohemian, vintage vibe with a spacious patio hidden in back. There's a wide-ranging menu of sandwiches, pizzas and regional dishes (like grilled trout), plus a three…
Top Choice Chilean in Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

Club Social Chañaral

A surprising find in the small town of Chañaral, this exceptional restaurant serves excellent fish (try the pejegallo with capers and beurre blanc) as well as grilled sirloin steaks and budget-friendly lunch special…
Top Choice Chilean in Vallenar


On a leafy block a 10-minute walk east of the plaza, this bohemian bar and eatery has earthy decor of wood and adobe, snacks, and pizzas with unusual toppings like goat's cheese and charqui (jerky). Excellent (and m…
Top Choice Cafe in Caldera

Cafe Museo

Head to this cute little cafe with old posters and newspaper clips, adjacent to Casa Tornini, for its delicious cakes, sandwiches and real espressos on wooden tables inside and a couple more on the sidewalk.
National Park in Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

Pan de Azúcar

The cold Humboldt Current flows up the desert coastline, bringing with it its peppy namesake penguin and abundant marine life. The worthwhile 44,000-hectare Pan de Azúcar includes white-sand beaches, sheltered coves…
Island in Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

Isla Pan de Azúcar

The subtriangular-shaped Isla Pan de Azúcar lies a tantalizingly short distance offshore, its base often shrouded by camanchaca (thick fog) at twilight. It is home to about 2000 Humboldt penguins, as well as other b…
Museum in Copiapó

Museo Regional de Atacama

This catch-all museum provides an overview of the region's natural and human history, its mineral wealth, and key events that have shaped history over the centuries. Among the wide-ranging displays, you'll find anci…
Archaeological Site in Valle del Encanto

Monumento Arqueológico Valle del Encanto

An intriguing gallery of pre-Colombian rock art can be found at Monumento Arqueológico Valle del Encanto, a rocky tributary canyon of the Río Limarí 19km west of Ovalle. An array of petroglyphs and pictographs depic…
Museum in Ovalle

Museo de Limari

Housed in the right flank of the old train-station building, this museum houses dramatically lit ceramics, most of which are Diaguita, dating from around AD 1000 to AD 1500. The museum touches on key facets of their…