Chile🇨🇱 is a country I don’t think I would’ve found myself visiting if it wasn’t for my mere love to explore the diaspora of black people around the world. Additionally, I don’t think I would have been to Chile 4 times if it wasn’t for my fiancé living there for a year and a half.
Nonetheless, each time I’d visit, Dimy (my fiancé) and I would explore somewhere new. We decided on Northern Chile, and planned to fly north from Santiago and make our way up to Arica, Chile where the Black Chileans lived. But, this post is about our first mission, which was to fly to Antofagasta.
What’s so special about this city you may ask. Well, for one northern Chile in general is quite different due to the fact that most of the upper part of the country is desert. Antofagasta and Arica live in the Atacama desert which has been found to be the driest place in the world. I found out they had this really cool humongous Hand in the middle of the dessert called “Mano del Desierto” and wanted to get a chance to see it.
When we arrived in Antofagasta, it was indeed quite dry. We rented a car and were on our way to our hotel. The city is beautiful and right on the ocean.
We checked into our hotel and proceeded to drive into the desert. One of the coolest things about this experience is the fact that I’ve NEVER seen ocean and desert co exist. But here, in Antofagasta, you will get the wonderful ocean on one side and then you look to the other side and see desert… hella cray! So we drove for about 45 minutes until we arrived at the wonderful work of art.
The hand is 36 feet tall, wayy bigger than we expected and it is literally, LITERALLY in the middle of no where. On the drive we didn’t pass much of anything so you’re straight drivin’ into the desert to get here.
When you do arrive it’s such a nice pay off. The history behind why this hand exists is that it is supposed to represent injustice and the victims lost during the Chile dictatorship. We spent about an hour here. The ambience just called for us to stay. Standing in the middle of nowhere basically in silence. It was an experience I think we’ll never forget.
I’m all about exploring places that get less attention. Usually when people visit Chile they stay in Santiago, which is fine. However, if you’re looking for a cool place away from a lot of tourist, and you’re up for seeing something different, I’d suggest checking out the far north or even far south!
That’s it for now. Check back next week for Part 2 of this post with the details on how we made it to Arica and our encounters with the Afro-Chileanos.