Calama, Chile

Calama is a city in the north of the South American Andean country Chile. It is situated in the Región de Antofagasta and has an estimated 160,000 inhabitants ( INE 2012 projection ).


The desert town of Calama is at an intermediate plateau amid the Atacama desert, about 600 km south of Arica.

With an annual rainfall of 0 mm, the city is one of the driest places on earth. Accordingly, there is virtually no vegetation in the area of the city.


The city was formerly called Chiu- Chiu and was renamed in 1840 in Calama. They belonged to Bolivia. In saltpeter the city on March 23, 1879 captured by Chilean troops and has been one of Chile. In 1886 the city received a railroad connection.

Having been in the vicinity of the contaminated copper mine Chuquicamata no one is allowed to live since 1 January 2003, Calama experienced rapid growth.


Calama is no definite tourist city. A tour of the huge copper mine, however, is impressive.

Travel to the southern Salar de Atacama to the geysers at El Tatio or to Bolivia are possible.

Economy and Transport

A large part of the population is professionally associated with the Chuquicamata copper mine, the largest copper mine in the world.

By Calama performs a railway line connecting the port city of Antofagasta with Oruro in Bolivia. It is used on the one hand, to bring the mined copper ore to the port in Calama, Antofagasta, for others it is a connection between Bolivia and Chile 's largest export port of Antofagasta. By 2005 a week drove a passenger train to Oruro. Calama has an airport. Other parts of the country can also be achieved with one of the many buses.

Calama was a stage stop on the route of the Rally Dakar 2011.