Copiapó Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Copiapó, Chile with this detailed travel guide. Discover the top attractions, itineraries, food scene, and travel tips to make the most of your visit.

Introduction to Copiapó

Copiapó is a charming city located in the northern part of Chile, South America. The city is a hub for mining and has a rich history of silver and copper mining. Copiapó offers plenty of attractions ranging from natural wonders to historical landmarks, making it an ideal destination for both history buffs and adventure seekers. In this comprehensive travel guide, you will discover the top things to do in Copiapó, the best places to stay, where to eat, and lots more.

List of Places to Visit in Copiapó

Here are some of the top places to visit in Copiapó:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Plaza de Armas - This historical town square is the heart of the city, and the main attraction in Copiapó. Here you will find a beautiful fountain, picturesque gardens, and magnificent colonial buildings.
  • Museo Mineralogico - This museum showcases a vast collection of minerals, showcasing some of the rarest and most precious stones and minerals in the world.
  • Iglesia Catedral de Copiapó - This grand cathedral is a significant landmark in the city. It has a baroque-style architecture with beautiful stained-glass windows, and it is a must-visit place for those interested in religious history.

Natural Attractions of Copiapó: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar - This park is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. It features a diverse range of ecosystems, including sand dunes, desert, hills, and beaches.
  • Desierto Florido - This is a magical natural event that occurs during the spring season. The desert comes alive with colorful wildflowers.
  • Bahia Inglesa - This beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. It’s a beautiful bay with crystal clear waters and golden sand beaches. Boca del Rio, one of the best seafood restaurants in the area, is located here.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Copiapó

Copiapó is a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. Here are some of the best trails to explore:

  • Sendero Mirador Piedra Colgada - This hiking trail takes you to a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the city.
  • Laguna Santa Rosa - This is a scenic hike to a beautiful lagoon surrounded by mountains and peaceful scenery.
  • Cerro La Cruz - This mountain bike trail is a challenging but rewarding ride with stunning views of the valley and the city.

Best Things to Do in Copiapó: Activities and Tours

Here are some of the best things to do in Copiapó:

  • Visit a mining site - Copiapó is a hub for mining, and there are plenty of tours to discover the history and modern-day mining.
  • Stargazing - With its clear skies and minimal light pollution, Copiapó is an ideal place for stargazing.
  • Wine Tasting - Copiapó is a gateway to the Atacama desert region, which boasts a thriving wine industry. Take a tour of a local vineyard and winery to sample some of the local varieties.

Week-Long Itinerary for Copiapó

Here is a suggested week-long itinerary for Copiapó:

  • Day 1: Plaza de Armas, Museo Mineralogico, and Iglesia Catedral de Copiapó.
  • Day 2: Explore the town of Tierra Amarilla, located 15 km west of Copiapó, to learn about the mining history and indigenous peoples of the area.
  • Day 3: Visit Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar for a day of hiking trails, beaches, and nature.
  • Day 4: Take a day trip to Desierto Florido to see the wildflowers in full bloom.
  • Day 5: Enjoy an outdoor adventure-filled day at Laguna Santa Rosa and Cerro La Cruz.
  • Day 6: Visit a local vineyard near Copiapó for a wine tour and tasting.
  • Day 7: Spend the day relaxing on the beaches of Bahía Inglesa.

Food and Drink Scene of Copiapó

The food scene in Copiapó is influenced by traditional Chilean cuisine and the local flavors of the Atacama region. Here are some must-try dishes:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Empanadas - A traditional Chilean dish that is perfect for any meal of the day. Empanadas are stuffed with meats, vegetables, or cheese.
  • Locos - A type of sea snail, typically served grilled or as a ceviche.
  • Pastel de Choclo - A delicious hearty dish made with ground beef, onion, and a puree of fresh corn.

Local Beverages

  • Pisco - A type of brandy made from grapes, which originated in Peru but is now popular in Chile as well.
  • Chilean Wine - Copiapó is a gateway to the Atacama desert region, which produces some of Chile’s best wines.

Where to Stay in Copiapó: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Copiapó offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Here are some recommendations:

  • Hotel San Francisco de la Selva - A charming boutique hotel located in the heart of the city.
  • Hostal Solar - A budget-friendly option that provides comfy and clean rooms for travelers.
  • Tierra Atacama - An upscale and luxurious option if you’re looking for a more lavish stay. It is located in San Pedro de Atacama, a nearby town accessible from Copiapó, and offers amazing views of the Atacama desert.

What to Buy in Copiapó: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Lapis Lazuli - Lapis Lazuli, a beautiful blue gemstone, is only found in certain parts of the world, and Chile is one of them. Copiapó is a great place to purchase quality Lapis Lazuli jewelry and handicrafts.
  • Chilean Wine - As mentioned earlier, the Atacama region is home to some of Chile’s best vineyards. Take a bottle of the excellent local wine with you as a souvenir.

Local Culture and Customs of Copiapó

The local culture of Copiapó is heavily influenced by the mining industry. The city has a rich and long history associated with silver and copper mining. Visitors can learn about the history and significance of mining in the region through museums and tours. The people of Copiapó are friendly and welcoming, and they take pride in their rich cultural heritage.

Best Time to Visit Copiapó

The best time to visit Copiapó is during the spring and fall seasons (September to November and March to May). The weather is pleasant during these months, and the wildflowers could be seen during the desert bloom season. Summer (December to February) in Copiapó can be extremely hot, and temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

Do’s and Don’ts of Copiapó


  • Respect local customs and etiquette.
  • Carry a water bottle and sun protection while exploring the outdoor attractions.
  • Try the local food and drink.


  • Don’t disrespect or harm the local nature and wildlife.
  • Don’t wander alone during the night in deserted areas.
  • Don’t engage in disrespectful or disruptive behavior in public places.

Safety and Health

Safety in Copiapó

Copiapó is generally a safe destination, and travelers should follow basic safety precautions. Like any other place in Chile or South America, street crime and pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded tourist areas and public transportation. Be aware of your surroundings and carry only essentials with you.

Health in Copiapó

Travelers must be cautious regarding the high altitude and aridity of the Atacama region. Altitude sickness is a real possibility, and you should give your body time to acclimate before embarking on hikes or other adventures. The lack of humidity can cause dehydration, so it is crucial to stay hydrated.

Getting to Copiapó: Transportation Options and Logistics

Copiapó has many transportation options to reach the city and get around. Here are some of them:

  • Air Travel: The Copiapó airport (Desierto de Atacama Airport) receives regular flights from Santiago and other domestic destinations.
  • Bus: Copiapó has well-connected bus stations that offer services from most cities in Chile.
  • Car Rental: Car rentals are available from the airport and city center.

Airports Near Copiapó

  • Desierto de Atacama International Airport (CPO)

Bus Stations Near Copiapó

  • Terminal Copiapó (Centro)
  • Terminal Copiapó (Ruta 5)

Other Options

  • Taxi - Local taxis are readily available and offer affordable rates for short trips.
  • Bicycle Rental - Biking is a popular way to traverse around Copiapó city.

How to Get Around in Copiapó

Getting around Copiapó is easy due to its well-connected transportation network. Here are some popular options:

  • Public transportation: Public buses and colectivos are the most common modes of public transportation in Copiapó.
  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available throughout the city.
  • Bicycle: Bicycling is a popular means of transportation for visitors and locals, particularly in the city center.

Where to Go Next from Copiapó: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Copiapó is an excellent base point for several day-trips and excursions. Some must-visit places near Copiapó are:

  • San Pedro de Atacama - a small town north of Copiapó renowned for its natural beauty, geysers, hot springs, and desert sunsets.
  • La Ligua - a beautiful beach town, situated around 125 km from Copiapó, and well-known for its beautiful handicrafts.
  • Bahía Inglesa - a natural bay and beach paradise located 77 km away from Copiapó.


Copiapó is a hidden gem in Chile that deserves more attention from travelers. The city’s rich history, scenic views, and outdoor adventures make it a perfect destination for tourists. Use this comprehensive travel guide to plan your trip, and have an exciting and memorable time in Copiapó.