Day 26 Humberstone


I booked us a rental car so we could go to Humberstone for the morning. The Thrifty was a few blocks away and we picked up our little car.


It’s manual (neither of us has driven a manual for almost 3 years) and they drive on the wrong side of the road here and almost every street is a one way street.

We make our way out of town and up the dunes. It boggles my mind slightly they manage to put major roads on a sand dune.


We arrive at Humbrstone and get to wander around. It’s a deserted mining town that used to refine saltpeter (sodium nitrate) that is now an UNESCO site. The place is quite massive.


It’s an interesting illustration how a town built by one industry completely collapses. Chile used to supply 62% of the worlds supply until 1929 when the Germans development of the synthesis of ammonia which led to the industrial production of fertilizers. 30 years later works were abandoned and by 1970, even after much modernisation it was a complete ghost town.


It gives you an idea how they related job to living conditions. General workers were assigned tiny living quarters.


That had to fit a whole family.


Supervisors were assigned much larger quarters with 140 m2 of living and outdoor space.


Many of the building have deteriorated over time with the iron roof full of holes


or hardly any iron left at all.


Everything has this rusted, dilapidated look to it it would be a good set for a post apocalyptic movie.



The place hasn’t got many other people during the weekday (advantage of not taking a tour) so you feel like you’re the only one there.


Lots of bits of old machinery are still there.


The administration building looks like a grand plantation home.


Lots of trains around to transport.


Key bits of infrastructure still in place (and held up by many wires and concrete)


After awhile you start to feel like you’re going to need a tetnus shot when you get home.


There’s nails, wire, rusty old ladders and big holes everywhere.


Cart and fake horse remenants.


A grand theatre. This thing was massive!

Take back the car and after some google translating we confirm we’re done with the car. The Thrifty lady seems most amused at either we’re done in half a day or the fun of dealing with non-Spanish speakers.

Last real day of holidays. Tomorrow we head home on flight number 9,10 and 11. It’ll take us about 30hrs to get home so I’m sure we’ll be exhausted by then.