Iquique is in the Northern Chile. The city is home to the duty free zone called "Zofri" and a growing number of high rise resort hotels along its beaches. Slightly more expensive and polluted than neighboring population centers, such as Arica, but a convenient place to stock up on duty free perfumes and laptop computers.
It had a population of 191,468 according to the 2017 census. It is also the main commune of Greater Iquique. The city developed during the heyday of the saltpetre mining in the Atacama Desert in the 19th century. Once a Peruvian city with a large Chilean population, it was conquered by Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879–1883). Today it is one of only two free ports of Chile, the other one being Punta Arenas, in the country's far south. Although the city was founded in the 16th century, there is evidence of habitation in the area by the Chango people as early as 7,000 BC. During colonial times, Iquique was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru as much of South America was at the time, and remained part of Peruvian territory until the end of the 19th century. Iquique's early development was due in large part to the discovery of mineral riches, particularly the presence of large deposits of sodium nitrate in the Atacama Desert (then part of Peruvian territory).