Located in the most northern reaches of Chile on the edges of the Atacama desert lies Humberstone an intriguing and picturesque abandoned ghost town. In 1872 the English styled town of Humberstone was established to service the local Saltpeter refinery and it soon boomed to rapidly become one of the largest saltpeter extractors in the whole region. The town quickly grew to such an extent that it even had it's own theater, school, square and a even beautiful church. The history of the town was characterised by large booms and deep recessions depending on the state of the saltpeter industry and the mine almost went bankrupt in 1934 but it was fortunately rescued by the introduction of new advanced mining processes. However, Humberstone was to be completely abandoned in the 1960's with the decimation of the saltpeter mining industry and the subsequent failure of it's founding company. Since then Humberstone has become a literal ghost town and it was declared a national monument and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.
Today this ghost town is now an open air museum, a visual representation of days passed. Humberstone is still in excellent condition and still holds much of it's historical charm to this very day. Visiting tourists are now able to freely wander the well preserved deserted dusty desert streets of this historic town and are free to explore its well preserved houses, schools, church, theater and mines. When wandering the streets of Humberstone you can virtually take a step back in time and marvel at what life must of been like years ago in this prospering mining town in the middle of the unforgiving Atacama desert, one of the driest places on the planet.
Walking the streets of this long forgotten town one could almost be forgiven for thinking that one had walked on the set of a wild west movie or perhaps even in walked right into the middle of a future apocalyptic scenario. It is a truly intriguing little town with well worn and weathered buildings, streets and a large rusty brown mining site. If you a budding photographer then this place is definitely for you as you will be able to capture some amazing images of this snapshot from the past especially when the colours begin to flare on sunset marking the end of another day in the desert. Please join me and my camera lens as I aimlessly wander this lost, derelict and charming ghost town...just please, do not trip on the tumbleweeds.