Arica - Photos: Jorge González
ue to its geographic location, Arica
is the first or the last city in Chile, depending on the point of view. This is the northernmost city in the country a few kilometers away from neighboring Peru. In addition to being a typical city of the border, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the I Region.
As a result of its location, there is a perfect combination of the roughness of the Pacific Ocean, the aridness of the desert and the majestic traits of the altiplano
, which makes it closer to nearby Bolivia. Having almost 180 thousand permanent inhabitants, Arica turns into a real destination welcoming tourists from Peru and Bolivia during the summer.
Its excellent roads are used both by tourists and locals in order to enjoy its large precious beaches, such as Chinchorro, El Laucho and La Lisera, where water sports prevail. The city is also a mandatory pass for those people who try to connect the Atacama Desert with such international destinations as Machu Pichu, in Peru, or Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia.
In the city, visitors may be delighted by its promenades and markets, as well as by the majestic main square, which lies under the ancestral guardianship of the famous hill known as Morro de Arica
, which offers a unique panoramic sight of the entire city.
A city tour leads visitors around the historical buildings: Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the lanes or the old part of town, where the most outstanding constructions include the former Government House, the former Customs building or the old railway station that joins the city with La Paz (Bolivia) and today houses a museum. On the way out of the city, it is possible to go on an archeological tour around the Valleys of Azapa, Lluta and Codpa, which feature geoglyphs, petroglyphs and pictograms, as well as ancient mummies that invite visitors to go on a journey across time.
By getting deep into the Chilean-Bolivian altiplano
, visitors can get to Putre, the Lauca National Park and the impressive Lake Chungará, passing by Las Vicuñas Natural Reserve and the Surire Salt Deposit before reaching Bolivia.