Known as the "City of Eternal Spring", Arica boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Chile. Located just 30 miles south of the Peruvian border, Arica possesses a mild, dry climate perfect for swimming and relaxing at the beach any time of year.
Arica is located at the foot of El Morro Hill, which was an important battleground in the Peruvian War (1879-1883). These days the hill provides a fantastic view of the city, the ocean, and even the Atacama, as well as an open air museum dedicated to the war and the history of this culturally rich city.
For the history lover, this city has much to offer. Arica was home to a number of pre-Columbian Indian cultures, and as a result, it has fantastic museums which hold mummies that pre-date Egyptian by almost 2000 years. The Museo Arqueologicò San Miguel de Azapa, located just outside of town, gives an excellent introduction to the history of the area, and also has a wonderful collection of Incan mummies.
The University of Tarapaca has an impressive collection of pre-Columbian pottery, weaving, woodcarving, and basketwork, as well as 7 mummies from the Chinchorro culture (8,000-10,000 BC), the oldest yet discovered.
Arica is also home to the famous Chungara Lake, located at the foot of the Payachata twin volcanoes in the Lauca National Park. The Chungara is one of the most elevated lakes in the world, and is a very popular attraction for the park.
This international biosphere reserve boasts an incredible 137,883 hectares, covering the cordillera and altiplano region in the northeast of Tarapaca. This area is home to over 130 bird species, in addition to the incredible vicuñas, vizcachas, and condors in the region.
The flora and fauna is this park is simply incredible, and it also possesses many interesting cultural and historical sites.
Arica is perfect for visiting all year round, although access roads to Lauca National Park are susceptible to closing due to heavy snowfall September through February. We recommend 1 or 2 days in Arica, and 1 or 2 more for a trip to Lauca.
A large portion of this text was written by Traveler - Writer Craig Milroy.