Arica, Chile

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Main port photo for Arica, Chile

The vast silence and sand dunes of the Atacama Desert are broken by the Azapa Valley. At the mouth of the valley lies the port of Arica. Founded in 1570 as a port for the mines at Potosi, Arica is Chile's fifth-oldest city and a commercial gateway to neighboring Peru and Bolivia. It is a city rich in heritage - from the pre-Columbian treasures of the Chinchorro culture to its 19th century wrought-iron cathedral designed by Gustave Eiffel.

The Chinchorro Mummies date circa 5000 - 3000 B.C. These are the oldest mummified remains known to man. Unlike ancient Egypt, where mummification was restricted to royalty and nobility, Chinchorro mummification seems common to all social classes.

Note: Despite its commercial importance and its developing tourist trade, Arica has not yet developed a strong tourist infrastructure. Air-conditioned transportation may not be available.

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  • El Morro El Morro

    Towering 656 feet above the sea, the city's iconic natural landmark was the stage for the War of the Pacific. It offers panoramic views and a historical museum with artifacts from the 19th century.

  • Colón Square Colón Square

    Wander through the heart of the city, where locals congregate to enjoy the refreshing fountains and shady palm trees. Take a photo by the bust of Cristobal Colon.

  • San Marcos Cathedral San Marcos Cathedral

    Designed by famed tower-builder Gustav Eiffel, prefabricated in Paris and then assembled on site, this Gothic structure, constructed of metal, is an architectural jewel opposite Colón Square.

  • Azapa Geoglyphs Azapa Geoglyphs

    These ancient carvings by the Andean people depict human and animal figures as well as geometric shapes. Set into a hillside and dating from 1000 A.D., they are believed to have been created by stones embedded into the earth's surface.

  • Atacama Desert Atacama Desert

    The driest desert in the world stretches 600 miles from northern Chile. Sculptor Juan Diaz Fleming erected the Tutelar figures, paying homage to the Andean people in the midst of this stark landscape.

  • Handicraft Village Handicraft Village

    Shop for local treasures in a replica Parinacota village, where you can stroll from hut to hut and peruse high-quality artisan craftsmanship, including knitwear, ceramics, sculpture, leather goods and textiles.

  • San Miguel Archaeological Museum San Miguel Archaeological Museum

    Discover Andean and coastal artifacts and the fascinating Chinchorro mummies, some of the oldest mummies in the world. Representing 10,000 years of history, this celebrated museum is surrounded by native flora and fauna.

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