Quick Links

Arica Province in Chile's northernmost region is famed for its surfing beaches along the sky blue and warm South Pacific Ocean waters. Arica City is the capital of Arica and Parinacota provinces both called Arica y Parinacota Region. Arica Province borders Chile, Peru, and Bolivia. The scenic and bustling Arica City also serves as a free port for Bolivia. Arica Province's warm and sunny climate makes it a choice travel destination that can be visited throughout the year. There also are attractions and recreational activities for visitors to engage in.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

RELATED: Chile Voted World's Best Adventure Tourism Destination For Third Straight Year

Visit Lauca National Park

The 137,883 hectares Lauca National Park is a biosphere reserve in Arica y Parinacota Region in Northern Chile near the Bolivia border. This park within the Andean mountain range has picturesque landscapes dotted with rivers, lakes, lagoons, hot springs, volcanic calderas, and lava fields. At Lauca National Park's center are Lake Chungara and Lake Cotacotani, with four beautiful lagoons connected by water channels and rivers Lauca and Lluta.

Over 140 different bird species, including the puna, the rare Andean flamingo, Andean goose, Chilean pintail duck, giant tagua, and condor, make the park a birding paradise. Llama, alpaca, vicuña and guanaco camelids, vizcacha rodent, taruca deer, fox, cougar, puma are some wildlife visitors see at this park. Recreational activities available for visitors at Lauca National Park visitors are:

  • Hike
  • Photography
  • Mountain and Rock Climbing Tours
  • Fishing
  • Flora and Fauna Observation
  • Enjoy Panoramic Views
  • Horseback Ride
  • Mountain Bike

RELATED: Why Torres Del Paine National Park Should Be A Bucket List Spot

Climb Up The Morro de Arica

Arica City's conspicuous landmark and attraction is the imposing Morro de Arica (Morro of Arica), 110 meters high, a rugged boulder hill. It is a historical monument where the War of the Pacific was fought from 1879 to 1884 and has an open-air museum. Visitors who climb up the top of Morro de Arica enjoy great views of the city, ocean, and the vast Atacama Desert, and see the relics of the Pacific War at the museum at the peak. Atop Morro de Arica are old cannon guns, infantry commander Pedro Lagos Statue (1832–18 January 1884), Jesus Christ statue, and an unknown soldier monument. The top of Morro de Arica is ideal for landscape photography.

RELATED: Insider Guide: Everything Travelers Should See In Santiago

Experience The Warm Water Beaches Of Arica

Arica has great beaches that are warmer than others in Chile, and people of all ages love swimming in waters there. El Laucho, one of the best beaches there, has light and clean sand and is nestled on the coast of a tiny bay surrounded by sandy hills. The beach slope is smooth. The South Pacific Ocean waves are low because of a breakwater barrier, and El Laucho waters are warmer than on other coasts. There are umbrellas, sunbeds, changing rooms, showers, and thatched shades.

Cafés, snack bars, ice cream booths, sweets and cold beverages, and restaurants dot the beach to serve snacks to tourists. There is also a playground with slides and swing sets making it ideal for families with children. Arica City is part of the World Surf Network, which classifies it as a choice surfing destination, and surfing events are held here. Other Arica beaches to visit are Las Machas and Chinchorro, also suited for families and children that enjoy the waves there. At Chinchorro Beach, there is a rusty US tanker boiler that was dragged inland by a tsunami in 1868. The ideal Arica beach season starts from October to March.

RELATED: Destination South America: The Best Places To Visit For First-Timers

Learn About Mummies

The Archeological Museum of San Miguel of Azapa, belonging to the University of Tarapacá, has over 20,000 archeological pieces and chronicles over 10,000 years of human development. Founded in 1967, this museum has four Chinchorro mummies permanently on display, plus jewelry, weapons, and tools. Visiting the museum helps people to understand the Chinchorro people's culture, who settled there in what was an extreme environmental and dry coastal desert from 5450 BCE to 890 BC. They were also the first people to mummify their dead. This museum is 10 kilometers from Azapa Valley and about 30 minutes drive from Arica City.

RELATED: Here Is Where To See Incan Mummies

Explore The San Miguel de Azapa Country Side

San Miguel de Azapa village is known for its olives and tropical fruits and scenic countryside with valleys that can be explored by biking. The village has a tranquil ambiance and beautiful clear night skies. Around this village is a trail of geoglyph drawings in the Azapa hillside and valleys visitors tour. The geoglyph drawings of humans and animals were made by scratching the salty surface of the bright-colored rock by the indigenous people.

After seeing the geoglyphs, the tour extends to San Lorenzo Pukara, a historical fortress surrounded by a big rock wall dating back to the 12th century and has relics of Tiwanaku community culture. Geoglyphs tours include visits to the Archeological Museum of San Miguel of Azapa Museum, and drives past Lisera, and El Laucho beaches typically cost 82 British Pounds and take 4 hours and 15 minutes and can be booked here.

RELATED: If You're Visiting Chile For Its Landscape, This Is The Best Time To Go (And Why)

Other Places To Tour At Arica

Codpa: This village has hot springs, mountains, cliffs, ravines, and valley terrains, suited for biking and cycling or romantic walks under the star-shining skies. Visitors can unwind by enjoying a local artisanal Pintatani wine fermented by a small wine producer called Escuela del Vino de Codpa.

The Way Of The Missions: Visitors travel on an ancient road dotted with 31 colonial churches against the backdrop of the beautiful Andean Plateau. These churches date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Indigenous communities here act as guides to this heritage site. On this route, visitors venture deeper into 40 kilometers of Chinchorro cultural trails. Along the way, they get to sample goat's cheese, chuno potato dish, and oregano.

Caleta Camarones: This small fishing town has an indigenous cemetery dating back over 9000 years. There is a lookout spot to enjoy the scenic views of the ocean and valleys, and there is a sculpture that pays tribute to the Chinchorro mummies. Visitors get the opportunity to fish and dine on sea bass, octopus, giant mussels, and sea urchins with the local Camarones fishermen.

RELATED: The 10 Must-Do Hikes In South America

How To Visit Arica

Travel companies offer tours to Arica City and the entire Arica y Parinacota Region. It's advisable for potential visitors to first contact them to work out the costs and logistics for specific tours rather than travel blindly. These are:

  • Chile Travel: Contacts for this company are +56-2-2731-8337 or via email at turismoatiende@sernatur.cl.
  • Visit Chile: This company can be contacted on +56-2-2570-8620 or through email at sales@visitchile.com.
  • Go Chile: Visitors can contact this company at +56-2-2720-8300 or by email contacto@gochile.cl.