Arica is a port city in northern Chile, known for its surfing beaches. Near the center, a path climbs up to Morro Arica hill, which has sweeping views and the Museo Histórico y de Armas war museum. Designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel in metal and wood, Gothic San Marcos Cathedral dates from 1876. The high plains of the Andes mountains rise to the east, home to Lauca National Park and Chungará Lake.
If you search photos of Arica, or arrive blind into the city center, you will become familiar with El Morro, the massive cliff of compressed sand and rock that guards the southern tip of the city. A strategic military point in the battle for Arica, between the Bolivians, Peruvians and Chileans, El Morros ‘cherry on top’ is an enormous Chilean flag blowing in the constant ocean breeze.
Flavor and culture in Terminal Asoagro
To try the more flavorful side of the region, make a trip to the Terminal Asoagro in Arica, a market that sells fruits, vegetables and traditional local products. You’ll also find members of the highlands communities, known for their colorful clothing and warm but timid smiles. This market is the best place to buy some of the most emblematic products of the region, like the Azapa olives, passion fruit and mango.
Mirador Cerro de la Cruz
Set back off the ocean, along a sandy ridge that looks ready to split down the center of Arica, you will find another viewpoint that will give you a different perspective of Arica, from a different height and angle. Standing under a large statue, you can get a view of El Morro to your left, the city in front of you, and the stretching coastline all the way up to near the border of Peru.
Con la Fuerza del Sol, the largest carnival in Chile
The city of Arica holds a 3-day festival which is one of the most important carnivals in South America. Andean dance corps participate in the festival and showcase the natives dances of the highlands, the afro-descendent communities and inland Arica & Parinacota. The “Carnaval Con la Fuerza del Sol” is celebrated every year in January or February and attracts more than 100,000 spectators.