Arica is a district and a port city with a population of 210,936. It is Chile's northernmost city, being located only 18 km (11 mi) south of the border with Peru. Arica is located at the bend of South America's western coast known as the Arica Bend or Arica Elbow. At the location of the city two lush valleys that dissect the Atacama Desert converge: Azapa and Lluta. These valleys provides fruit for export.

How to get here
By plane
Chacalluta International Airport is the main airport in Arica and is located 18.5 km to north of the city. In this terminal operates two domestic airlines, LATAM Chile and Sky Airlines to many Chilean airports and also to Arequipa, Peru and La Paz, Bolivia.

By bus
If you are planning to come from a tour around Bolivia or Peru, this could be the more efficient way to get here. If you are planning to take a bus from Santiago de Chile, please think it twice, it is a really long way... about 32 hours.Arica is an important port for a large inland region of South America. The city serves a free port for Bolivia and manages substantial part of that country's trade. In addition it is the end station of the Bolivian oil pipeline beginning in Oruro. The city's strategic position is enhanced by being next to the Pan-American Highway, being connected to both Tacna in Peru and La Paz in Bolivia by railroad and being served by an international airport.Its mild weather has made Arica known as the "city of the eternal spring" in Chile while its beaches are frequented by Bolivians. The city was an important port already during Spanish colonial rule. Chile seized the city from Peru in 1883 following the War of the Pacific. A substantial part of African Chileans live in or trace their origins to Arica.

Arica features the rare mild desert climate, abbreviated "Bwn" on climate maps. Unlike many other cities with arid climates, Arica seldom sees extreme temperatures throughout the course of the year. Arica is also known as the driest inhabited place on Earth, at least as measured by rainfall: average annual precipitation is 0.76 mm (0.03 inches). Despite its lack of rainfall, humidity and cloud cover are high. With humidity levels similar to those of equatorial climates the sunshine intensity is similar to the Sahara desert regions in the Northern Hemisphere (like the Cape Verde islands).
SCORE is not active in Arica.
Provided by host families.
Provided by host families.

by plane 
The Chacalluta International Airport receives domestic flights from and to Iquique and Santiago, and also international flights from and to Peru and Bolivia. 

by bus
In the Arica Bus Terminal you will find buses coming and going to every other chilean city. There is also an international terminal right beside the national one, with buses from and to Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.


Arica has fourteen lines of minibuses that conect the whole city. The price is $400CLP per person.

  • City tour
  • International dinner
  • El Morro
The area of interest for most visitors is easily covered on foot.


  • Cathedral of San Marcos is designed by Gustave Eiffel (of the eponymous Tower in Paris). It's a popular attraction. Entry is from Plaza Colón.
  • The views from el Morro are superb. One can follow the work being done in the harbour closely or gaze at the mountains gradually turning into the altiplano in the east. The hill looks like a giant sand dune from a distance but it is in fact made of solid rock. The paved footpath visible from anywhere in town starts at the south end of Calle Colón. Allow 10 minutes for walking up and enough time for philosophic discussions on top. There is a war museum on the hill for those into uniforms and cannons from the 19th century. Beware of the dishonest Coca Cola vending machines, bring water and snacks from town.


  • Surfing and boogieboarding is good around Arica. The beaches north of town are good for beginners, while more experienced surfers go south of el Morro. There is a surfshop in the centre, but it's best to bring your own board.
  • Bathing and sunbathing on the beaches north of town. Summer is the main season, in winter you'll have the beaches for yourself. Water is cold.
  • San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum
  • Trekking "Playa Corazones" area
  • Visit nearby valleys w/ olive trees plantations


  • Bolognesi This little alley off the main street (21 de Mayo) sells handcrafts and local goods, such as silverware, lapis lazuli and souvenirs.
  • Feria Dominical Every Sunday Chacabuco street (in the centro) is converted into a market selling everything from souvenirs to old clothes to kitchenware, as well as local food and drink.
  • El Agro Arica's major fresh food market, selling local produce. Also the site of many stalls selling clothes and homewares. Catch the number 8 colectivo to get there.


  • Chifa Maxi, Baquedano 494. Delightfully slow and nonexistent service at this authentic Chinese place with vegetarian options. Take away available.
  • La Casa del Coctel, San Martin 495, +56 (0)58 250400. The best cheese empananas in downtown Arica. Fastfood from Ch$500.
  • La Nanu, Av. Santa Maria 1182, +56 (0)58 312399. Great empanadas (21 different kinds). Between the bus station and the centre. Also pizza. Good for vegetarians.
  • Lider Supermercado, 18 de septiembre 401. Well stocked supermarket in a convenient location. Good for stocking up on cheap mineral water, as the tapwater in the area is not recommended for drinking.
  • Los Aleros de 21
  • Maracuya
  • Don Floro
  • Restaurant La Gran Familia, Los Pelicanos #2060 (diego portales),