Tacna, Perú, in a nutshell

(Work in progress)

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A comprehensive site in the web on Tacna, Peru: what to do, where to go, what to see, how to get there, how much it cost, where those places are, what to avoid, plus, minus, manners, costumes, dangers, girls, boys, drinks, food, oddities, delights and many MANY more

May I introduce you Tacna

Tacna is the southernmost city of Perú located just in the border with Chile, its nearest city is the port of Arica in Chile just 60 km away trough a paved road almost all in straigth line. The heigth is around 550 mt above  sea level and it is located inland into the desrert which cover almost all the coast line of Perú.

Despite its location in the middle of desert, Tacna is a green city with parks everywhere and fertile valleys. As most of cities of the desertic area, Tacna is located besides a river called Caplina, which born  high in the mountains of the peruvia high plateau. The course of this river creates the valley of Tacna ussually knows as La Campiña, who start in the city and enters many kilometers into fertile terrains where vinegrapes, olives, and vegetable produces of many kind growns. This valley is called Pocollay at fisrt, then, Pachia and then the paved road ends in a termal sping called Calientes. All the valley has typical restaurants up to Calientes where a small resort is located.
The city of Tacna is not well arranged as touristic destination -as Cusco, Puno and many other destinations in Perú- but can provide to the visitor a much more authentic experience on life in a typical medium size city of the country. Tacna may not attract the typical tourists looking for comfort and pintoresque places, but is very interesant place for travellers interested in real life experiences on a very special town.

Weather in Tacna

The weather is warm, subtropical and desertic, the media is around 18.6 celcius with 33 Celcius max and 6 Celcius min. Ocasionally it rains in Tacna, but usually few milimeters a year, the rainy days are in winter (June, August) and summer (february) when the rainy season occurs in the high plateau. There are bigger difference of temperature during a day than in the nearly Arica because Tacna is located inland, this make possible to grown good quality grapevine.
If you are seriously interested on temperatures in Tacna you can read daily reports from  1993 to 2008 here .

Geography

Tacna is a very flat city surrounded with some medium size hills: Alto de Alianza at north,  Arunta and Inti Orcco at south. If you are coming from north or south will see the big coastal desert and the nature of an oasis becomes apparent as long as you approaches. To the coast there are a chain of slopes stopping the marine breeze which explains the higher temperatures in summer. The city is located some 40 km away to the coast.
There are two main beach pueblitos in the coastal area of Tacna: Boca del Rio and Los Palos. Boca del Rio is the popular beach town where most of Tacneños (so the locals are called) spent their weekends at summer, Los Palos is a place with small bungalows where the wealtiest usually have their beach home.
To the north, Tacna is full of extraordinary beaches, most of them wild and almost untouched  by men: white sands and fabulous conditions to sport fishing, scuba and swimming among others. Those places are mostly wild, not equipped for tourists and may be treated with respect specially in nature conservation. A must see for nature lovers.
To the east Tacna continues trough a paved road along the Caplina Valley planted with vineyards, olives and produces up to the termal springs of Calientes in the start of climbing to the mountains of the high plateau.

How to get there

There are three diferent ways to arrive to Tacna: 

  1. By land from north, from Lima to Tacna there are some 1300 km and 23 hours aprox. There are many bus companies but the best are Cruz del Sur and Ormeño you can purchase tickets online and both are serious companies. If you are going Lima to Tacna I recommend a stop in Arequipa, it is a nice place and it worths to visit.
  2. By plane from north, from Lima or Cusco. You arrive to the Tacna Airport Carlos Ciriani (TQC),  some 4 km away from the city, taxis are cheap (some US$ 2) and available when a fligth arrives, there are daily arriving/departures from/to Lima and twice a week from/to Cusco. You can check fares and departures at Lan Perú website 
  3. By land from south (Arica, Chile) the most used way is by colectivo, a taxi that you share with 5 other people plus the driver. If you wish more comfort you may pay for two passengeres and trip alone with the driver in the front seat. The fare is variable and depend on the supply and demand law of the specific day, may vary between some US$ 2.50 to US$ 5 aprox. There are cheaper alternatives such as old and often crowded buses (fixed fare US$ 2.30 aprox) or by train, which is even cheaper (around US$ 1.80) and great alternative, but there are only 2 trips a day and you may often purchase your tickets with one day in advance. Departures from Arica to Tacna are at 9:30 AM and 19 :00, from Tacna to Arica train departs at 5 AM and 15:30. Colectivos and buses depart from Terminal Internacional at Diego Portales Street in Ariva

Video on the trip Arica-Tacna-Arica by train, Sation in Arica is located at Máximo Lira Street 889, near the Port, phone is 231115. In Tacna is located at Albarracín 484, phone 724981 

Location of Terminal Internacional in Arica

Distances from Tacna to:

  • Lima, 1335 Km.,23 hrs.
  • Ica, 1027 Km., 11 hrs.
  • Arequipa, 400 Km. 6 hrs.
  • Puno, 374 Km., 12 hrs. 
  • Moquegua, 163 Km., 2½ hrs. 
  • Ilo, 140 Km., 2 hrs. 
  • Arica, 54 Km., 1.5 hrs. 

Risks on buses

There are many bus companies much cheaper, you may take it at your own risks because most of them are not real companies but a sort of cooperatives where the bus driver is also the owner and mechanic, buses are often trucks nicely transformed but very insecure, with tires, brakes and mechanics in bad condition, drivers are sleeping deprived, and those are sometimes assaulted on the road because are preferred by small businessman driving cash or contraband. That is why I reccomend the above mentioned lines.

Terminales Terrestres (land terminals) in Tacna

There are two land terminals in Tacna: the national (for domestic trips) and international (from/to Arica, Chile) transportation, both are owned and operated by Municipalidad Provincial de Tacna and both named Manuel Odria. Those places are actively busy during all the year, land is the most popular way to transport in Tacna. Terminal Internacional has lot of cambistas (people to change foreign currencuy to peruvian soles or vice versa) you may bargain the rate of exchange there, those “established” cambistas are reliables and they use to stamp every bill in order to allow to claim them if are counterfeit, money counterfeit is common in Peru and you may take some cautions such as lok for established cambistas,ask for stamped bills , etc. 
Terminals have also other services attached such as small restaurants where you may try some caldo de gallina, a typical andean dish from the high plateau ussually consumed as breakfast, consisting in a heavy chicken soup with and entire egg, potato, corn and vegetables. If you are looking for a place to stay in a budget, in the nearby there are a lot of cheap hotels pretty decent, in the range of US$ 7-10.
Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, Berríos, Tepsa, Flores, Carrillo and many others are located at Terminal Nacional. At terminal Internacional there are agencies for  buses and colectivos such as Takana, San Marcos, Chaskitur and others. At the second floor of Terminal Internacional there are an office who sells air and land tickets both for domestic and international trips.

Food and drink experience

Peruvian cuisine is booming, due cultural reasons as etnic diversity, culture, history and a superb stock of high quality for food, fruits and produces available.  Peru is like 3 countries into one: desertic coast is rich on fish and seafood, high plateau has lamb, trouts, camelids, potatoes and produce and Amazonian jungle has all kind of exhotic fruits. The most outstanding quality of peruvian cuisine -in my view-  can be described as choleada (mixed), because, as many other great food cultures, peruvians has asimilated and modified inmigrant recipes, chinesse-peruvian cuisine and spaniard-peruvian are the most notable samples of the choleado quality. 

Regional cuisine

Regional cuisine in Tacna may seem exotic and hard to accept for foreign tastes, the typical dishes are Picante a la Tacneña (cow stomach with pig foots, potatoes,  dried meat), and cuy chactado (a broasted guinea pig, entire as shown in photo, with sweet potato, potato and a piece of corn, lettuce and toasted corn called “cancha”). For the bravest only.

There are a small restaurant devoted exclusively to those typical Tacna dishes and broasted rabbit, is called El Girasol, located in Tarapaca Street 920, urbanizacion Vigil, you may see some pictures of the place here 
 

Typical peruvian cuisine

Typical peruvian dishes are probably which people love most.  

Fish and seafood

In Tacna there are superb fish and seafood, the best places in my view are:
  • Puerto Viejo in front of Parque Vigil, near Mercadillo Bolognesi, quite expensive but nice and clean
  • Don Leo besides Mercado Central, medium price, located in downtown 
  • El Gran Chimú in Haya de la Torre Street, district of Natividad (the best in my view, a very rustic place prefered by peruvians, dirty cheap an good but away from downtown)
In those restaurants you may order some regular fish or some classical peruvian dish such as ceviche (a mountain of raw fish marinated with lemmon) , ceviche mixto (assorted raw fish and seafood marinated with lemmon), chicharron de pescado (piedes of fried fish), jalea (a huge dish with assorted cooked seafood with sauce), among others. At El gran Chimú I reccomend try leche de tigre (tiger milk) which is a cup of fresh milk with a very spicy ceviche inside, it comes with a portion of toasted corn (cancha) and fried pieces of calamar.
Hotels, where to stay

The list is not yet comprehensive, we are still working on it but these are some places, the “stars” rate is only a comparative reference based in my own experience, not a formal rating at all, those not marked with asterisks are which I don´t know personally

  • * * * * Gran
    Hotel Tacna Av. Bolognesi 300 724193 
  • * * * Holiday Suites Ca. Alto De Lima
    1476 741201 
  • * * Alto Bolognesi
    Pocollay-Pp.Bolognesi-Moquegua 174 713979 Avenida Av. Bolognesi 699 724582
  • *** Camino Real Av. San Martin 855
    721891 
  • *** Central Av. San Martin 561
    712281 
  • ** Copacabana Ca. Arias Araguez 370
    721721 
  • ** Corona Real Av. Leguia 1085
    741927 
  • *** El Emperador Av. San Martin 558
    714291 
  • ** El Meson Ca. Hipolito Unanue 175
    725841 
  • *** Plaza Hotel Av. San Martin 421 722101 
  • * Eva Av. Pinto 1167 714578 
  • Royal Inn Ca. Patricio Melendez 574
    726094 
  • Zapata Av. Bolognesi 701 724101 
  • Florida Ca. Dos De Mayo 382
    711538 
  • Varela Ca. General Varela 600
    725496 
  • Hostal * * Hogar Ca. 28 De Julio 146
    711352 
  • Pallardelli Ca. Pallardelli 105
    724435 
  • Premier Av. Bolognesi 804 715110 
  • Los Limoneros Pp.Bolognesi-Moquegua 242
    721030 
  • Maximo’s Ca. Arias Araguez 281
    742605 
  • Molina Inn Ca. Modesto Molina 1113
    725764 
  • Taurus Pp.Alto Bolognesi Ca. J.Olaya
    386 722678 
  • Fortaleza Ca. Carlos Armando Laura 349
    743180 
  • Jerusalen Ca. General Suarez 190
    725153 
  • Paraiso Av. Pinto 1130 712867 

Hostels, staying in a budget


  • Arly Inclan 171 723701
  • Alcazar Bolivar 295 724991 
  • La Esperanza Ca. 15 Agosto
    1451 722757 
  • Fatima Ca. Patricio Melendez 716
    715307 
  • H.Y C. Ca. Zela 734 742042 
  • Intermex Pp. La Esperanza Av.
    Industrial 1178 744796 
  • Lider Ca. Zela 724 715441 
  • Los Geranios Pp. Miguel Grau Ca.
    Atahualpa 115 744743 
  • Miraflores Pp.M.Grau Av. Vigil 1639
    725598 
  • Moderi Ca. Zela 885 
  • Nicasio Ub. Viña Del Mar Circunv. Sur
    Lote 11 725859 
  • San Isidro Urb. San Isidro Ca. 8
    Octubre E-21 712284 
  • Union Ca. Zela 569 713393 
  • Yolanda Urb.Viña Del Mar Av.
    Circunv.Sur 71-10 743568 
  • Albergue Essalud Calana Ca.Arias
    Araguez S/N 725135

Restaurants, where to lunch and dine


  • Typical and budget

    • El Hueco.5 Km. from Pocollay.phone. 713901.
    • Don Pedro.Gral. Varela St. phone. 722131.
    • La Campiña.Celestino Vargas 941.phone. 713281.
    • La Huerta Francisco de Zela 426. Pocollay
    • Copachi Arias Araguez s/n. Pachía phone. 750205.
    • Los Rosales Piedra Blanca, Calana.phone. 720256
    • La Tía María Av. Industrial 1278 phone.741357
    • Los Granados Pasaje San José 110. phone 713340.
  • Fish and seafood

    • Silvia Restaurant.Miraflores 702 phone. 724345
    • A Todo Vapor. Alfonso Ugarte 419 phone. 725529.
    • Muelle Sur Arias Araguez 135 phone 743739.
    • El Corsario San José 190 phone 724506 
    • El Chinchorro Av. Bolognesi 98.phone. 710566
  • International:and typical gourmet

    • Rancho San Antonio.Gral Bustios 298. phone. 724471.
    • El Viejo Almacen. Av. San Martín 577 phone. 711180 – 714471
    • El Remanso.Alto de Lima 2069 phone. 721722
    • La Fonda del Cazador Av. San Martín 857.phone 726212
    • Genova Av. San Martín 649.phone. 713971.
    • Ciccillo.Av. San Martín 427.phone. 724011.
    • El Gaucho Av. Pinto 100 phone 726522.
    • La Fragata Pasaje Vigil 156.phone. 725318.
    • El Paladar 208 Patricio Melendez.phone. 713051
  • Chinesse:

    • Chifa Hong Kong.Calle Zela 602 phone. 712631.
    • Chifa Say Wa.Av.San Martín 755.phone. 721011.
  • Grilled chicken:

    • La Casona del Pollo.Av.Bolognesi 260. phone.751165.
    • El Pollo Pechugón.Av. Bolognesi 378. phone 711341.
    • Ricco’s Av. Bolognesi 406 
    • Chicken’s House Calle Zela 940. phone. 725972.


Travel Agencies tour operators:

  • Alondra’s.San Martín 859 Ofic. 3. Telefax 724801.
  • Tacna Tours.28 de Julio 102. Telef. 711791-724767 
  • Tacna Travel Service Av. Bolognesi 754 Telf. 723625. Fax 722881.
  • Lombardi’s Tours.Pasaje Vigil 178 Telf. 721647. Fax 715361.
  • Toursecore.Av San Martín 654 Telf. 714920.
  • Master Key.Av. San Martín 637. Ofic. 305.Telefax 711459
  • Pegasus Travel. Los Nardos 2do piso, Villa Las Flores, Pocollay Telf. 711485. Fax 725105.
  • Geranio Tours.Av. San Martín 421. Int.6 Telefax 741003.
  • JS Tours.Av. San Martín 340 Ofic. 2 Telefax 711090 – 724492.
  • Plaza Tours.Av. San Martín 743 Telf. 711131.
  • Columbia Tours.Av. San Martín 458.Telf. 723101.
  • Oriente Av. San Martín 442. 2do piso Telefax 714295.


Banks:

  • Santander.Av. San Martín 263.Telef. 711262.
  • De la Nación.Av. San Martín 324.Telef. 713441.
  • Wiese.Av. San Martín 476.Telef. 727191.
  • Latino.Av. San Martín 269.Telef. 714723.
  • Del Sur.Calle Apurimac 245.Telef. 723912.
  • Crédito.Calle San Martin 574.Telef. 722541.
  • Interbanc.Av. San Martín 646.Telef. 715621.
  • Solventa.Av. San Martín 251Telef. 742544.
  • Continental Av. San Martín 655 Telef. 713571.
  • República.Av. San Martín 562 Telef. 721852.

    Drugstores

  • Central.Av. San Martín 817.Telef. 712312.
  • Tacora.Av. San Martín 300.Telef. 724421.
  • Nacional.Av. San Martín 404.Telef. 711001.
  • Popular.Av. San Martín 606.Telef. 712150.
  • García.Av. San Martín 960.Telef. 715375.
  • Caplina.Av. Bolognesi 611.Telef. 715101.

    Photograph stuff:

  • Lobito Color.Av.San Martín 425. Telef. 722406.
  • Click. Av. San Martín 250.Telef. 725989. 

Consulates:

  • Consulado de Chile.Av. Albarracín y Presbítero Andía Telef. 724391.
  • Consulado de Bolivia. Av. Bolognesi Cda. 17. Telef. 711906.

    Medical assistance:

  • Hospital Regional Hipólito Unánue.Blondell s/n. Telef. 723361.

    Police quarters:

  • Emergency Squad Telef. 711008.
  • Policia de Turismo.Calderón de la Barca 353.Telef. 712351.
  • Policia Técnica.Av. San Martín 121.Telef. 724207.
  • Patroll. Telef. 105.
  • Firefighters Telef. 133.

    Post Office:

    • Av. San Martín 457.Telef. 711114.

Radio-Taxis:

  • Av. Taxi.Telef. 744246-743838
  • Terminal Telef. 712525 
  • Acuarius.Telef. 712222
  • Servicios Tacna.
  • Telef. 722626-742424

    Markets

  • Asoc. de Comerciantes “Bolognesi” Av.Coronel Mendoza s/n.
  • Asoc. de Comerciantes “Tupac Amaru II” Av. Coronel Mendoza 1275.
  • Asoc. de Comerciantes “28 de Julio” Esquina Av.Pinto con Av.Leguía.
  • Asoc. de Comerciantes “Polvos Rosados”.Esquina Av. Industrial con Av.Pinto.

    Workmanship:

  • Bazar y Artesanía Chavín.Av. Bolognesi 649.Telf. 714279.
  • Artesanos San Martín de Porres.Av. Bolognesi 693.
  • Bazar Artesanía Nancy.Av. Bolognesi 701. Int. 2 Telf. 713439.
  • Bazar Julia.Feria Caplina. Int. 23 – 25. Cuadra 6 de la Av. Bolognesi Telef. 712375 – 713719.

    Saunas:

  • Sauna Adan y Eva.Av. Ejército 1294.Mon-Sat 2.00pm. to 8.00pm. tuesday closed. Sunday from 10.00am. to 8.00pm. Telef.844786. 

Government/Administration:

  • Gobierno Regional:Telef. 714202
  • Gobierno Municipal(Concejo Provincial) Telef. 713135.
  • Instituto Nacional de Cultura: Telef. 711171.
  • Museo Local Biblioteca Pública.Telef. 715225.
  • Oficina de Migraciones: Av. Circunvalacion.Telef. 723621.
  • Corte Superior de Justicia: Av. 2 de Mayo s/n Telef. 722913.
  • Aduanas (customs bureau): Mz A Lt.5 Parque Industrial Telef. 714410.
  • Corpac:(airports bureau) Telef. 724081-725599.
  • CETICOS TACNA (free zone administration) Panamericana Sur Km. 1303 Telef. 712691
  • Cámara Comercio (commerce chamber): Calle Bolívar 298.Telef. 724961
  • Cámara Turismo: (touristic chamber) Calle Blondell s/n Hemiciclo Regional of. 2 Telef 723356.
  • Mitinci:Calle Blondell Telf. 724081

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