Arica, Chile, in a nutshell

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HI, this is and old version, the newer is located at

Check it out!

Let me introduce to you: Arica


(Last updated September 26, 2011)This site compiles relevant information for those interested in the city of Arica. It is analternative guideand it does not serve any official or commercial purpose. These are my own observations that are the result from living in Arica since 1974. The information in this page is complemented with cross references to many other sites, personal opinions and casual ratings of different places within the city.

I tried to build a useful and comprehensive website, following the logical mental sequence of a typical tourist: arriving to the city; looking for a place to stay; buying food; places where to go, and so on.

The prices quoted should be used as reference only. The actual prices may differ greatly depending on the time of the year and the exchange rate, just to name a couple of factors.

My purpose is to help visitors with good and practical information, the kind that is hard to find in an official tourist guide; prices, places, gut feelings, the pros and cons, dangers, and difficulties, all from a realistic point of view. I hope that you find this site useful and helpful, so you can have a good time in Arica. Tomás me here

Do you want to be notified on updates? just send me a mail and I will keep you informed

Last update: visa and residence howto, step by step

(September 26, 2011)

Follow this link to learn all the procedure to obtain your temporary and permanent visa, step by step

G&J ADDEDphotographs of Gregg´s trip to the religious Fest in Las Peñas, deep into the hillssome 50miles away from Arica, there is no road to reach the sanctuary so the last 12 miles must be done by foot trough the hills and desert in a 3-4 hour trek
See the slideshow here .

IMPORTANT: due spam attaks the “comments” section is closed,, any comment please send to my mail.

UPDATE (January 16, 2012)Webpage of Bust Terminal in AricaWebpage and itineraries Bus La Paloma (Arica to high plateau)

Link to several good sources of information from the National Sevice for Tourism (SERNATUR), only in spanish by now, if you need some specific translation feel free to ask me.

Hotels in Arica with prices (in chilean pesos, Aug 2010)

Hostels in Arica with prices(in chilean pesos, Aug 2010)

Manual of touristic information Arica 2010

Touristic atractions of Arica 2010

Flying from or to Santiago?Check the english website ofAeropuerto de Santiago, very comprehensive with up to date information on fligths, arrivals, departing and services

Horse riding? Best tours in town, from hours to days at Arica a Caballo

Detailed maps of Arica, with every home you can see and download at SNIT

MAIN UPDATE (August 23 2010)


I just added Arica in fgures,who provides some vital statistics in economy and social issues. All sources are oficial and reputablecheck it HERE

Compare pricesmany people ask me on the cheapest way to come to Arica from the States, well, the most convenient is to fly fromUS to Limafirst, (you can check for cheap fligths and then fromLima to Tacnaby bus or Peruvian Airlines, and then fromTacna To Aricaby colectivo taxi or bus. TIP: it is often much cheaper to purchase tickets in the country of origin of fligth.

Street Art in Arica– Greg & Judy, cycling around the city took some pics of art on the walls,you can see it HERE, soon they will be co-administrators and permanent collaborators, stay in tune!

Just addedOfficial Inundation Charts in case of tsunami for the cities of Arica, Iquique and Antofgasta

The mother ship websitein spanish,Infoarica.clit is again up in the web (Thanks Logan!), so you can access all the complementary information there, specially cost of living, who is one of the most visited sections.

Bird watchersdon´t miss to check the most comprehensive guide on birds in our city
Aves de Arica and for those who enjoy horse riding check Arica a Caballo is, in my opinion, the best repository of information for those who consider Chile as an option to move, following I reccomend some of the most interesting topics:

Airline tickets: there are huge differences on price for exactly the same ticket depending where and hoy you purchase it seeLan Ticket PricesVisa, visa run and legal: are discussed atLegal IssuesMoney transfers:are discussed atChlie Investing and moneyCost of livingatCost of living in Chile

I am also translating to english my Adeventure in the Peruvian Amazonia

,in the heart of the illegal gold minning zone, probably the english may be very poor but the adeventures are quite crazy and entertaining

UPDATE (feb 25, 2009)I just added this sectionArica Without Makeup, a collection of over 1.000 non-touristic pictures of the real Arica and surroundings organized in 37 slideshows, I also complemented with a description of neigborhoods suitables for rent or buy a home with Google Earth eyeballs, don´t miss it!

Curious about chilean slang or informal spanish?check my knolChilean Slang Made Easy

Google Earth users!check this linkto see satellite image of Arica with marked hotels, restaurants, landmarks, streets, bars, Tacna, Iquique and many more!. You may also download Google Earth softwarefrom here. Don’t fail to download version 4.0 Beta with better quality images!

New section:Critics, Claims and Opinions from real travelers. If you have been in Arica and have a claim or opinion please send me a mail to add here, Your first-hand experience is valuable both for local business and prospective travelers, and we may be better informed of our pros and cons in order to improve the tourist offerings.

Moving to Arica?I had receive some questions from people who is considering to move to Arica either for living or for a staying longer than the usual touristic trip (e.g. one year or more). So I wrote abrief guide for the would-be expatwith some useful data, feel free to visit and ask me any further question in order to make a most comprehensive guide.

Premium tip:if you are curious about prices, rent, sale, properties, cars, etc., don’t fail to check theclassified adsfromLa Estrella de Aricanewspaper. No intermediaries, direct from the source! (sorry, only in spanish, but a good excercise)

Another good tip: do you love books? looking for English books at low cost? There is a flea marketin Avenida Argentina with Bilbao Street, called Todos, theysell English books per kilo(approx US$ 4 per kilo). Don’t fail to visit if you enjoy reading!

Recommended:you may read first-hand experiencefrom Danica Bulic´s article at Escape Artist. Also visitMila´s BlogandAllchile, a very interesting forum for expats in Chile. Espanol para gringos :I just started a new blog calledEspanol Para Gringos. Not Spanish lessons, but a discussion of the subtly of the Spanish language that often causes misunderstandings, some useful tips and chilenismos,beware, many 4-letter words included. Check it out!

New, last minute added!: SLIDESHOWS, I just addedthis section with slideshowsof many pics collected over time in the city and neighborhood. If you want a preview of Arica this section is amust see!Learn Spanish in Arica! Emily, an Englishwoman and her Chilean partner Rodrigo run the Academy of Arts and Languages, they teach Intensive Spanish for Foreign-Speakers, who is a good choice if you are looking for an immersion experience with Spanish. The best: theyhave Latin American prices,check HERE their blogwith details. THANK YOU! Thanks a lot to RICHARD G., who helped to me with edition and correction of the zillion of gramatical mistakes that I conmitted (this entry is not edited!), to JOHN M. and all those who had contributed with text, opinion, critics, thank you so much to all of them.UpdateI just added some info and pics from my trip in low budget to the Peruvian Amazonia and Cusco, check it out!Last Update(feb 21, 2009) I just added a brief description of the main neigborhoods in Arica with Google Earth eyeballs and some picturesyou may check it here

Arriving to Arica


29 mayo 2005

There are two ways to arrive to Arica

1- By air from the South of Chile or from the country of Bolivia

2- By land from the South of Chile or from the city of Tacna, located in Peru. Also, from Argentina and/or Bolivia.

There are no flights from Peru to Arica, only to the Peruvian city of Tacna (approx. 60 km). The only way to travel to Arica from Tacna is by road.

There has not been any railroad passenger service between Arica-La Paz for ten years, so if you want to travel by land to/from Bolivia, you have to do it by bus or car.

There are a good train service 2 times a day from Tacna-Arica-Tacna for USD 5 approx.


Arriving by air:Chacalluta Airportis one of the smallest in the country; however during 2005, the airport will be refurbished to make it bigger and more comfortable. It is located just near the border with Peru along Las Machas beach.

Just a few minutes before landing, it is possible to clearly see the border line between Chile and Perú, as well as the mined zone that was placed between these two countries in years past.

Also, you can see the city layout with two valleys that reach the sea from the high plateau and the green spots in the middle of the desert created by the Lluta River and the San José river. The later almost never reaches the ocean, because its water is used by farms located in the Valle de Azapa .

Customs procedures for foreigners are simple and fast and taxes are among the lowest in the world (4% average). You cannot get lost in this airport, because it is small: there is just one arrival gate with many taxi drivers waiting right outside to offer their services either by “taxi” (a car just for you) or a “colectivo” (which is like a taxi, but shared with other passengers).

The golden rule for a tourist in Arica is

to always discuss with the driver the final price before getting in the car. It applies also to many other services, if you follow this rule, you may save yourself some money and a bad experience. Always, remember this rule of thumb during your stay in the city.

“Taxis” are more expensive than “colectivos”, but they charge on the basis of point of destination. On the contrary, “colectivos” charge a small fee, basically a ticket, to each passenger. So, sometimes it may be more convenient for a group of 3 or more tourists that share the same destination to take a “taxi” instead of a “colectivo”. Otherwise, because of the price difference, I recommend the latter; if you do not mind sitting very close to people whom you have never met before in your life!

From the airport you can -sometimes- negotiate a direct trip to Tacna by colectivo if there are 2 or more persons interested. I have seen a fee negotiated at CLP$ 4.000 each (some US$ 8.-) with 2 persons (total fare US$ 16 approx). Anyway, there is not a regular service, you must negotiate as a special one. The colectivo fee from the airport to the city is CLP$ 2.500 each (some US$ 5)

It will take about 15 minutes by car to go from the airport to the city. The road runs along the ocean on your right side and the desert on your left side. You will also pass some poor housing developments. Still, this road is safe and clean. Before to reach downtown, you will pass along the Costanera Sur (a narrow highway that runs along the beach on the Southern side) and Chinchorro Beach , one of the three main beaches in Arica, and the longest one.

Arriving by land from the South of ChileIf you are traveling from the South of Chile, you will arrive to Arica after crossing theDesierto de Atacama, the driest place on earth. Thetrip from Santiago is 2.070 km away, close to 30 hours by bus. It runs across the Central Valley region (Valle Central), the Norte Chico region which includes the cities of Coquimbo, La Serena, Vallenar and Copiapó; then, the long Norte Grande Desert which will take many hours to pass until you reach Antofagasta, Tocopilla,Iquique and Arica. It is a long and boring trip, so we recommend that you take a bus with seats that convert into beds at night, called “buses salon-cama”, just like what British Airways offers in its First Class flights, with the difference that here you are in a bus in the middle of the desert in South America. There are three different bus categories for this trip: normal seats (bus regular); seats that recline and leave you space to elevate your legs (buses semi-cama), and the ones previously mentioned, with seats that convert into beds.

Bus fares are often negotiable. You should always ask at the counter if there is some special discount or sale price for a specific trip. By plane, the trip from Santiago to Arica is about 4 hours, very different from land which is 30 hours, as we said before.

When you are approaching the city by land from the south, some of your first sights will be the city jail, (Carcel de Acha) and the Terminal Agropecuario , a native food and fresh produce market that is very appreciated by tourists coming from colder climates like Europe or the northern part of the U.S. Finally, you will reach the Diego Portales Avenue that takes you to the city bus terminal called Terminal Rodoviario .

If you have never been in the city before, the best choice for transportation from the Terminal Rodoviario is by taxi. At the terminal you will find the cheapest taxi fares: $1500 (Chilean Pesos) to downtown, $2000 (Chilean Pesos) to the beach and suburbs.

At the entrance of the bus terminal, you will find many taxi drivers offering their services, but never forget to negotiate a price before getting in one of the cars. Best choice is to pick radio-taxi located at the side of terminal, fares are often cheaper than regular taxis.

Arriving by land from Tacna, PerúThe usual way to do it is in a shared taxi (colectivo) from Terminal Internacional Terreste in Tacna, I recommend you use Chilean companies since they are obligued to use better cars (in Perú technical revision standards are very loose). The average time is typically 1:30 to 2 hours, depending on border traffic. As you choose the car you may be pushed by many “hookers” offering best price. It is advisable check the car before to choosing. You must also waith until 5 passengers are obtained. If you are concerned with comfort you may arrange a solo trip at a higher price (about US$ 20-30). The trip is 60 km through the desert (note prices may vary due exchange rate).

You may also choose the train Arica-Tacna, it is cheap and fast: US$ 5 in 1:30 hour.

Cost of living in Arica

One of the most visited sections in the old website was an Excell spreadsheet with the cost of food, transportation and others who I compiled several years ago. All this info is outdated and my extreme lazyness prevents to me to do the job again.

Anyway, just a few data to give you an ideaon hoy much may cost to live here,provided that this depend much on what you consider okay or basically acceptable. US$ versus Chilean Peso rate is bad and it seems it will be worse in the future, The figures I give here are considering a 1 US$= 450 CLP$

Cost of housing:

If you are young and alone you may rent a decent room for students in a family home for some CLP$ 100,000 a month, that is some US$ 222, this is a good deal because is all included (ligth, water, gas, TV cable, phone and Internet) but it is not easy to find if you arrive in class season (march to december).

To rent an apartment you may find one for as cheap as CLP$ 120,000 to CLP$ 150,000 (US$ 267 to US$ 333), but you have to pay common expenses (some US$ 15), ligth (some US$ 25), water (some US$ 25), gas (some US$ 45/bottle for 2 or more months), Internet+phone+TV cable (from US$ 67 to US$ 90 depending on plan) and brougth furniture and appliances,

To rent a furnished appartmentit is more expensive (from US$ 600 to US$ 1,200 a month) but usually is all-or partially expenses included.

If you are patient to look you may find bargains, but I start on basis that you have not time nor knowledge to negotiate.

Cost of food

Fresh foods, fruits and vegetables may be insanely cheap, depending on season (one kilo tomatoes may cost as low as a quarter dollar when is abundant). Canned food and beverages have prices similar to those in the US or most of the countries.


If you like to walk or byking Arica may be your paradise, you may purchase an used bycicle for as low as US$ 65 or less, you can go everywere in the city walking or byking all the year because here it never rains nor is extremely cold. Buses fares cost US$ 0.78, shared taxis (colectivos) US$ 1.00 and regular taxis some US$ 3.50 everywere in the city.

As soon as I can overcome my laziness I will be more specific with prices

What to do in 1 day visit (cruises)

I have received lot of questions on this topic, what may do a tourist coming in cruises who stops just 7-8 hours in the city? Well, I have tried to figure what a tourist may do in such limited amount of time, Arica is not a city full of atractives for tourists like, let´s say Cusco, Cancún, etc. so there are not much choices because touristic industry is not yet developed here. Let´s review some choices:

Tour to Lago Chungara-Parque Nacional Lauca:it is a tour in a rush, Chungara is some 150 km away from Arica but you have to climb from sea level to 4.600 meters high, which is similar to some of the highest town in Himalayas, the road is winding, the travel may be exhausting and the high altitude may be uncomfortable fore some people. The trip is very atractive due the cotrast between coastal desert and the nice mountain landscapes and full of wildlife of the high plateau, great lesson of geography. If you think that can stand the inconveniences above mentioned I reccomend it BUT always take from an agency acredited with the cruise line, avoid small, cheaper, independent tour operators who has no insurance nor reputable. Safety first.

City tours:it doesn´t worth too much in my view and they are some pricey, even worse is try to negotiate a tour with a taxi driver catched in the street, is not dangerous but they cost a lot of money and probably you will be not satisfied at all.

Rent a car by your own:if you have a valid drivers licence and a credit card it is a good idea to rent a car for one day (US$ 40-80 depending on car) and ramble by yourself around the city, almost any forign driver licence is valid in Chile thanks the Ginebra Convention, so you may climb to el Morro de Arica, then go to the museum in San Miguel de Azapa, lunch some typical chilean food in La Picada del Muertito in Valle de Azapa or wherever else, go to the beach, etc.If you are brave you may even enter to desert to the little village of Camarones or many other places, a car gives you a considerable freedom of movement, I reccomend this choice.

Just stray by downtown, rent a byke and pass the day in the beach or the nearbies, many people from cruises just ramble by downtown and get bored as we do most of time in Arica, this is not an exciting place and you will realize that as soon as you disembark, watchig as we the people from Arica ramble all the day doing nothing and drinking some beer or coffe or just chating in 21 de Mayo Street, at downtown.

Some basic information

Cost of living in Arica

You may wonder how cheap or expensive it is to live in Arica. Well, Click Here to see my informal survey of prices in Arica. I may disclaim: all those prices are subject to change.

Anyway, I will paste the experience of my friend Chuck J. during the year he stayed in Arica:

“Arica is a pretty good choice for a first place to live in Chile, for several different reasons. Low crime, nice weather, laid back pace of life, nice beaches, good central location for touristic things, Machu Pichu, the altiplano, etc. All my expenses – rent for my apt., gas, water, electric, gastos communos and Internet all came to less than 350 USD a month. (I made thread about it here if you want to look it up.) That didn’t include food, you’ll have other expenses also, like taking the bus. I lived on 800 to 850USD a month, but I’m a tightwad and take a perverse pleasure in living cheaply. For normal people you’ll want at least 1k or 1,200 USD a month yep, even in Arica. And Arica is one of the cheaper places to live in Chile. That’s for a single guy, if you’re married, it’ll be much more. Don’t try to do work visa’s and all that jive before you arrive, just arrive on a tourist visa and then put all that stuff into motion later, you’ll need a pituto anyway, someone to help you out. Best advice I can give. 1. Learn Spanish. 2. have as much money as you can scrape together and a reliable means to access it, i.e. several different ATM cards. One main card a a few back-up’s. 3. Take notes, mental notes, on things you see to get ideas for a business, but don’t rush into it”.

(picked from the Allchile forum )

Cost of living information tends to be unclear because depend on what you consider “good” or “acceptable”, it tends also to vary with time. On renting the main problem is that people who come here to live look for furnished homes/apartments and those are quite expensive, because tehy are ussualy rented ina daily basis.A typical furnished apartment for one person in a small apart hotel, all included is around CLP$ 250.000 (some US$ 500 at Feb 2011) per month, this include gas, ligth and water bills and sometimes Internet and cable TV

A typical example of rent an (quite expensive) property

Located at Condominio Las Palmas, you can check some picks of

the property (currently rented) here

Prices and conditions was as follow:

Monthly rent empty (not furnished) was CLP$280000 plus CLP$40000 forcommon expenses (concergerie, pool, etc) total CLP$ 320000.- today US$is CLP$ 470 per 1 USD, so total rent was US$ 680.- monthly Monthly rent furnished (basic) was CLP$ 450000 that is US$ 957.- monthly Those values do not included water, ligth, telephone, Internet, cable TV (some CLP$ 80.000extra in my home). The basic furnishing included King bed, TV set, cabinet, dining table with 4 chairs, living,refrigerator, kitchen.The home included also curtains, lamps, complete kitchen furniture,barbecue, tent for the gardenThe size of living area is 90 square meters plus yard and garden withceramic floor, etc. One bedroom in suite and two smaller, 3 bathroomsForm of payment When install the renters has to pay one month in advance and one mont asguarantee (refundable when they leave, to cover possible damages in theproperty), plus notary expenses (around US$ 30.-)Of course there are much cheaper prices (this is in the high end) but you may have an idea of costs and typical conditions with this can find furnished rent for as low as CLP$ 150.000 monthly plus bills, but in a middle class place.Automatic teller machinesThere are several in 21 de Mayo between Patricio Lynch and Prat streets: Banco Santander, Corfinsa, Farmacia Cruz Verde, Banco de Chile, Scotia Bank, Banco del Estado. Banco de Santiago. In Bolognesi street: Banco del Desarrollo. In Colón street: Banco BBVA. In Tiger Market Juan Noé street in front of Casino de Arica. In Santa María street Sodimac and supermarket Santa Isabel. In Diego Portales avenue Lider supermarket and Copec gas station. In la Plaza de Armas besides Iglesia San Marcos, Banco BCI, In Santa María avenue with Diego Portales (shopping Center del Pacífico) Banco BCI. In Cancha Rayada (población 11 de Septiembre) Banco del Estado. In Panamericana Norte front to Eliat street Copec gas station.Money exchangeUnlike Tacna, where other currencies are widely accepted, businesses in Arica only accept chilean pesos, usually it is not possible to pay with dollars or currency other than chilean pesos, so you must exchange your money first. On 21 de Mayo with Colón streets and nearby, usually you will find people exchanging money. On 21 de Mayo near Prat street there are also people in the street exchanging. In Chacabuco with Colón streets (in front of Parque Colón gallery) there are changers. Also in Colón street at entrance of Cosmocentro gallery there is an exchanging office, a few meters away near Maipú street there is another one. Street exchangers usually work for bigger dealers so they are accountable. They exchange only US dollars and Peruvian Soles. In formal exchange offices they trade another kinds of currency. In general terms it is not convenient exchange in banks but ATMs are very convenient if you have some credit/debit card. Fake money is unusual in Chile, except for Peruvian currency.Hiring a carCost of hiring a car in Chile is expensive. For example, the rent of a Toyota 4×4 or similar from big companies is about CLP$ 75.000 daily (this is some US$ 130). There are smaller companies with better prices but not as new vehicles. A company which I had rented before is Cactus (about US$ 79 daily for similar 4×4). Those prices include unlimited mileage and insurance. For a complete listing of Rent-A-Car in Arica check here. Anyway you can obtain even lower prices (some US$ 30 daily) renting directly from private people, in the paper edition of La Estrella de Arica (the local newspaper, “avisos economicos” section) you can find those cars for rent. However, they have no insurance nor warrant of good condition. Hiring a car to drive to Peru or Bolivia is theoretically possible, but not practical because of the very high cost, the need of notarial permissions and the insurance coverage problems. Much better to hire in each country. If you hire the vehicle for one week or longer often you can cut prices.Weather and geography(extracted from “Chile – Peru Boundary, The Office of the Geographer Bureau of Intelligence and Research”) The Chile – Peru boundary extends eastward from sea level on the Pacific coast to an elevation of more than 18,000 feet on the snow-covered Nevado el Fraile and 13,000 feet at the Bolivia tripoint. Inland the Atacama Desert has a flat to gently rolling surface of sands, gravels, salt plains (salars), pebble pavements, and rock hills or ridges. The Andes rise steeply above the desert and are characterized by high peaks and spectacular vistas. The Atacama Desert is one of the driest areas in the world and precipitation is practically nil. In addition to contributing to the aridity, the cold Peruvian current tends to keep temperatures relatively low with small monthly ranges. At Arica July and August are the coolest months with a mean temperature of 60ºF and February is the warmest month with a mean temperature of 72ºF. Although cloud cover is about three tenths in February, Arica often has a higher ratio of cloud cover in winter but a mean frequency of only one day of fog a year. Except for stream courses and places with a high water table, the vegetation is meager or entirely lacking. In some areas lichens, cacti, and low herbaceous plants grow with acacias and mimosas limited to the better watered tracts. With the ascent of the Andes, precipitation increases and at an elevation of some 8,000 to 10,000 feet short grasses are suitable for sheep pasturage. Snow caps the high mountain peaks throughout the year. Except for Tacna and Arica, there are only small towns and clusters of habitations adjacent to the boundary. The small towns are used by mining concerns or serve as trading centers for people engaged in pastoralism or limited irrigation farming. In addition to the Tacna Arica railroad, a number of automobile roads and tracks cross the boundary, of which the Pan-American Highway is the most important. The Arica – La Paz railroad, including a mining spur, parallels the boundary.

Tips to orientate

Arica is a middle size city with 188000 souls (approx) which extends some 15 Km.along edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Compare the best satellite ima ge that I have found with the map of Primera Region to see our general location. Both pics may be downloaded/amplified because both are high resolution. I just received a new satellite image, even better you can see/download here

In the city, the main points of reference are:

– El Morro, it is a big hill (130 m height) beside downtown where the city originally was built.

-Plaza de Armas, beside el Morro, it has less importance than in other Chilean cities. Its main attraction is Iglesia San Marcos built in Eiffel Works in France, in the XIX century.

-Calle 21 de Mayo, is the main street in Arica, a boulevard of several squares for peasants only where people walk, drink coffee or beer and meet.

-Costanera Sur,it is the main beach zone of the city with the main beaches El Laucho and La Lisera. More to the south (several km) there are Corazones and Liserilla beaches, on the edge of big cliffs

-Costanera Norte, there are the longest beaches Chinchorro and Las Machas usually favourites for aquatic sports. Along this costanera in the direction of the hills there is the industrial zone and the población 11 de Septiembre (now renamed to Raúl Silva)

-Entrada desde el sur, to east of the city, along the San José river there are the neighborhoods of Villa Magisterio, Saucache (wealthy families), to the entrance of Valle de Azapa and south access of Arica.

In Sectores de Arica you can see a sectorized map and here see pictures pics from above

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:14 PM Permalinklinks to this post

Public transportation

Arica is relatively small and flat, you can go walking to many places, but for the not so near you can go in “colectivo” (shared taxi) for US$ 0.70 or “microbus” for US$ 0.50 approx. The problem with both is that they follow fixed paths (recorridos) not easy to memorize. Even locals usually stop anyone and ask “which may I take to go to….?). Another choice is radiotaxi, they are relatively cheap (US$ 2 approx) and payment is in a “point of destination” basis, unlike colectivos and microbuses which you must pay per passenger. A radiotaxi can take 5 persons for the same money so far as they all go to the same place. Radiotaxis are asked by phone to any of those numbers: 250000, 255000, 266000, 220000, 264040, 264242. For airport taxi you must call 254812 or 255907.

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:12 PM Permalinklinks to this post

Hotels. hostels, furnished apartments

Three main choices: first hotels, second hostels and third furnished apartments. Best hotels in the city are Hotel Arica and hotel El Paso, comparing both Hotel Arica has newer and better accommodations and Hotel El Paso has good service. At the high end also is Hotel Azapa in the entrance of Valle de Azapa, There are good hotels for businessmen as, Inti Jaya and Diego de Almagro, the former with a good quality/price ratio. Fares are often negotiable at the desk, especially out of the high season or on the edge.To call ahead by phone and make reservation is highly advisable. You may ask also if there are some cut price.

On the hostels there are a broad assortment of qualities and prices, Patricio Lynch Street and DiegoPortales, in front of Terminal Rodoviario are full of hostals, the first are better located and near downtown. Check our List of Hotels and Hostals for complete information.

Recommended Hostel,Hostel Jardin del Solis owned and managed by a good friend of mine so maybe I am not completely impartial, but I knew the place when it was run by his old father and impressed to me so much thatI made a webpage for him. Later I learned that he was my friend´s father. Anyway, I recommend it because is one of the few in town specifically oriented to gringo´s needs.

Furnished apartments are the best choice when you are with a group of people, because they are rented as a unit, no matter how many people are included. Also you have the kitchen, and laundry facility and much more privacy than in a hotel. To rent an apartment you may contact a Real Estate Agent (Corredor de Propiedades in spanish). Main agents are OVI propiedades , María Cristina Mena, Carrio y Espouyes, Garate y Niedblinsky and Victor Pizarro Bossay.

If you are looking for a furnished apartment on a budget call Marcelo to any of those celular phones 08-6154919 or 08-8649956, they have a good apartment for hire at fair price.

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:11 PM Permalinklinks to this post

Cooking at home

If you rented an apartment surely you will cook. The first recommendation is to go shopping at Terminales Agropecuarios. If you come from the 1st world you will be delighted with the assortment of fresh and very good products. Another place to visit is Terminal Pesquero near seaport with fresh fish and seafruits. There are three supermarkets in Arica, and several minimarkets and small groceries. They are good for packaged food, wine and liquors. The biggest and most assorted supermarket is Lider in Diego Portales Street then Las Brisas in Pedro Aguirre Cerda street and Santa Isabel in Santa Maria avenue are smaller but you can find best quality foods there. There are also a small and well assorted minimarket in 18 de Septiembre with Colon streets. In front of Casino Municipal there is a minimarket Tiger which is opened 24 hours. . Chek location on the map

The best foods in Arica

I may recommend you try the following fishes: congrio, lenguado, reineta and palometa. At Terminal Pesquero you may find some, at the same place there are also freshwater shrimps and erizos. Azapa Valley produces fine olives for export that you may taste and good tomatoes also. There are good and cheap fruits to make juice or eat: mango, guayaba, melon, citrics, all fresh and produced in our valleys. We are not big producers of meat so we have mostly frozen from Argentina, but we are big producers of chicken which are very tasty.

Regional cuisine

Cuisine in Arica is very influenced by Peruvian cooking. In the following links I show some foods prepared by my friends and me, some are as recipes but most are just pictures of us eating. In Spanish, sorry for that:

Aji de gallina (hot chicken sauce)Lomo saltado (steak slices at oriental style)Spanish paellaArroz con pollo (chicken with rice)Chita al ajillo (vapoured fish with garlic)Baby beefPeruvian fiestaMy 10 minutes recipe (fish, cheese, bacon, tomato in a chinese food container over the grill) Choritos a la parrilla (mussels over the grill)Guatia, version 1 (typical food from Arica)Guatia version 2Smoked pig ribsAlmuerzo de cumpleaños 1 (birthday lunch)Almuerzo de cumpleaños 2Grilled steaks

My personal recipe for pisco sour

Pisco sour is a traditional drink both in Chile and Perú, if you want to prepare it yourself, here is my own recipe, all ingredients are available in any local supermarket:

-3 parts of pisco 35 degrees alcohol (higher is not good for sour) -1 part of lemmon juice (fresh limon de Pica or canned if you are lazy) -1 part of Jarabe de Goma (goma syrup) -1 little bit of Amargo de angostura -1 egg white -ice -cinnamon

Mix all ingredients except Amargo and cinnamon, then pour into glasses and add some cinnamon and few drops of amargo to every glass ¡Salud!

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:11 PM Permalinklinks to this post

Dining in a restaurant

If you are looking for restaurants, check our List of Restaurants , for fish and seafood I recommend Club de Yates, at the entrance of Isla del Alacran (not listed) fresh and good quality.

For a good quality/price ratio I also recommend Cyclo Express, in avenida Diego Portales. In mercado Colón you can eat good seafood in cocinerías (dare to try “Copa Martinez” in “Caballito de Mar”), also there are a good seafood in “El Rey del Marisco”.

For best meat in town there is “Los Aleros de 21”. The most fancy restaurant is “Maracuyá” in Costanera Sur. The best coffee and ice cream in ” Dimango ” (they have also WiFi zone at Chinchorro´s branch), their Italian food is also OK. In Casino Municipal de Arica there are a fairly good restaurants.

Specially recommended restaurant 1:if you are looking for a nice gastronomic experience I recommend you to visitTerra Amata,It is a brand new restaurant in thecasco viejoof the city, a very nice place with great views and asuperb wine list. The best of chilean wines can be found here either to enjoy at the restaurant or to bring home at a lower price. The owners are a nice couple and good friends of mine, I recommend it because I think is on the top of quality/price rate. Prices are in chilean pesos and you may calculate at a pesimistic 460 pesos per dollar rate (I know, Chile is very pricey nowadays with the strong peso).

Specially recommended restaurant 2:and if you are in a budget there are a very good choice at Terminal pesquero, It is a small restaurant near the sea called Mata Rangi, the owner is a fisherman and you will be sure that the fish is fresh and first quality.

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:09 PM Permalinklinks to this post

Grilled chicken, sandwiches, hotdogs, big macs

In Arica you can find very good charcoal-grilled chicken with french fries, we recommend specially Maxipollo, in Juan Noe street near Prefectura de Carabineros. It is a nice and economic dish, you can either eat there or order to bring home. There are also good and economic sandwiches in Rolly Sandwich (located in front of Super Agro, Santa María with Diego Portales street) you can purchase the king-kong hotdog (see photo) for about US$ 1.- In “Pollo Chip” (Tucapel and Diego Portales streets) you find also good sandwiches and fried chicken. Of course you can find the ubiquous Macdonalds at 21 de Mayo with Prat Streets


Most of restaurants in Arica offers a fixed menu for lunch besides the usual dishes, those “menus” are cheap two course combos for salesmen, tourists, etc. Prices are from some US$ 3 to US$ 9 in fancy restaurants (by example in Hotels like “El Paso” or “Hotel Arica”). You can find good menus in “La Scala” ( 21 de Mayo street), the fire station “Primera Compañía” (Colón street) , “La Jaula” (18 de Septiembre with Colón streets). Afairly good and economic place to lunch is Casino del Hospital Juan Noé, you must go there for a side entrance to hospital, in 21 de Mayo with Gallo streets.

There are a very good restaurant of this class in the old railroad Station at 21 de Mayo street, it is called “El Andén” and offers excelent dishes at menu prices.

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:04 PM Permalinklinks to this post

Get connected, cybercafes

They are everywhere. Even in the most humble sectors you can find small places with some computers and good speed connection, in 21 de Mayo and around downtown may be some 10 or more. Also in Chinchorro beach and every poblacion. Some places where you probably do not find cybercafes are Costanera Sur, Azapa and Lluta Valley. Just ask a radiotaxi or colectivo chauufer for “internet cafe” and he will bring you to one. If you have a PDA with wifi you may go to the lobby of Hotel el Paso, besides Casino Arica, they have an open wifi service, same as in the nearby of Universidad de Tarapacá main campus, at 18 de Septiembre street, there are also open, private wifi signals everywhere.

posted by Tomas Bradanovic at 4:03 PM Permalinklinks to this post

So, we are in Arica, what do we do now?

Arica is a slow city where nobody is in a hurry. Most businesses close at 1 PM for lunch and siesta or just go to the beach, then reopen after 5PM, First thing you must do is relax and don’t get nervous if things do not happen as fast as you wish. If you love the speed, Arica is not good for you. When in Arica do as ariqueños, go first to El Laucho or La Lisera , this is our lifestyle. To check more pictures of Playa El Laucho follow the link. Check here for beaches in Arica

Tour operators

Click this link for a listing of tour operators in Arica , some people coming from abroad have settled in Arica, gotten married and actually work as tour operators giving service in different languages. Check also the listing of guides and translators . In Peru there is a new tour operator that you can find at Sudamericatour website

Walking and biking

Arica is specially fit to walk or biking, but is not easy to find bikes for rent. At Tuto Beach in Playa el Laucho they rent bikes, sun umbrellas, chairs, etc. Either you choose bikes or walk there are several circuits to visit by foot. Also it is mandatory to vist el Morro , because it offers a unique view of the city layout from 130 meters high,the best choice is reach there walking, at a time where sun is not too high. There is not public transportation there so if you decide take a taxi you must pay for the round trip plus the wait which may cost over 20 dóllars. As always we recommend that you negotiate price in advance.

21 de Mayo street is the most popular walking place for ariqueños, so we reccomend you enjoy a good coffee in “Dimango”, a beer in “La Scala” or “Shop Dog” or a taco with some Dos Equis beers in “Altillo”. Morning (lets say from 11 AM) is the best time to see the city life in the streets. You will find lot of people just passing by or drinking something at the street tables. Many people meet there to do bussines or just see and be seen. Another interesting visit is Iglesia San Marcos in Plaza de Armas . this church was made at Eiffel works in Paris in the 19th century. You can explore all sector centro just walking, same as “el casco viejo” with the old casas pintadas

Riding horses

In the Club Ecuestre de Las Machas or in the Piscina Olimpica you can hire horses for a ride in the long beach of Las Machas and nearby places. Check the site Arica a Caballo

Terminal Agropecuario

John M., from Tokyo spent some time ago in Arica and sent to me this report on Terminal Agro, read it:

I want to recommend the Terminal Agropecuario to anyone visiting Arica. Arica is in an interesting position both geographically and agriculturally speaking and the produce sold at the Terminal Agropecuario reflects this. Produce common in Peru, Bolivia and of course Chile finds its way to this huge produce market. Because Arica is located in a desert region and close to the Andes mountains the variety of fruit and vegetables is extraordinary.

This market is an amazing place in which to wander around and marvel at the abundance of produce in all colors of the spectrum; mounds of bright red tomatoes, multi-colored corn from from colder climes, glossy bell peppers in greens , yellow and reds to rival the tomatoes, mountains of papery skinned onions in purple and yellow, grapes of all hues and types, potatoes from the Chilean south and the andean region, mangos in blends of green, yellow and red, chirimoyas in army green, orange oranges, huge yellow/green papayas, plump avocados, succulent artichokes, and some of the best olives and olive oil in the world from the Azapa valley and other locations in the area, oregano from the foothills near Belen, honey from orchard hives

… I think you get the message. The Agropecuario is a cornucopia of produce. For the photographer or the ambitious chef planning a feast or someone just wanting to while away the day this is the place for you. Yes, the produce is interesting but the people working there are more interesting. Get friendly. Ask a few questions. Ask for a taste! You’ll find Latin-American warmth very welcoming,. the people from the andean foothills my be a little shy at first but a smile and a complement goes a long way towards warming things up. Everyone knows where the Terminal Agropecuario is located; buses, taxis and colectivos, cars on fixed routes go from all parts of the city to this amazing market. Admission is free!

Going further

As long you are oriented you may dare to go further. To visit the Terminal Agropecuario is worth it, specially if you enjoy cooking There you can find groceries, fruits, meal and so on from our valleys and south Perú. Sunday morning is the best time to visit because there is the best assortment of things for sale. There are two terminals besides: ASOAGRO from farmers and ASOCAPEC from merchants, both are interesting to see. There is also a flea market inside. There are also restaurants with typical meals such as fricasé, picantes, carapulca, etc. They are located at the south entrance of Arica and you can go there by microbus, colectivo or radiotaxi.

A second long visit is to cuevas de Corazones . There is not public transportation there but you can go with bike (some 8 km to Playa Corazones) from Costanera Sur, the fishing works, and the road along the sea on the edge of a big cliff. Then in Playa Corazones there are small places where you can eat fresh seafood and good empanadas de mariscos (the owner is a scuba diver). Following the edge of the cliff you reach huge natural caves where prehistoric ariqueños used to live. Folow on for impressive landscape small islands populated of seawolves. Then you reach to Playa La Liserilla some 15 km away from the city.

Another choice to visit is Valle de Azapa , visiting Museo Arqueológico de San Miguel de Azapa , a small museum but world notorious for the interest of the pieces, including the old Chinchorro mummies, the world oldest known. This museum has appeared in National Geographic and Discovery TV shows and receives every year lots of visit from scholars and tourists. San Miguel de Azapa is a small village but not so attractive, and if fleas are not an issue for you, you can lunch or eat good sopaipillas con pebre in “La Picada del Muertito” just beside the town cemetery. A visit to tomato and olive oil factory may be interesting, specially Jussef Bo Antoun and Lombardi s family. Poblado Artesanal is a re-creation of an altiplanic village with handcraft masters and a typical restaurant.

The other valley of Arica is Lluta , on the road to high plateau and Bolivia. It has many archeological points who are not evident unless you take a guided visit. There is an interesting inner road which connects both villages San Miguel de Azapa and Poconchile in the Lluta valley. Besides Poconchile you find also a weird Hare Krishna Farm open for visitors, where you can eat vegetarian foods and chat with the monks.


The best “serious” place to go at night in town is Casino de Arica . It has restaurants, bars, karaoke, slot machines and games halls, remains open all night with live music and perform shows in a regular basis. Specially good there is bar La Cava and restaurant, both fancy and good prices, you don´t need formal clothes to enter. There are also many bars and places good and economical: discos and bars for all ages and the you-can´t-miss Isla del Alacrán, where people meet since 1 AM almost every night, It is a sort of town square where people go to pass on foot or by car, to drink and chat. It is a safe place and -theoretically- it is forbidden to drink in the street, but here there is a de facto agreement and Carabineros will not mess with you unless you are making scene. Arica in the night is generally safe, and delinquency is rare. A lot of pictures of nightlife you will find at Arica Vaina and Arica Webeo . In

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