Arica, Chile - Polarsteps

Arica, Chile: population: about 248,000. Arica sits 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of the Chile-Peru border. In Chile, Arica is known as "the city of eternal spring." Arica was founded in April 1541, or 1570, or possibly 1584. The Arica area has been inhabited for thousands of years. Archeologists have found pottery, petroglyphs, and geoglyphs dated back 10,000 years. Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the Tiahuanaco people lived in this valley and named it Ariacca. They lived with an agricultural and maritime economy. In time, they disappeared and were replaced by other groups, and these groups expanded the area further inland and introduced stepped farming, agriculture, and livestock. Arica serves as Bolivia's port (Bolivia is a landlocked country) and a large part of Bolivia's foreign trade is handled here at the Arica port. Through the 16th - 19th centuries the city grew due to its position as a port and shipping silver from the mines in this part of the continent, but English and Dutch pirates made this difficult. In 1856, Arica saw its first railroad built between here and Tacna, Peru. The railway was built by an American engineer, Walton Evans. In 1868, the city was hit by an 8.5 magnitude earthquake which was followed by a tsunami with waves of 7-10 meters (23-33 feet) in height. The earthquake and the tsunami almost erased the town from existence. Then, in 1877, there was another earthquake and tsunami with even bigger waves - 14 meters (46 feet) in height. In 1913, the railroad expanded and connected Arica to La Paz, Bolivia. Arica does have many offerings to interest tourists. A few include the Morro de Arica, the giant rocky cliff that looks like a sand dune behind the rocky face, which sits right at the city's edge. There is a military museum at the top. See my pics in the photo album. There are museums and historical buildings, and outside of the city are archeological areas with petroglyphs, geoglyphs, and much more to see. And much more. So, my impressions: Arica is a small city with a lot to offer tourists. There are many historical buildings and interesting architecture to learn about. The city center is clean and pleasant with several roads closed to motor vehicles. I liked my visit to Arica but because it's a desert/beach city one would have the perennial associated problems - lots of dust, sand in your home, and oxidation due to salt in the air.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Arica