Arica, the alternative

guide tour

This site compiles relevant information for those who intend to visit the city of Arica. It is an alternative guide with no comercial nor official support. Comments and recomendations are just personal, based in my own experience of living in Arica since 1974. Data are complemented with cross references to another sites, personal opinions and casual evaluations on different places of the city.

I have tried to build a useful and comprehensive website, following the logical sequence of a tipical tourist; the arriving to the city, to look for a place to stay, food, places worth to visit, and so on. A lot of prices are published but must be considered just as reference. Actual prices may differ greatly depending on season, exange rates etc.

Well, my english is far from good but for future versions I will ask my friend Stephen help to correct misspellings and redaction, my apologies in advance.

My purpose is to aid visitors with good information, those hard to find in official guides, pros and cons, appeals, dangers and difficulties with a realistic view apart from propaganda or commercial interests. I truly hope that you feel this site useful and it help you to get some ideas for an enjoyable staying in Arica

Tomás Bradanovic.


Two ways to arrive to Arica

- By air from south of Chile or Bolivia
- By land from south of Chilen or Tacna, or Argentina  or  Bolivia.

There are not fligths from Peru to Arica, peruvian fligths end or start from Tacna and you must go there by land (60 km aprox).
There are not railroad passenger service between Arica-La Paz since almost 10 years ago, you must go there by bus or car..

Arriving by air :
Chacalluta Airport is one of the smallest of the country, but this year will be rebuild by private concesionary to make it bigger and more expensive. It is located just near the frontier border line with Peru along Las Machas beach. At arriving traveller can see clearly the borderline between Chile and Perú, so as the mining camp between the countries. It can be seen also clearly the city layout with two valleys who reach the sea from the high plateau and the green spots in the middle of desert created by Lluta River   and San José river, the last almost never reach the sea, because the waters are used for farms of Valle de Azapa .

Custom tramitation for aliens are simple and fast, the good faith presuntion is applied because import taxes are amng the lowest in the world (4% average). You can not miss at airport because its small size, there are just one dissembark gate with a dozen of taxi drivers offering "taxi" (exclusive car) or "colectivo" (shared taxi). The golden rule for a tourist in Arica is always ask for the final price before to contract any service .  Following this rule will save you lots of money and bad experiences, remember always this during your stay in the city. Taxis are more expensive than colectives but they are paid in a point of destination basis, colectivos prices are pais in per passenger basis, so sometimes for groups of 3-4 person going to the same point taxi may be more convenient, otherwise we recomend colectivos, in both cases you must negotiate the price in advance.

From airport to the city there are some 15 minutes by car from the north side, it crosses the poor neighborhoods however is a clea and ordered road along the sea and desert. Before to reach downtown the road pass in front of Costanera Sur and Chinchorro Beach , one of the 3  main coast places.

Arriving by land from  south
From south of Chile you arrive Arica after to cross Desierto de Atacama the driest place in the world, the trip from Santiago is 2.070 km away almost 30 hours by bus croosing the Valle Central, norte chico (Coquimbo, La Serena, Vallenar and Copiapó), then to the long desierto of Norte Grande trough many hours until Antofagasta, Tocopilla,  Iquique  and  Arica . It is a long and boring trip so we reccomend to take a bus "salón cama" (there are regular buses normales, semi cama and salón cama). Bus fares are often negotiables, you must always ask in counter if there are some special discount or cut price. By plane the trip Santiago-Arica last about 4 hours, by landas we said before thereare about 30 hours.
The road enters by south acces and the first seeing is the Acha jail, then Terminal Agropecuario (food and vegetable market, very interesting) and finally trough Avenida Diego Portales arrives to Terminal Rodoviario . If you has never been in the city before the best choice to move is "radiotaxi", besides Terminal Rodoviario there are the cheapest radiotaxis más baratos (750 chilean pesos downtown, 1500 to the beach and suburbs), there are also a lot of taxi chauferrs offering at the exit of Terminal but they are more expensive, never forget to negotiate price before to take the service.


Automatic teller machines
There 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 exchange
Unlike Tacna, where others currency are widely accepted, business in Arica only accept chilean pesos, ussualy it is not possible to pay with dollars or other currency, so you may exchange your money first. In 21 de Mayo with Colón streets and nearby usually you will find people exchanging money, in 21 de Mayo near Prat street there are also peoplein street exchanging, in Chacabuco with Colón streets (in front of Parque Colón gallery). there are change. Also in Colón street at entrance of  Cosmocentro gallery there are an exchanging office, few meters away near Maipú street there are another one. Street exchangers usually work for bigger dealers so they are accountables, they usually exchanging only US dollars and peruvian Soles, in formal exchange offices they trade another kind of currency. In general terms it is not convenient exchange in banks.


How to orientate
Arica is a middle size city with 180.00 souls (aprox) which extends some 15 Km.along the border of Pacific Ocean.
Compare the best satelite image that I have found with the map of Primera Region to see our general location. Both pics may be downloades/amplified because both are high resolution.

In the city, the main points of reference are:
- El Morro, it is a big hill (130 mt heigth) besides downtown where the city originally was build. Downtown it is along the north side and westside of Morro has a climb wich fronts directly to the sea.
-Plaza de Armas, besides of el Morro, ita has not such importance as in other chilean cities. Its main atracctive is Iglesia San Marcos
-Calle 21 de Mayo, is the main street in Arica, a boulevard of several squares for peasants only where people walk, drinks coffe, 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, in the edge of big cliffs
-Costanera Norte, there are the longest beaches Chinchorro and Las Machas usually favourites for acuatic sports. Along this costanera in direction to the hills there are the indusrial 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 (whealty families), to the entrance of Valle de Azapa and south acess of Arica.

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


How to move in the city
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 stopany and ask "which may I take to go to....?). Another choice is radiotaxi, they are relatively cheap (US$ 2 aprox) and payment is in a "point of destination" basis, unlike colectivos and microbuses which you must pay per passenger, that is in a radiotaxi can trip 5 persons for the same money as far they 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 y 255907.


Looking for a place to stay
Three main choices: first hotels, second hostales and third furnished appartments. Best hotels in the city are Hotel Arica and hotel El Paso, comparing both Hotel Arica has newer and best accomodations and Hotel El Paso has best service (is managed by the owner). At the high end also Hotel Azapa in the entrance of Valle de Azapa, There are good hotels for bussinesman as Volapuk, Inti Jaya and Diego de Almagro, the former with a good quality/price ratio. Fares are often negotiable at the desk, specially out of the high season or in the edge.To ask previously by phone and make reservation is highly advisable, you may ask also if there are some cut price.

On the hostals there are a broad assort of quality and price , 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 a complete information.

Furnished apartments are the best choice when you are a groupof people, because are payed as unit, nomatter how many people receive.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


Foods for cooking
I If you rented an apartment surely you will cook, Thereare three supermarkets in Arica, and several minimarkets and small groceries. The biggest and most assorted is Lider in Diego Portales Avenue . 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 are a minimarket Tiger which is opened 24 hours.


Dinning in a restaurant
If you want toknow about restaurants check our List of Restaurants , for fish and seafood we reccomend Club deYates, at the entrance of Isla del Alacran (not listed) fresh and good quality, for an excellent quality/price ratio wereccomend Cyclo Express, in mercado Colón you can eat also good seafood in cocinerías (reccomended to try "Copa Martinez" in "Caballito de Mar"), also there are a good aracuya" in Costanera surrestaurant "El Rey del Marisco". For best meat in town there is "Los Aleros de 21".A fancy and luxurios restaurant is "Maracuyá" in Costanera Sur. The best coffe and ice creams in " Dimango ", their italian food is also OK. In Casino Municipal de Arica there are also a fairly good restaurant


Grilled chicken and sandwichs
In Arica you can find very good charcoal-grilled chicken with french fries, we reccomend specially Maxipollo, in Juan Noe street near Prefectura de Carabineros. Is a nice and economic dish, you can either eat there or order to bring home. There are also good and economic sandwichs 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.- tIn "Pollo Chip" (Tucapel and Diego Portales streets) you find also good sandwichs and fried chicken.

Most of restaurants in Arica offers a fixed menu for lunch besides the usual dishes, those "menus" are cheap two course combos for clerks,salesman, 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.


Get connected, cybercafes
There are everywere, 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 to a radiotaxi or colectivo chauufer for "internet cafe" and he bring you to one. If you have a PDA with wifi may go to the lobby of Hotel el Paso, besides Casino Arica, they have an open wifi service .


So, we are installed in Arica, what may I do now?
Arica is a slow city where nobody is in a hurry. Most of bussines 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 dont get nervious if things do not happen as past as you wish. If you like spreed better leave, Arica is not good for you. When in Arica do as ariqueños, go first to  El Laucho o La Lisera , thi is our lifestyle. To check more pics of Playa El Laucho follow the link.

Walking and biking
Arica is specially fit to walk or biking, but is not easy to find bikes for rent. At the entrance of Costanera Sur there is a small tent with antiques and colectibles for sale called "Akala" their owners Roberto Pickert and Jorge sometimes rent bikes, they also edit a homemade touristic newspaper, and serves as guides in city tours.either you choose bikes or walk there are several  Trecking alternatives also is mandatory The visit to Morro , because offer an unique view of the city layout from 130  meters high,the best choice is to climb walking at a time where sun is noy too high.there are not public transportation there so if you decide take a taxi you must will pay for the round trip plus the wait which may cost over 20 dóllars, as always we reccomend to negotiate price in advance.

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


You may also visit las ferias in Colón nighborhood (feria Sangra, Cosmocentro, Manuel Rodriguez, Las Parinas, El Morro, Las Palmeras, etc.). Those ferias born during  the contraband booming for Peru in the eigthies,there are lot of electronics and all kind of free zone good prices. Every sunday a big flea market is installed along several squares of Chacabuco street. The same products as in ferias: electronics, chinese clothes, etc.
A special feria is Máximo Lira  (also know as feria de las peruanas) located besides the Arica-Tacna railroad station,and near the port. You can find there good peruvian artesany specially vicuña wool items at good prices and natural medicines as "uña de gato", "maca", "cápsulas de ajo y caiwa" etc. In front is locates theold railroad station of Ferrocarrifind les Arica-La Paz, now it is a museum, same as the old customs building now "Casa de la Cultura"  constructed alsoat eiffel works two centuries ago.
At Paseo Bolognesi (see pic) you find also artesany.


Going further
As long you are oriented and made your first walking in the city you may dare to go further. A visit to Terminal Agropecuario It worths, specially if you enjoy cooking, you can find there groceries, fruits, meal and so on from our valleys and south Perú, sunday morning is the best day to visit because there are the most assort of things for sale. There are two terminals besides: ASOAGRO from farmers and ASOCAPEC from merchants, both are interesting to see, there are also a flea market inside. There are also a restaurants area with tipical 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 are 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 in the border of a big cliff. Then in Playa Corazones there area small place where you can eat fresh seafood and good empanadas de mariscos (the owner is a scuba diver). Following the border of the cliff you reach to  huge natural caves where prehistoric ariqueños used to live. Folowing for impressing landscape with seawoof islands 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 notorius 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 receive every year lots of visit from scholars and tourists. San Miguel de Azapa is a small village not so attractive, and if fleas are not an issue for you, you can lunc or eat good sopaipillas con pebre in "La Picada del Muertito" just besides the town cementery. A visit to tomato and olive oil factory may be interesting, specially Jussef  Bo Antoun and Lombardi s family.

The another 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 are an interesting inner road wich 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 nigths in town is Casino de Arica , It has restaurants, bars, karaoke,slot machines and games halls, remains open all nigth 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 dont need formal clothes to enter. There are also many bars and places  good and economic: discos and bars for all ages and the  you-cant-miss Isla del Alacrán, when lots of people meet since 1AM every nigth, It is a sort of town square where people go to passing by foot or car, to drink and chat. It is a safe place and -theoretically- it is forbidden to drink in the street, butt here area de facto agreement and Carabineros will not mess you unless you are making scandal. The nigth in Arica is generally safe, delincuency is odd at nigthlife, A lot of pics of nigthlife you willfind at Arica Vaina and Arica Webeo . In Salgamos website it appears a list of  places and events in town.


Folklore, Salsa, Sex bars, Prostíbules
There are a very good folkloric bar called "Kamisaraki" with foods, drinks and andean music. It is located in Diego Portales avenue and the best days to go are weekends.

In 21 de Mayo with Patricio Lynch streets there are a nice Salsoteca called Habana Vieja, weekends there are often live salsa.

In front of Habana Vieja there are a sex bar with sadomasochistic deco,it works day and nigth. In 18 de Septiembre street passing Patricio Lynch There are "café Sófocles" another sex bar with perfomances, only at nigth.

There are few prostibules in Arica (most of prostitutes works freelance, you can check their phone nunbers in the local newspaper "La Estrella de Arica"), the remaining prostibules are Skorpios in Pedro Aguirre Cerda street and Casa Amarilla in Anibal Pinto street. Both are safe places and any taxi driver must know how to get there


Gays and lesbians
There are two gay-lesb places in town, the first is Bunker in Playa Brava (it change the name frequently), few meters south of Playa la Lisera, the other one is Fandango in Diego Portales avenue, besides pub Kamisaraki. Wenesdays to saturday are the most moved days


One day in L ake Chungará is not enough
The chilean high plateau is one of the most impressing areas to visit in the world, the misteries wich surround the prehistory , the huge dimension of landscapes where man ouvres becomes dwarf, the wildlife with lots of vicuñas, tarucas, venados, viscachas a few meters of visitors and landscaping only compared with tibetan areas, make of this lands one of the most attractives for tourism and adventure. Average tourists however usually pass by in a hurry, a tigth one-day tour to Lago Chungará (one of the worlds higests) not fully understanding which is seeing and unsuspect of what is missing. That is why my fisrt advise for adventurers is to learn which lay under the surface, to learn the underground stories and to take some time to explore those fascinating and unique places. In  Arica Territorio Andino we present  a complete enciclopedy (in spanish, sorry) of our andean zone , to learn some of it will multiply the value of your trip  turning it into an adventire full of sense and understanding. Anyway, if you can not read spanish I encourage you to read those articles from doctor Renato Aguirre The prehispanic identity of Arica, The anatomy (geology) of the pachamama in Arrica , Arica and the andean world

In the article Circuito Turístico Precordillerano (spanish) there are some alternatives to the standard one day Chungara tour, and in De Arica al Lago Chungará Paso a Paso there are pictures and reccomendations for the visit to Chungara. in  Precordillera y Altiplano Chileno there are a serie of photograps from precordillera, high plateau and national parks. In Excursión al Parque Nacional Lauca there are pics  of my own tour to Chungara with some friends. We reccomend at least a two day tour sleeping in the village of Putre, where you can stay in the confort of Hostería Las Vicuñas or in the economic hostal La Paloma. Arica and high plateau are also very rich in prehistoric artrock as you can check in  Arte en la Roca or in Maarten Van Hoeck website.

For those interested in birdwatching I reccomend to check Aves de Arica website or the specialized tour operator Birding Alto Andino


To Tacna, Arequipa and Cusco
Tacna, the peruvian city (200.000 souls aprox) is only 60  km away from Arica  and both are a closely tied in geographic, economical and historical terms. Many ariqueños has relatives in Tacna and viceversa, a Trip to Tacna   is an aditional attractive  for tourist To go there the more easy way is by your own car or colectivo (US$ 4-5 per passenger), more adventurer, pintoresque and cheaper is take the old train Aricañ-Tacna. You can also go the by bus, but it doesnt worth, it is very slow due all contrabandist with his/her merchandises go this way. Chilean citizens can trip up to Arequipa just with their ID card, childs  under 18 must trip with both parents and birth certificate or any other identification, otherwise mus carry a notarial autorization of parents.

The frontier remains open from 8:00 to 24;00 hrs, except fridays and saturdays where is open all around 24 hours. Tacna has very good and economic places to eat such as Rancho San Antonio, the cevichería Puerto Viejo in Vigil street, A Todo Vapor and many more restaurants in  Pachia valley near the city, There are also many doctors, optometrists, dentists, at very reasonable prices, but you must review the credentials and reputation prior to contract because there are been some malpractice cases. When in Tacna remember ask for price before to avoid problems. Further information on the city and its attactives for further info check  Aquí Tacna (spanish). Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru (5-6 hours from Tacna in bus) and the ideal starting point for the main  touristic attraction in Peru Cusco-Machu Pichu .

A trip to La Paz (Bolivia)
¿Too far you think?, not so, the city of La Paz is only at 7-8 hours by bus, the road fully paved cross some of the world most impressing landscapes, there are good and economic bus lines. In Arica-La Paz step by step this trip is described in detail


Entering to Desierto de Atacama, a trip to Iquique
Despite Iquique -in my view- has not much touristic interest for aliens (except for some old architecture such as Teatro Municipal ) the trip is a good way to adventure into Desierto de Atacama, the driest place in the world, visiting the ghost town of Humberstone and the tiny and charm pueblo de Huara where you can visit an century old Farmacia . You may also visit the nice oasis of Pica and Matilla deep into the desert  but easy to acces for a day trip. There are lot of ghost town and cementeries in desert  such as  pueblo fantasma de Negreiros . In Arica-Iquique Paso a Paso the trip is explained in detail.

Trip to Codpa valley, desert and precordillera
Codpa is a valley located deep into desert, it has a nice hostería and to reach there you cross impressing sceneries. In Cabalgata a Codpa and Cabalgata a Livilcar are detailes some private expedition with horses.


Sports and extreme
Arica wheater and location is nice to practice many sports: Parapente is very popular here with -at least- tho schools offering courses an biplaza fligths: Raul Peric and Rober Goubernatis schools, there are also Landsailing , and Off Road 4x4 cluibs and, of course, surf, one of our most traditional sports all over the year, in Arica surf   you can check in the local move, in Low Pressures guide Arica appears as a World Class surf spot , in Wannasurf there are some technical info on conditions of the city. For swimming, there are in Arica an  Olympic pool with  jumping pool, body building facilities, etc. Desierto and valleys are also a good choice for Trial and mountain bike .


Motorhomes and RVs
Arica is a very good choice as operational base for motorhome travelers, fair weather all over the year and the safest city of the area, Arica is located near to many atractive places. There are many places where you can freely park, for overnigth the most convenient is Playa La Lisera where you can find a good bathroom service all over the year with shower (cold water). La Lisera is also a very safe place because there are Carabineros patrolling all over the nigth, and in case of tsunami is very easy to reach to a safe place in heigths by foot. The minus is that sometimes there are noisy people and loud cars at nigth, specially in weekends. 

In playa Chinchorro there are a camping zone, very good to camp in winter, just in front of Carabineros quarter but is also very noisy in summer nigths. It is not a safe place in case of tsunami, as fact is just  in the inundation zone far away of any heigth.

Parque Centenario, near Chinchorro is often used by motorhomes to camp at nigth, another good places are Playa Brava and rutacentro Copec, besides the gas station in the south entrance of the city, there are a very good bathroom service with hot water shower and so on.

Electric service in Chile is 220 volts 50 hertz and standard plugs are as show. However is very easy to obtain plug adapters and transformers at cheap price in any of the city ferias.


Risks in Arica
Arica rates high into the safest cities in Chile, however is not extempt of risks as any place in the world, following we expose some of the main risks in the city and how to avoid it.


Tsunamis and earthquakes
Arica is a very active seismic zone because is placed just over the place where Nazca tectonic plata press behind the Continental plate. small quakes are not rare and there are a very good seismic culture in people. So, when a quake occurs usually there is no panic scenes and victims are rare even in the stronger. Buildings are very strong constructed and the soil is mainly rock and salt, the safest fos this kind of events. There are inundation charts such as  Inundation chart 1 Inundation chart 2 Inundation chart 3 indicating which points would be under waters in case of tsunami. Both costaneras, all balneario de Chinchorro and all las Machas upthe hills are unsafe points, in general terms any heigth 30 mts over the sea level is considered safe, there are a time from a minimum time of 20 minutes to 1 hour after a big earthquake with epicenter on the sea to reach a safe place, and in case of a "silent tsunami" created by a quake in other continent, our early alarm system gives us 24 hour to evacuate. We have a sop histicated tide telemetric system into the deep sea in front of our costs connected by sattelite with the world warning center in Hawai.

Seismic history
Four big earquakes are registred in the history of Arica; the first one in 1600, due an eruption of Hayna Putina vulcano in Arequipa (Peru). Then in 1604 a strong earthquake followed by tsunami sweeped the town and in august 13, 1868 the strongest of our history, actually was 3 sucesive earthquakes followed by tsunami, causing big destruction, even in Bolivia, it up the coast level and trow the american vessel "Wateree" with allits crew several kilometers inland. Not long after, in 1877 another strong earthquake/tsunami combo hit the city, bringing back the vessel "Waterre" near the cost.ince then there are a seismic silence which may expect for a new "big one", every day we have unperceptible quakes and every certain time earth menaceus with noise and movement. The last big quake was in 1986, grade 8 in the Richter scale with just a pair of casualities, the city reacted pretty good this time.

In the event of a big quake with epicentre on the deep sea the city is preety good prepared, we know that sea retreat first and there are enough time to look for a safe place in the heigths. Due our seismicity construction regulations are very strict. The early warning system is in charge of Armada de Chile   in Sistema Nacional de Alarma contra Maremotos you can see the complete description of the warning system.


Drugs and delincuency
Arica is one of the lowest cities in crime and violence in Chile. Sometimes, few a year, city is alarmed with the new of an assault or murder, but this is a small city where lots of people knows each other, so the offenders are ussualy catched. Regarding to violence Arica is a pretty safe place. Riots and social unrest are almost unexistent except a few university manifestations twice a year tipically.

However there are other kind of delincuency, running pickpocket -also know as "lanzasos"- and thief in places where tourists usually goes are not unfrecuent. Tourists usually confides and low guard in the relaxed apparience of the city.Some of the favorite streets for pickpocket are Colón with Maipú treet, Paseo Bolognesi, Baquedano, Maipú and Chacabuco where a mini red zone is populated by some drinks and thievers. Even in 21 de Mayo street (the main street of Arica) there are robbers when a confided tourist left his/her camera or wallet into  the table in the open air restaurant. So watch your steps, stay alert and always warn if some uknow people advises that you have "a spit" or something of you in the floor, this is the usual two persons trick to robber you.

Drug traficking scene is very deppresed since 80s, when the military goverment ordered to install mined fields in the border with Perú. Today is not easy to find marijuana in the city, cocaine and pasta base is some more accesible but there is not easy to find. Violence or gangs tied to drug traffic is almost unexistent in the city, except for a very few specific spots (CarlosPezoa Veliz street, Chacabuco street),


Medical services
There are a wide offer of medical services in Arica. For urgencies the best choice is Mutual del Trabajador,with emergency service for anyone 24x365. There are also several specialized cliniques, the bigger private is Clínica San José. Besides the public hospital there are specialized centers for child, traumathology, radiology, optometrists, dhermatology, surgery and so on. The public hospital Juan Noe in Arica islocated in an old building but is very good equipped, the mstserious cases are alwys derivated there because has the best technology and a very good team of phisicians, nurses and paramedics..

In Tacna (Peru) there are also a wide offer of healt services and prices are often most convenient,but you must check credentials in advance  because malpractice problems had happened.


This is still a work in progress

Well, my idea is to keep this as an open project, adding everyday new information and empowering with the comment of people which has been visiting the city before. I hope that you visitors send me comments, suggestion, useful tips, warnings and anything that they consider useful  for a better stay in Arica, I hope hear you folks, both locals and strangers to
help me to add more and more information and personal views. 

So goodbye and enjoy your staying, and if you are lost in Arica or need some small favour or orientation just go to the next cybercafe and send me a mail, I gladly will help you if I can. By the way I can also help you if you need to empty a botlle of beer or something so in Isla del Alacran!.


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