Arica spreads out at the foot of El Morro Hill, the site of a major battle of the Peruvian War (1879-83). Today, the hill is a national historic monument, complete with an open-air museum. The summit of El Morro affords excellent panoramic views, which survey the city, the ocean, and even the distant Atacama. Also of interest in Arica is the San Marcos de Arica church, designed by the famed tower-builder Gustav Eiffel.
Historically, Arica was an important trade centre for products from the interior, and the Quechua and Aymara Indians still come to the city to sell traditional handicrafts. Arica is also a major transportation center, with international air links to Bolivia and Peru. Among adventure travelers, the city is best known as the starting point for excursions into the Atacama Desert.
The Museo Arqueologicò San Miguel de Azapa, located a short distance out of town, gives an excellent introduction to the history of the area. Among its most fascinating exhibits are a collection of Incan mummies, whose bodies were perfectly preserved in the extraordinarily arid sands of the forbidding Atacama.
Known as "The City of Eternal Spring," Arica is located at the northern tip of Chile on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. It is blessed with a mild, dry climate and waters warm enough for swimming, making it a popular, year-round beach resort. The best bathing spots are a number of sheltered coves south of town, which offer calm waters and a picturesque, unspoiled setting.
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