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Arica: beaches, surfing and adventure in the Altiplano

Story by Chile

Posted: April 19, 2013

Arica is the northern gate of Chile and the last frontier before entering Peru.

Its geographic location combines the Pacific Ocean, the arid desert and the heights of the majestic Altiplano. During the summer, it becomes one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers from Peru and Bolivia.

Not only tourists but also locals use its excellent roads to enjoy the spacious and beautiful beaches, such as Chinchorro, El Laucho and La Lisera, where water sports are mandatory.

Arica has one of the most active and organized surfing communities in Chile, with many schools that operate all year round and constantly produce new surfing talent. The favorable climate of the area makes things easier; it is one of the few places in continental Chile where you can practice the sport without the need for a wetsuit (but only during the summer and among the beach waves).

Besides the beaches and the surf, Arica has a variety of other attractions, such as a tax-free market (Zona Franca), fine dining with seafood and good nightlife enhanced by the casino. But if it's tours and adventures you are searching for, Arica is the starting point for exploring the Altiplano and reaching the imposing lake Lago Chungar√° in the Andes, at an altitude of 4,570 meters.