Arica is a commune and a port city with a population of 196,590 in the Arica Province of northern Chile’s Arica y Parinacota Region. It is Chile’s northernmost city, being located only 18 km (11 mi) south of the border with Peru. The city is the capital of both the Arica Province and the Arica and Parinacota Region. Arica is located at the bend of South America’s western coast known as the Arica Bend or Arica Elbow. At the location of the city two lush valleys that dissect the Atacama Desert converge: Azapa and Lluta. These valleys provides fruit for export.
Arica is an important port for a large inland region of South America. The city serves a free port for Bolivia and manages a substantial part of that country’s trade. In addition it is the end station of the Bolivian oil pipeline beginning in Oruro. The city’s strategic position is enhanced by being next to the Pan-American Highway, being connected to both Tacna in Peru and La Paz in Bolivia by railroad and being served by an international airport.
Its mild weather has made Arica known as the “city of the eternal spring” in Chile while its beaches are frequented by Bolivians. The city was an important port already during Spanish colonial rule. Chile seized the city from Peru in 1880 following the War of the Pacific and was recognized as Chilean by Peru in 1929. A substantial part of African Chileans live in or trace their origins to Arica. Photo: LetsGoToChile.com