September 23, 2015
Day 1 – Arica to Putre
Arica, a coastal town in the far north of Chile, is a bustling port city and free port for the land locked Bolivia, which still claims sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean.
Francisco met us at the hotel at 9:30AM as promised for the start of the 5 day 4 night tour from Arica to San Pedro de Atacama. Today’s itinerary was interesting but filled with numerous B or C sights – most of which took little time to visit. More of an introduction to the region than must-see sights that leave an impression.
The highlight of the day was the 4000-2000 BC Chinchorro mummies at the Archaeological Museum of San Miguel of Azapa, about half of which were preserved naturally due to the extremely arid climate and high salt conditions of the area. The other half were intentionally mummified using artificial methods.
Other sights included:
Morro of Arica – vista point above the town.
Terminal Asoagro – local market.
Tropilla Geoglyphs in the Azapa Valley.
Stopped for lunch in Poconchile in the Lluta Valley. Basic but good food at an atmospheric rustic establishment.
While both the Azapa and Lluta Valleys are agricultural basins fed by a river, olives and other fruits are grown in the Azapa Valley where the water has a lower salt content and vegetables are grown in the Lluta Valley where the water is more saline.
Iglesia de San Gerónimo – 17th century church.
Pukara de Copaquilla – 17th century pre-Hispanic fort.
Village of Socoroma known for its terraces and restored adobe church.