Back to the Beach – Northern Chile

After three weeks of frigid Andean heights we were so happy to cross the border into Northern Chile and get back to the beach. After a 6 hour bus ride followed by a short train ride from Tacna Peru, we entered Chile in the small tranquilo beach-side city of Arica. Like much of northwest Chili and Southern Peru, the town sits bellow giant barren sandstone cliffs. Like northern Mexico without the trees. Aside from surfing, Chili has some of the best waves in all of South America, the locals also like to go sand boarding, hand gliding, and all kinds of other life threatening activities.

This part of the country was most known for it’s now defunct nitrate mining towns that brought wealth and prosperity to the country in the early part of the century, eventually replaced by copper mining which now accounts for most of Chili’s GNP. Chileans are also quite proud here since aquiring this part of the county from Peru after the War of the Pacific in the late 1800s.

Playa el Laucho, Arica Chile

Playa el Laucho, Arica Chile

Now, however, it is more of a vacation destination for Chileans who want to spend some time in the sand and the sun. Luckily, and to our surprise, the residents were gearing up for the Fuerza Del Sol (Sun Festival), a week long celebration full of street parades and great music. We saw over 4000 dancers in a variety of dress – from traditional garb to outlandish masks and costumes.

Fiesta de Fuerza del Sol, Arica Chile

Fiesta de Fuerza del Sol, Arica Chile

Plaza Pratt, Iquique Chile

Plaza Pratt, Iquique Chile

After visiting Arica and Iquique, a similar beach resort town further south, Lila and I moved on to Santiago, Chili’s capital for another amazing week… pics and stories to follow soon…

Our Chile pics can be found here.

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