28 October 2017:
Arica, Chile:
The Far North

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Over the years, I have come to realize that not every person walks about with a map of the world in their head, backed up by a collection of atlases back home. That would describe me, but I’m the first to admit that I am ever-so-slightly different from others.

SILVER MUSE IN ARICA

I don’t mind being the personal navigator for all who travel with me. I enjoy the mental gymnastics.

So, to set the stage: as we head down the coast of South America, we have now progressed from the deep south of Peru at Matarani to cross the border and arrive at the far north of Chile and the port city of Arica.

That part is fairly obvious. One complexity is that Chile also reaches to the bottom of the continent, so in a few days we will be making a left turn to the easternmost part of the country, at Tierra del Fuego, which touches the southernmost piece of Argentina.

And then after we round the bottom, our navigation will be the other way around, heading northeast to the Falkland Islands and then northward up the coast to Uruguay and back to the eastern shoulder of Argentina.

Stay with me for details…

Arica is just 11 miles or 18 kilometers south of the border with Peru, at the bend of South America’s western coast known as the Arica Elbow.

It got that way as the result of the Pacific War between Chile and the Peru/Bolivia; the Chileans won, and expanded their territory north and inland.

People settled at the Elbow is that this is where two lush valleys converge: the Azapa and Lluta.

FISHING BOATS IN ARICA HARBOR

Today I went with guests on a trip to see some of the geoglyphs of the Azapa valley, including La Tropilla, interpreted to be a depiction of a trading caravan from the Andes headed to the coast with a load of wool, potatoes, and charqui to trade. Charqui was salted and air dried meat…say the word a few times and you will see the origin of the English word jerky.

GEOGLYPHS OF THE AZAPA VALLEY

From there we proceeded to the Museum of San Miguel de Azapa which includes some of the finest artifacts of the ancient Chinchorro people. The mummies of the Chinchorro are believed to be the oldest in the world, as old as 8,000 years–the mummies of Egypt are about 3,000 years old.

MUSEUM OF SAN MIGUEL DE AZAPA

The grounds of the museum were beautifully landscaped. I’d welcome an identification of the flowers below:

The city of Arica includes some handsome colonial structures as well as two buildings designed by the engineering firm of Gustave Eiffel in Paris and shipped here for reconstruction. Here is the St. Mark’s Cathedral, made of iron:

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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