The day bring us through the several attractions of this northern Region of Chile, enhanced by the explanations of a local expert. We start visiting the Fishing pier, where the local fishers arrive every morning with the catch of the day, part of it to be sold in the small local market located inside the pier area. Pelicans and sea lions are the main guests here, waiting to be fed with the left over by the local workers.
The days continues with the main square and the San Marcos Cathedral, built in the workshops of Gustave Eiffel in France, transported by ship and then set up in 1875 in his current location in Arica. In 2004, while a hotel was being built in the middle of the city, a cemetery with 48 mummies from the Chinchorro Culture was found. Due to the discovery, the University of Tarapacá bought the land and inaugurated the museum Colon in 2009. It is possible to observe the mummies next to other objects in the same place where they were found.
Next, a short drive bring us to Corazones beach and the Anzota caves, today an archaeological site, inhabited in pre-Columbian times by the Chinchorro Culture, from 6000 B.C. until 2000 B.C. The caves are a natural geological formation dating from the Jurassic period, and mummies have been constantly found in the excavations of the place, it is a must if you want to know more about the amazing history of the region. Next we drive to El Morro de Arica, an amazing cliff over the ocean where we will get the best view of the surroundings, not to mention its historical role in the Pacific war.
The trip continues driving towards east and reaching Azapa Valley, an amazing fertile area, famous for producing tropical fruits and for its archaeological development with more than 10,000 years of history, that we will discover with the help of our guide. This part of the day is reserved to The Route of the pre-Columbian geoglyphs, although the guide will have pointed out some of them during the morning. Probably the most impressive of them are the site called “La Tropilla”, beautiful set of camelids headed by two «Shamanic» characters, which could symbolize the spirits that guide the troops to the coast.
We will also visit “Cerro Sagrado”, a heterogeneous set of anthropomorphic figures associated with animals that would be linked to a village of highland Inca settlers, in relation to rites of agricultural / livestock activity. Lunch time will find us in the heart of the Azapa Valley, at the Restaurant “Picá del Muertito” is a must in this tour and will allow us to rest and taste the local gastronomy before our day of discovery resume.
After lunch, an olive taste will be offered at El Gallo, a small organic farm located on the way to the museum, where we will have time to enjoy the presence of two kinds of hummingbird: Picaflor Andino and Picaflor Decora. The main village is San Miguel de Azapa, where we will visit the Archaeological and Anthropological Museum, that hosts the oldest mummies in the world, the Chinchorro mummies. Some of them goes back as far as 7000 year. We will discover the quite particular mummification techniques developed by the Chinchorro people in their different stages.