In Photos: Reasons to Love Northern Chile

IF YOU’RE BACKPACKING through South America, you’ll likely pass through Northern Chile—after all, the northernmost city, Arica, marks the only route to Peru. But it would be a mistake to truck through without spending at least a few days—the region’s colourful architecture, perpetually cool beaches and proximity to little-seen desert parks makes it a totally unique experience, combining the luxury of Chilean South American with the rusticity of indie travel.

lauca national park

Into the wild: Alpacas roam freely in a farm near Lake Chungará.

I jotted up seven reasons to visit Northern Chile for, including the region’s national beauty, excellent food and coffee, tranquil beaches and wild flamingos. Here are some snapshots from the region to whet your appetite.

desert views

The view of small-town Putre from the mountains.

beautiful architecture

Climb Arica’s El Morro for panoramic views of the city.

chilean coffee

If you like coffee and bread, you’ll like Chile.

historical downtown

There be nightlife here: Though Arica is a small Chilean city, there’s no shortage of concerts through its colonial downtown.

off the beaten path

Visit Putre and you can play foosball on this broken table in the middle of the village plaza. Bring your own ball.

colonial city

A lot of Chile is beach.

south american travel

Fresh fruit, good prices.

things to do in arica chile

Arica is a colourful city.

chilean pisco sours

This is what you’re visiting Chile for anyway, right?

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