Arica, known as the “City of Eternal Spring” is located at the edge of the Atacama Desert, the driest desert on earth and is in the very northern part of Chile near Peru and Bolivia.
The Atacama border dispute between the three countries in the late 1800’s resulted in Chile acquiring all of Bolivia’s coast and the southern tip of Peru. The end of the dispute a treaty was drawn whereby Chile kept the territory and coastline it won but gave Bolivia free access to the port in Arica, explaining what seemed to be an oversized port for the size of the town. The port is so large that shuttle busses transported ship passengers to the front gate that is located in the city center.
This downtown park is directly across the street from the gate to the port. The rock is called El Morro and people walk or drive up to see the views. $5 US taxi each way.
Arica has a pedestrian shopping street that is pretty long. The far end has a city wifi zone but so far our T-Mobile has worked very well each place we have been.
There were festivities in several locations for children with dress up parades and dancing.
Newspaper and magazine stands are prominent in every downtown in S. America
We normally look in the churches of every town but this one was under renovation and we couldn’t figure out where to get in. We also didn’t try very hard.
On the other side of El Morro are beaches for swimming. We walked as far as the first one and when Steve said we had walked about 5 miles already I decided to return to the boat. I have had Plantar Fascitis in one heel since July and a day of walking means pain that night with the intensity depending on how much I walked. Five miles will be and was a killer.
Leaving Arica, the 3G signal was so strong from the antennas on top of El Morro that I was able to text with my daughter for at least an hour as the ship headed south along the coast.
Day 17 – Coquimbo
Coquimbo was another town right off the ship where no transportation was required. Normally, if we decide to take a tour through the ship, we go to the lobby the night before and book it. No planning ahead for us! There were several to choose from that interested us but I was beginning to not feel too good so we just walked off the ship for a quick look around.
Coquimbo is the port city for La Serena, one of Chile’s regional capitals. As such, Coquimbo doesn’t have much going for it other than nice views of the bay.
Singer on the town square
La Serena in the background
This pirate posed for tips and $1 was fine with him. The ship’s photographers take pictures every time we get off the boat and they want $15 for a picture.
This is the hall we passed through getting on and off the ship. Coquimbo provided free internet here and the dancers. Some employees from the tourist bureau asked us to complete a survey so they could improve their tourism structure. (Licensed, english speaking tour guides at the port could help them a lot). Norwegian charges mucho $$$$ for tours. $59 is the least expensive in the north and as we go farther south we are looking at more like $125 and up for each of us.
That evening I got the gut wrenching, twisting, agonizing stomach pain that, to me at least, signaled food poisoning.