San Miguel de Azapa is located in the narrow Azapa Valley, which produces tropical fruit (including guava), olives and flowers. The area also is home to relics of the cultures that once populated the area. San Miguel de Azapa invites you to spend a peaceful day in a desert valley.
Located about 13 km from Arica, the town is reached via a paved road that leads past lovely scenery and the San José River. The route also passes a number of archeological sites, such as the geoglyphs area and pucará (pre-Columbian fortress) or San Lorenzo.
Other attractions include the San Miguel de Azapa Museum, which is administered by Universidad de Tarapacá and exhibits 10,000-year-old relics of the Chinchorro culture, which predated the Inca.
The town was also home of the first black slaves to arrive in Chile. Unlike the country's chilly southern region, the climate was amenable to them. When they were freed, they were granted their own land and crops. Many of their descendents still reside in San Miguel de Azapa.
You can enjoy the peace and quiet of this desert valley and its brilliant starry nights as well as annual festivities such as Carnavalón. This celebration is held in February (just before Lent) in a number of towns throughout the high plateau in honor of the Pachamama (the earth), Father Inti (the sun), and the burial of Ño Carnavalón. It is thought that symbolically burying this last figure – the king of the carnival – after surrounding him with offerings and then awaking him during the festivities ensures a prosperous year.
You'll find plenty of accommodations here and tour services that will allow you to explore the valley by bike or on horseback. Whatever your means of transportation, make sure to leave room in your bag for bottles of extra virgin olive oil and the enormous olives you'll be taking home with you. Experience everything San Miguel de Azapa and its surroundings have to offer. You won't regret it.
|Parque Nacional Lauca||Parinacota|
|Putre||San Miguel de Azapa|
|Valle de Codpa||Salar de Surire|
|Arica - Putre - Lago Chungará|