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Mountain Climbing and the Anzota Caves

AttractionsCulture & History ToursNature & Adventure ToursSightseeing ToursOff the beaten track
Anzota Caves, a place which thousands of years ago was home to one of the first South American cultures is now a popular tourist spot in Arica. Read about our visit there and other things to do in Arica, Chile.
If I should pick my favorite city in Chile, it definitely wouldn't be Arica, but if I should pick the most beautiful ocean coast, then Arica is without doubts sitting on the first spots. Just 12 km from the Arica city center is a geological wonder called Anzota Caves, the main reason we have arrived at this city in north Chile.

Brutal ocean waves crashing onto the black rocks on the coast of north Chile gave origin to a beautiful rock formation now called Cuevas de Anza. A place which 10 thousand years ago was home to the Chinchorro culture, one of the first South American culture, is now a popular tourist spot in Arica. With new coastal walk with staircases into the caves and viewpoints, Cuevas de Anzota was a destination in north Chile we couldn’t miss to see.
There is no public transport to the coastal caves Anzota Caves, but instead of going by our car, we've decided to rent a bike and make it a whole day trip. I've read some blog posts about how nice it is to bike there, so I was looking forward to the fresh air, beautiful views and an easy ride. Well, as someone might have already told you, don't believe travel bloggers :-D The author of the guide I read probably never biked that way himself, or he just forgot to mention, that the first few kilometers of the road are passing fish companies, meaning smell of fish and bird shit and lots of heavy traffic. In combination with the strong wind, it was almost an hour-long suffering…

At the end of the biking suffering though, there was a path through the coastal caves waiting for you, so definitely a great reward! There was also a parking place and a gurad, so we have parked our bikes and continued on foot. In 2016, the municipality has built a beautiful coastal walk passing these caves, with info boards where you can read a bit about the history and origin of this place. Besides history, they also make up stories about the rocks, for example, the one bellow should reminiscent the head of the pterosaur, maybe because caves were created in the Jurassic times.
The coastal walk is really nice and undemanding with only a few kilometers of almost narrow nice terrain. It passes several viewpoints, tunnels and also one huge cave with an amazing view out at the ocean. These caves were also home to Chinchorro people, fishermen culture who used them as shelters and are famous as one of the first cultures, which used mummification for burying their deaths - some mummies can be also seen in a small museum nearby Arica (mummy museum in Azapa)

The whole coastal walk took us only half an hour to finish, but at the end of the pavement, there was a little path continuing on the sand. Obviously, after all the suffering on the bike, we were not gonna turn around to go home, so instead, we've continued on the path until we've reached a small hidden beach. There we could see some sea animals, birds and even sea lions on the small rocky islands nearby the coast. A perfect spot to have a snack and do some wildlife watching. In the summer, it might be also a nice place to go for a swim in the Pacific Ocean


Anzota Caves, Av. Cmdte. San Martín 2140, Arica

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