- Valle de Camarones, Arica, Arica y Parinacota
Shrimp Valley is Best For
Directions to Shrimp Valley
AboutAt the northern end of our country, in the Arica and Parinacota region, we find the Camarones (Shrimp) Valley. This destination stands out for its rich culture that we find in all its celebrations of festivals and carnivals, interesting valleys and villages and several archaeological sites that are interesting to know.
Shrimp is attractive for its geography. This area that is part of Arica extends from west to east, bordering the Pacific Ocean and the commune of Putre. This difference in climates provides privileged soils for agriculture, especially the cultivation of grapes, citrus fruits and exotic fruits such as guavas and prickly pears. To the east the geography changes and we find the high plateau, reaching heights above 4200 meters of altitude.
From the coastal area you can start by visiting the Shrimp Cove, 105 kilometers from the city of Arica. Here you can go into the sea in fishing boats to learn some techniques of artisanal fishing and then taste the rich marine cuisine prepared together with other tourists and the same inhabitants of the cove. We recommend you not to miss a fresh ceviche and chinchorral, a preparation of seafood cooked on the disk.
In the Shrimp Cove there is also an Interpretation Museum where you will find replicas of mummies and pieces belonging to funeral ceremonies, vestiges of the ancient Chinchorro culture. This ancient civilization covered a territory from Peru to Antofagasta along the Pacific coast of the desert and stands out for being considered the first in the world to mummify its dead. This is why in the area we find replicas of their mummies and a sculpture of more than 4 meters at the edge of a cliff.
Another interesting archeological site corresponds to the petroglyphs of Taltape and Huancare, which are located approximately 100 kilometers south of Arica and are a sample of the rock art of ancient villages that inhabited the area. In Taltape we can find vestiges of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures very well preserved, and even in its surroundings you can find “colcas”, or buildings where food was stored.
At 120 kilometers from Arica, within the same Valley, we can know the town of Codpa, which is characterized by its fertile soils and beautiful landscapes crossed by the crystalline waters of the Vitor river. It is famous for its tropical fruit crops such as guava and for producing a special type of wine called pintatani, with an intense and sweet taste.
In Codpa you will find architecture that dates from the time of the Colony, such as the Church of San Martín de Tours, built in 1668 and that has a beautiful carved stone portal. Here is the religious festival of San Martín on November 9, with a party that demonstrates the syncretism between the Catholic faith and Aymara ceremonies, with processions and bronze bands.
Other petroglyphs are located 7 kilometers from Codpa, those of Ofragia, which correspond to more than 400 rock engravings with a marked influence of the Incas. These plates are located on the White Hill and have different sizes, being a sample of the ancient rites and cultures of the area, which leave records for 2000 years before Christ.
At 80 kilometers from Arica, there are other geoglyphs, those of Chiza, with large zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures on the Cuesta de Chiza using black rocks to form them. It is thought that they were used as part of ceremonies and also as indications of routes. These geoglyphs can be seen from the road as an impressive testimony of the inhabitants of the place between the 5th and 6th centuries.
Also 80 kilometers away is the Quebrada de Camarones, a long drawer 850 meters wide with a dry bottom that serves as an ecosystem to the typical flora of the Pampas of the Tamarugal, such as cardón, cachiyuyo, quisco and candelabras.
The Camarones Valley ends in the town of Parcohaylla, at more than 4200 meters of altitude. To get here you must continue to the top of the Codpa Valley and travel unpaved roads, some with no more indications than “huddles” or apacheta - that is, mounds of stones that are left as offerings to the pachamama. This road is interesting as it enters us directly on the Altiplano and can be an alternative route to the Salar de Surire.
To get to the Camarones Valley from Arica, you must take the Pan-American Highway 166 kilometers south and then go west or east. Remember to hydrate yourself very well because of the dry weather and wear light clothes during the day and more warm at night, due to the climatic variations of the desert environment.