The Big North is a vast stretch of land where the dryness and barrenness of the Atacama Desert is broken by the fertility and lushness of its valleys and oasis (such as Azapa Valley and Pica Oasis). The setting is enriched with biological diversity, mostly protected within the confines of both Lauca and Isluga National Parks and the Surire Salt Flat.
Located in the mouth of Azapa Valley, a true oasis in the desert, Arica is the main port in the North of Chile. With idyllic beaches -with great waves for surfing- and a privileged weather, Arica is known as "the city of the eternal spring", being a sought after destination for tourists and business people.
The cuisine in the North of Chile is characterized by a variety of legumes and cereals, due to the arid climate. Within the most common ingredients are quinoa, a staple in the Inca culture, also is the potato, carrot and various tropical fruits like mango, passion fruit and guava.
Among typical dishes are roast alpaca cooked on firewood, chuño which is a soup-based Popes alpaca, onion, wheat and other vegetables. Also you can find al types of seafood and fishes to make differents dishes.
Further to the North, a typical sweet is the chumbeque this fact of flour, lard and layers of Orange, mango, passion fruit jams. There are also the pululos, which are a kind of very common puffed rice in the north end.
Since this traveling destinations is a coastal zone, the weather is desertic and very dry. There aren’t any extremes temperatures in the coastal area during the day or night. The average annual temperature is 18 ° C.
Many of the excursions and tours that are done here take you to visit places that are in the Chilean plateau, 3,500 above sea levels. This means that people may experience altitude sickness. It is important that people drink lots of water so they keep their body well hydrated. People shouldn’t make sudden or harsh movements, and let their body get used to the heights and the altitude.
Stores in rural areas are open all day, but they close between 13.00 and 15.00. We advise you to carry local currency (Chilean pesos), since it isn’t possible to pay with debit or credit cards in kiosks and rural stores.
Do not throw garbage on the beaches, parks or streets. To take care of our environment is everyone's responsibility. Avoid fines by following the rules.
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