Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, Arica was the main port for sending Bolivian silver back to Spain. In 1868, a massive earthquake leveled nearly the entire city, but it was rebuilt, and thanks to its strategic position, still serves as a free port for Bolivia and major transportation and trade hub. Along with being one of the cheapest cities in Chile, the main draw here is its nearly endless sunshine and long, sandy beaches. History and culture lovers will want to make time to visit the neoclassical San Marcos Cathedral - it was built by the Eiffel company, and along with a colorful, asymmetric facade, has some beautiful stained glass windows. The other main landmark is “El Morro”, a 130-meter-tall outcrop that dominates the city skyline. Visitors who take the short hike to the top are rewarded with stunning panoramic views, and a small but interesting Weapons Museum.
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