Arica is a port city in northern Chile with some nice beaches and great surf breaks. It has a mild climate with some of the lowest levels of rainfall anywhere in the world. The coastal area around Arica is home to a population of sea lions and pelicans. Although you don’t have to go far to see them. Even in the middle of this bustling city, you can find sea lions lazing about on the docks enjoying the sun. The city is also a convenient point to access Parque Nacional Lauca and the Azapa Valley which is home to some of the world’s oldest-known mummies.
Average rating: 4.0 (very good)
Average cost: free!
Best time to visit: anytime! You can see the sea lions year-round and the climate is pretty much always warm and sunny.
How to get there: Arica is a large city that is well connected to the wider region. You can get there by plane, train, bus or car. For a good guide check out this page.
Typical activities: animal watching, bike riding, surfing, walking
Number of reports: 1
Wildlife in Arica
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
Sea lion – 100% of WildSide Users (1/1) reported sightings
South American sea lions can be found at the fish market in the port of Arica basking in the sun and playfully begging for fish. They can be seen year-round at no cost and are easily viewable from the port. It is an unexpected thrill to be so close to such a large wild animal right in the centre of an otherwise busy, industrial area. There are several tour operators that leave from the fishing jetty which offer short (~40 minutes) cruises around the bay. Around 9 km south of town is a free to access beach called Playa Corazones which is also home to a sea lion colony. The beach can be accessed via taxi or by bike.
Photo credit: WildSide team member Chris White