This valley, whose name means “soft Earth” in Aymara, is an authentic oasis in the middle of the arid Atacama desert. In its 60 kilometers of extension, this historical and fertile valley located in the north of Chile, in the Region of Arica and Parinacota.
This valley is known for its incredible landscapes, prehispanic populations, plantations of vegetable products, tropical fruits and archaeological development with more than 10,000 years of history.
The Azapa Valley is only 7 km from Arica, a city that has daily flights to and from Santiago. There are multiple alternatives to access and tour the valley: private vehicle, bus lines, taxi, bicycle and even horseback riding.
Technically it is possible to travel the valley by bicycle. However, it should be borne in mind that there are no bike paths along route A-27 (high traffic route), and that it has a moderate slope that can make the crossing difficult.
Valle de Azapa is an exceptional place, combining beautiful landscapes with archaeological and spiritual attractions, as well as being an excellent destination for those who like gastronomic routes. This fertile valley is famous for its production of guava, olives, mango, banana, as well as unusual papaya plantations.
Many of the people who visit this place spend the day visiting the parcels with plantations where these products are offered. True days of countryside in the middle of the desert.
For lovers of history and culture, the attractions are innumerable. Geoglyphs along the valley, pre-Hispanic populations and one of the best museums in the country where you can see the oldest mummies in the world (3 thousand years older than the Egyptian mummies).
The museum of this place stands out as one of the main archaeological attractions of the region and the country, where you can see the oldest mummies in the world. It is a modern museum where 10 thousand year old remains belonging to the chinchorro culture are exhibited, which was developed before the arrival of the Incas. Everything exhibited in the museum is original, there is no reply. Outside the museum you can see thirteen petroglyphs that represent indigenous art between 800 and 1200 years, while in the interior there is a chronological sample that ranges from the period of fishermen and hunters before the period of the mummies of Chinchorro to the shepherds aymaras, communities that today inhabit the north of Chile and that are the direct heirs of the ancient Andean civilizations of the region.
The Valle de Azapa is an area full of ancient geoglyphs located on the slopes of the hills, some of which date back at least 600 years. These were made by accumulating dark stones on the lighter background of the hill, and they present great human figures, llamas, snakes and lizards visible at a great distance. The geoglyphs of Atoka and Azapa stand out. The first are located east of Cerro Sombrero, 7 km from Arica, and represent a caravan of llamas with their guide, and preceded by two characters in a dancing pose, scenes linked to caravan traffic.
The geoglyphs of Azapa are located on the slope of Cerro Sagrado, 4 km from the geoglyphs of Atoka. It presents human figures, of llamas and lizards. It is estimated that five hundred years ago, Cerro Sagrado must have been an important point of adoration for the villagers of the place and for the caravanners who made this route.
Without a doubt, a route full of history, combined with a natural and scenic beauty!