Arica is a commune and port city with a population of around 210,000 (2012 estimate) located in Arica Province, Arica y Parinacota Region in northern Chile. It is the northernmost city in Chile, situated only 18 km (11 miles) south of the border with Peru. The total city area of Arica is 4799 km2 (1853 mi2).
Arica is the capital of both Arica Province and the Arica and Parinacota Region. It lies at the end of the western coast of South America, known as Arica Bend (Arica Elbow). At the city's location, two lush valleys dissect the Atacama Desert converge: Lluta and Azapa. These valleys provide fruit for export.
The city of Arica is an important port for a vast inland region of South America. Arica serves a free port for Bolivia. It also manages a substantial part of the country's trade and is the end station of the Bolivian oil pipeline starting in Oruro. The strategic position of the city is enhanced by being next to Pan-American Highway, connected to both La Paz in Bolivia and Tacna in Peru by railroad and being served by an international airport.
Arica is known as Chile's "city of the eternal spring" due to its mild weather. Its beaches are mostly frequented by Bolivians. During Spanish colonial rule Arica was already a major port already. Following the War of the Pacific, in 1880 Chile seized it from Peru and was recognized as Chilean in 1929. A significant part of African Chileans live in or trace origins to Arica.