We love Arica – a lot. Which is why we made sure to spend a couple of days there during our 2,500 mile slog up the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru. For a second time, we parked at Sunny Days Hostal, where you see me below (on the roof!) enjoying a cold, crisp glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
Adam and I rented surf boards for a few days and hit the waves. I also kept to my yoga routine because days upon days on buses tend to turn your spine crooked and make you stiff all over the place.
During one of our surf sessions, YoYo told us about a surf competition at El Gringo, a stretch of beach just outside of town. So when the day of the competition rolled around, we made our way to the bleachers. Here’s me on the way out.
We were pleased to find that a wide pedestrian walkway that led us from downtown Arica to El Gringo. There are also a separate bike path, benches, and shady awnings. To one side rose the cliff of El Morro, which is very impressive when close up. To the other side is a protected harbor which, to our delight, was full of seals. They rolled, and dived, and looked very content!
This is the walk out from El Morro to El Gringo.
I had never been to a surf competition, so I was really excited to see some professionals tear it up.
El Gringo is a beautiful, tubular wave which crashes, inconveniently enough, on a rocky bank. Half of the excitement was watching these guys get in and out of the treacherous waters!
By all accounts from the locals, El Gringo was small that day. But it looked big to me!
I was pretty impressed with the photographers, who got uncomfortably close to the breakers!
It was a lot of fun watching these guys disappear into the tube while spectators rose to their feet to see who would emerge again. Most of the time, nobody did. The wave closed over them and they disappeared under turbulent white water. But when they popped out the other side, they did so to thunderous applause!
Arica is one of our favorite places on the trip so far. Call us crazy, but we might just stop in here again on our way back south this spring (that’s fall for you northern hemisphere folk). If we do, I’ll be sure to let you know!