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Isla del Alacrán - Beach Arica - Chile

Isla de Alacrán, or Scorpion Island, was important to the peoples of the Arica area. Before the conquistadors came, indigenous nations knew it to be excellent fishing and guano. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Spanish maintained a fort on it, to protect royal storehouse overflowing with Potosí silver and the port from pirate attacks. Destroyed by the 1868 tsunami, its ruins can be explored. In 1964 the isle officially became ex-Isla del Alacrán when a causeway connected it with the mainland, causing a decrease in birds using it for resting and nesting grounds. Despite their exodus, Alacrán remains a good place to observe birds, as well as tidal pools. It is also one of Chile’s most popular places to surf with the challenging El Gringo and El Buey waves, drawing competitors from around the world every August.

Arica, Chile

Beach Types:
Beach, Surfing, Fauna observation

Getting There
Walk five minutes south on Avenida Comandante San Martín to the causeway that leads out to the island.

Travel Tips: At the west end of the island is Café El Gringo which, besides renting boards, also serves snacks and drinks.


It is best to go during daylight hours, for safety considerations.


Isla del Alacrán is considered to be only for surfing and bodyboarding experts.


Price Description: Free

Relative price: Free

Travel Skills: None

You Need to Bring: If surfing, you will need a wetsuit.

Visit the several museums of Arica; journey through Valle de Azapa and Valle de Lluta; practice surfing, bodyboarding, paragliding or other adventure sport; hang out at the beaches; take a launch tour of the bay; go birdwatching.

Currencies accepted
Chilean Peso

Here are other activities in and around Arica that may be of interest: Northern Beaches and the Desembocadura de Lluta and Southern Beaches.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

08 Nov 2008

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