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Pica appears to be a mirage in the distance at first glance. Then it slowly reveals itself as an oasis of lush, fresh fruit groves. Most famous are the limes grown here, since they are used to concoct the nation’s favorite drink -  pisco sour. The most popular recreational activity among locals in Pica is arguably slowly sipping a freshly squeezed juice in the Plaza de Armas.

A highlight for visitors is the impressive hot-springs pool at Cocha Resbaladero ($2, Monday - Sunday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.), which is about a 2km walk north of town. Soak in the lagoon-like pool cut from rock holds the water that is said to have magical healing powers. Also worth a look is the 19th-century Iglesia de San Andrés located at the Plaza de Armas.


Hotel Los Emilios is a favorite place to stay among tourists. There are only seven rooms with no air conditioning nor telephone but this bed and breakfast makes guests feel like a native. Breakfast is included, and there is an on-site pool, restaurant and laundry service. Credit cards are not accepted. $20, Lord Cochrane 213, Tel: 57-741126.

Camping Miraflores (Tel: 57-741338) has campsites located near the corner of Calle Miraflores for approximately $2 per site.

There is not an extensive array of food options in Pica, but near the town center is the restaurant Mía Pappa (Balmaceda 118) which has a nice patio shaded by citrus trees. Los Naranjos (Barboza 200, Tel: 57-741318) is a favorite among locals for its cheap prices and traditional dishes which feature meat or fish as staples.

Pica has a small office of tourism in the Municipalidad on the main square (Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-7 p.m.). There are a few international calling centers and a post office on the main street of Av. O’Higgins.

The town is served by buses, as well as tours, from Iquique. La Tirana is approximately 40km from Pica.


Tel: 57, Pop: 1,700


Other places nearby Pica: Putre, San Pedro de Atacama, Pisagua, Taltal, Tocopilla, Antofagasta, Iquique, Toconao, Arica and Mamiña.

By Chris Hughes
Traveling South America to give Viva readers the most up-to-date information...
23 Apr 2009

Things to do in Pica

La Tirana

In another pampas oasis is La Tirana. This small village is most well-known for its Feast of the Virgen del Carmen, one of the most important in Chile. Every year, over 80,000 faithful come July ...
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Pica, Chile
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