The Azapa Valley Olive Route
USD USD USDPrice between $101-$150
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Approximately 3¼ Hours
Arica lies at the mouth of the Azapa Valley -- a green oasis in the middle of the Atacama Desert that produces all kind of tropical fruits and vegetables. Among these are the local olives that are famous for their size and flavor and are one of the major components of the agriculture industry in the Azapa Valley. The first olive trees were brought here by the Spanish Conquistadors and gave rise to one of the best-known varieties -- the Azapa olive.
Today, your first stop will be at one of the haciendas (ranches) that grow this tasty fruit. You will learn all about the irrigation systems in place, the olive harvest, and the grading of the olives before packing or pressing. Before you leave, you will have a chance to taste different varietals of olives -- see if you can tell them apart and decide which ones most please your palate.
Continue towards the San Miguel Archaeological Museum, which boasts a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and mummies. For centuries these were preserved in the desert sand; in fact, archaeologists believe they date back as far as 5000 BC, which makes them the oldest mummies in the world. The method of mummy preparation back then was quite interesting and your guide will tell you more.
Next, browse at the fruit and vegetable market -- amazingly prolific given its location in the middle of the world's driest desert.
Return to town and to your ship at the pier.