Welcome to Chile, and Arica. This is right on the border, and you must pass through. It’s also the place to come if you’re in Arequipa, and need to do a visa run. If you spend a few nights, there is a pleasant enough downtown area, with colorful cafes and restaurants (pictured above). If you are coming from Peru, and headed to Atacama next, there is a good night bus from here, offered by Turbus. If you are headed to the Santiago vicinity next, I think Iquique, about 6 hours south, is actually a better spot to hang for a few days. At any rate, if you spend a little time in Arica, I’ve got you covered with a few cafes here.
If you are coming from Peru, get ready for some serious price shock, especially on taxis and eating out. Say goodbye to those huge almuerzos for 3 bucks. On the bright side, almost all movies are shown in English, drivers let you cross the street, and don’t even get me started about the Chilenos and their fiestas!
Now, to those cafes…
It is kind of tough going for nomad cafes in Arica. So this leads to various sundry establishments that can kinda sorta work. Ribus here has everything you need, but I got the impression that catering to digital nomads might not really be their thing, despite having a very large space. There’s a large back room, a front room, and some outdoor seating. There’s a couple of tables in the hallway as well, and outlets by those tables. Wifi is only strong in the front area. Hours are from 8:30am to 9:30pm every day except Sunday.
Now I’m not one to be sending people to shopping centers and malls. However, there’s a bit of a situation in Arica on Sundays. Cafe 890 here is open all day and night, and has everything needed, plus some serious cakes, if you’re up for a slice. They are in the shopping center that has the Hipermercado Jumbo supermarket. The cafe is not showing up on maps at the time of this writing. So just look up and get to the supermarket, and the cafe is one of the storefronts on the bottom level, facing the parking lot. I’m not sure what the hours are, but they are definitely open in the afternoon, and go to at least 10pm. A warning though. It’s a popular place and starts packing out around 5. I wouldn’t stay if it’s packed.
There’s a few other possible cafes on the pedestrian thoroughfare, where Ribus was. The best looking of them, I thought, was Arte Cafe – but it doesn’t have wifi. Two other possibilities are Greenfast and Teatime, if you want to check them out.
Enjoy your stay in Arica!