History of Tacna
The first Hispanic settlements in Tacna date from 1572. In the pre-Columbian period, the territory was inhabited by different indigenous communities as the uros, lupacas and camanchacos, until the arrival of the inca Túpac Yupanqui, who conquered Tacna, adding the territory to the Incan Empire. During the colonial period there were indigenous uprisings that would cause the reduction of the population by the Spanish soldiers hands. After the independence in 1821, Tacna would be recognized as the “heroic city” for the role of the city and the locals in the achievement of the Peru’s independence. Inside the history, rich of historical events, Tacna passed from being a Peruvian city to taking part of the Chilean territory, as direct result of the Pacific War (war between Peru and Chile); at this war, part of Tacna had to be given. However, in 1929 Tacna joins again Peru, after more than 50 years being in possession of Chile. In Tacna took place the most important events of the 20th century as the “Tacnazo”, coup d’état where the military government of the president Juan Velasco Alvarado was overthrown.
-Take with you a windbreak coat and sun cream, given that besides having a nice and warm climate, the winds are frozen and the sun can harm your skin.
-To taste the best marine food in Tacna, we recommend you the beach Boca del Río, where you can also lodge, with lots of comfort and in the outskirts of the beach-city. If you want to go, make your booking in advance!
-The electric current type used in Tacna is 220 v. and 60 Hz. Don’t you forget your adaptor!
How to get around in Tacna?
In Tacna you can get around in “colectivo” (a shared tax)i, by taxi or by foot. The colectivos are always the cheapest motorized transportation. But if you go on a group, the taxi will be low-cost and safer, specially if it’s night. If on the way you have any doubt, you can always check the map and ask the tourism police or the locals, who are very nice and will help you to find your way.
Risks and cautions
If you wish to enjoy your stay in Tacna to visit Chile, consider that there is an allowed term. If you travel with children, take always with you the notarial permit, which must have specific details (don’t you forget neither the birth certificate). You shouldn’t forget that there is a limit on the value of your purchases (in Tacna there is trafficking). If you go over this value, you must declare it to the Peruvian authorities. The different towns have different climates, from semi-warm and humid to semi-arid, temperate and dry.
The city of Tacna is located on the border with Chile, and is very commercial and bustling. Trade with northern Chile and import/export with Japan and China have led to tremendous development in this economy of "duty free" city. Tacna, actually center of the southern business, was home to ancient pre-Hispanic civilizations like the Wari and Tiahuanaco cultures.
Getting to Tacna
Plaza de Armas (main square)
Location: Downtown Tacna
If you look at a 100 soles bill you'll see the magnificent main square which shows distinguished statues of people of the military history of Peru: the Admiral Miguel Grau and Colonel Francisco Bolognesi, heros on the Pacific War.
Location: In the train station (by the southern entrance)
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: 5 soles
Take a trip thought the past, through locomotives and old carriages from middle 19th century. If you like trains we recommend you walking 15 minutes towards the southern part of the station to see a British locomotive from 1859.
Museo de Zela
Location: 542, Zela
Hours: Monday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: Free entrance
An old colonial housewhich was the residence of Francisco Antonio de Zela y Arizaga, dignitary of the independence. Inside the museum you can find an exhibition of paintings from the 19th century and archaeological objects.
Beach Boca del Río
Location: at 32 mi (52 km) to the south-east of the city
It’s a beach of not so deep waters, characterized by the beauty and modernity. The environment is clean and surrounded of nature, where you will relax breathing fresh air, looking at the unique twilights of the landscape and fishing in a handmade way.This place is a jewel in the dessert territory of Tacna, don’t you leave without visiting it!
Petroglyphs of Miculla
Location: Pachía district, at 14 mi (22 km) from Tacna
Price: 1-3 soles
In those petroglyphs that date from 500 a.C. you can see drawings in red paint that represent the customs, cosmogony and the environment of the region inhabitants centuries ago.
Thermal fountains of Calientes
Location: at 14 mi (22 km) from the city, in Pachía district
Hours: from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: 3 to 9 soles
Those thermal baths are nourished by the underground waters which have a temperature of nearly 104 °F (40°C). The minerals of the waters make those thermal baths ideal for the arhrosis treatment and other pains of the nervous system. To access to private pools is necessary to pay the triple of the cost of the standard price.
You should visit the Cathedral of Tacna, the Paseo Cívico, the municipal theatre, the Complejo Monumental del Campo de la Alianza, with its interesting Museo de Sitio.
Don’t you forget that at 90 minutes from Tacna are located the Pinturas Rupestres (cave paintings) of Toquepala, which date from 7600 B.C.
Relax with the high offer of thermal baths that Tacna has for its visitors. The most visited are: Calientes-Pachía, Chillikolpa, Ticalco, Calachaca and Yabroko.
If you enjoy the pacific view of endemic birds, at the Humedales de Ite you will find the paradise of birdwatching, with more than 150 species of birds. This coastal and swampy area is one of the largest in Peru, and it’s home of water wild birds and migratory birds.
Andean routes and nature:
The circuit Tarata-Candarave has varied attractions as the incan trail Tarata - Tikako, with archaeological sites and beautiful landscapes that are seen from the Apacheta viewpoint and the waterfalls of Konchachiri. Don’t you miss the Circuito Valle Viejo - Locumba, with its Archaeological complex and the Festival Señor de Locumba.
In Tacna you can go over amazing beaches, starting for Llostay, going to Tomoyo Beach and ending in Punta Mesa. On the beaches you won’t only enjoy the weather and swim in a clean sea, but also you can do handmade fishing with the local fishermen.
If you like meat and filling plates, you’ll be fascinated with Tacna food.
Choclo con queso
A tender steamed corn topped with fresh cheese.
Picante a la tacneña
A savory stew made of insides of cow, cow’s paws, “charqui” (salty meat), onions and oregano, tastefull and filling.
A dessert that is prepared in different places of Peru, made of sweet corn dough, not so dried, sugar, peanuts and raisins.
Chicharrón de chancho con maíz tostado
Pork meat gold coloured and well fried, served with toasted corn. One of the mountain provinces food delights.
Pan-fried guinea pig, seasoned with spices and served with potato and cream made of chili pepper and ground peanut.
Adobo de chancho
A dish with pork, ground garlic, vinegar and salt, seasoned with “palillo”, a spice very used on the Peruvian south.
Taste the Tacna sour made with the best Peruvian pisco and the extracts of blackberry and plum.
Location: 57, Vigil
Hours: Monday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: Lunch menu for 7.50 soles
This is a classical caffe, where the dinners come since 50 years ago; you won’t only have the best desserts, but also you will have lunch or dinner on the best atmosphere.
La Mama Mia
Location: 204, Av. Arias Aragüez
Hours: Monday-Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Price: 10-18 soles
It’s one of the crowdest restaurants due to the low prices, the quality of the food and the attention level they offer. With no doubt the best pastas are here, but you can also taste a variety of dishes on the menu.
Location: 1327, Av. Antonio de Zela
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: 16-25 soles
An open-air restaurant where you can eat a large variety of plates typical of Tacna, prepared on the traditional way. You will also find live music shows on the evening. The place is ideal for a typical, quiet and pleasant lunch.
El Cacique - Picantería
Location: 1903, Alto de Lima street
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Price: an average of 50 soles
The emblematic plate of this restaurant is “picante a la tacneña” (based on cow’s stomach and paw); the plate has creole flavor, but with the touch and the Tacna seasoning. This restaurant offers nice attention to the dinners, who can enjoy live shows and the tastefull plates from Tacna, prepared in a traditional way, in mud pot. But there isn’t only the typical food in the restaurant, since the chefs are specialists in creating unique combinations that you won’t find in any place.
Location: 40, Av. Circunvalación Sur
Price: 20 soles with shared bathroom
Next to the station, it's appealing and above all safe.
Loction: 370, Avenida Arias Aragüez
Price: from 90 soles with breakfast included
The rooms are comfortable on the best atmosphere. The hotel has the services of wi-fi, laundry, menu, room service, internet boxes, minibar, among others that will make your stay very agreeable and safe. The place is located close to the Tacna nightclubs, what can be great if you want to go out at night.
Hotel Camino Real
Location: 855, San Martín
Price: 100 soles and up, breakfast included
The Hotel Camino Real is located in one of the most central avenues of Tacna. It stands out for the staff attention, since they are always ready to satisfy the guests with their nice treatment. The hotel infrastructure is retro, because it remembers the 70 and 80 decades. The rooms are large and tidy. There is a smart restaurant on the last floor and a bar with an assorted drinks menu; you must taste the Tacna sour!
Anniversary of the Alto de la Alianza Battle
This day the Tacna locals pay tribute to the braves dead in the Tacna battle (in 1880, during the Pacific War).They make parades and civic ceremonies on the area of the historic complex and monumental Alto de la Alianza. Interesting to know part of this heroic city’s history.
Winter Solstice - Night of Saint John and the Caravan to the Old Valley.
(June 23rd and 24th)
Celebrated in Spain with beach bonfires, in Tacna the festival became a millenary ritual in which a payment is made to the "pachamama" (Mother Earth), alongside artistic and cultural representations, around bonfires that illuminate the night cultivation of Tacna. A must see!
Anniversary of the reincorporation of Tacna to Peru
This celebration starts August 27th and last one week (is known as the Tacna Easter). It’s considered the most important festival of the city, since it commemorates the reincorporation of Tacna to the Peruvian territory, after being in possession of Chile for more than 50 years. Those days the Tacna patriotism goes out to dress the streets of party colourswith the Procession of the Flag (Procesión de la Bandera), which starts on the Plaza de la Mujer Tacneña to the Paseo Cívico.
(August 24th -31st)
The International Fair of Tacna (FITAC) is held in the Recinto Ferial Parque Peru, in about 20 hectares. Products presented include handicrafts, industrial, commercial and institutional producs, livestock and gastronomy, as part of the activities on the Tacna’s Easter.
To have a drink
Location: 142, Arias Aragüez
It’s a bar characterized for its handmade beer quality, although they have a varied drinks menu. The attention is very pleasant and attentive and the atmosphere is very welcoming, with good rock music, among others. The touch of lemon verbena of the beer will be refreshing to you and gives a unique touch. A good place to start the party nights and having a nice evening with friends.
We recommend the pedestrian streets of Libertad and Vigil, which are the heart of nightlife in Tacna. We leave you a short list of the most visited nightclubs by locals and visitors.
Location: 1407, Avenida Leguía
Discoteca Perla Negra
Location: 153, Avda. Jorge Basadre Grohmann
Location: 515, calle Zela
Location: 841, Avenida San Martín
There are many cities from where you can take a bus to Tacna: Chincha, Ica, Ilo, Moquegua, Nazca, Camaná and Lima.
From Lima to Tacna there are 767 mi (1235 km) and the travel takes about 20 hours on the highway. The terrestrial transportation companies that cover the route are Oltursa, Excluciva, Tepsa and Civa, with bus tickets that cost between 57 and 140 soles, depending on the service chosen. The buses leave on the schedule from 10:30 a.m. to 7:40 p.m.