Museo Arqueológico San Miguel de Azapa

Norte Grande

This museum, 12km east of Arica, is home to some of the world's oldest-known mummies. There are superb local archaeological and cultural-heritage displays and a handy audio guide in English. Colectivos (CH$1200) at the corner of Chacabuco and Patricio Lynch provide transportation.

Set in a lush garden dotted with tall palm trees, the museum has two sections. The original exhibition hall displays a large assemblage of exhibits from 7000 BC right up to the Spanish invasion, from dioramas, baskets and masks to pottery, pan flutes and an enormous 18th-century olive press. Well-written booklets in several languages are available to carry around this section. Past the outdoor 'petroglyph park' is the new hall in a modern concrete building backed by mountains and olive groves. Inside is a swank permanent exhibit dedicated to Chinchorro mummies, with display cases featuring tools, clothing and adornments used in the process, as well as infant mummies, a few skulls and life-size figures of Chinchorro peoples.