Location: South of Perú.
Area: 16 076 km2.
Capital: Tacna (562 masl)
Altitude: Minimum: 318 masl (Ite)
Maximum: 3415 masl (Candarave)
This city is the bastion of the essence of all things Peruvian. The frontier city of Tacna, the business hub of the southern tip of Peru and an interesting stopover. Its monuments, such as the arch of the Alto de la Alianza, reflect the important role this balmy city has played in Peruvian history. President La Mar declared Tacna the Heroic City in 1828, shortly after Peru achieved its independence from Spain. A century later, the city's inhabitants set an example for the rest of the country in their patriotism and courage: at the end of the War of the Pacific in 1879, which pitted Peru against Chile, the townspeople of Tacna decided in a plebiscite to form part of Peru once more, after having been annexed by Chile. This symbolic act helped Peru not only to recover a strategic location, but also to give hope to a nation that was rebuilding itself after the war.
Today, with its troubles in the past, Tacna has become a bustling metropolis, a free trade zone and a transit area to Chile, as well as Peru's second-ranked port of entry. Its attractions include a splendid neo-Renaissance Cathedral, the Municipal Theater, which dates back to the nineteenth century, the Alameda Bolognesi walkway, the monument and museum of the Alto de la Alianza, commemorating the key battle for Independence, and the caves of Toquepala, where archaeologists have found some of the oldest human remains in Peru.
No visitor should miss the festival of the Señor de Locumba, which is celebrated every September, and which every year draws thousands of faithful from both Peru and abroad. Its seething commercial activities, the people, their history -these and other attractions make Tacna a particularly interesting spot on the Peruvian tourist circuit.