Valle del Elqui

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Introduction

Known worldwide for its clear sky, abundant vegetation and healing energies, Valle del Elqui (Elqui valley) is the ideal place to escape the jungle of concrete with its frenetic rhythm of life. This valley, which is accompanied by the Elqui river for 140 km, has a lot of virtues that make it an ideal destination for backpackers. A perfect combination of beautiful landscapes, mysticism and fun, which will undoubtedly amaze you. A must-visit.

Map

Access

You can take a bus to Vicuña from the city of La Serena bus terminal or in Abasto square. The price of the bus ticket is CLP 5.000.

The Valley

The route presented here was planned to cover several places of note in the valley, starting from the town of Vicuña and heading deeper into the valley to the east. You can enjoy a whole week travelling through the valley, its towns and trails. It is possible to do it by car, bicycle or hitchhiking.
Panorámica al Valle del Elqui
Panoramic view of the Elqui valley
VicuñaVicuña is 62 km of paved road from La Serena to the east. Here the poet Gabriela Mistral was born, a Literature Novel price.This is a town worth visiting, where you can enjoy good Chilean food and different artisan products elaborated by the locals like jam, manjar and homemade bread. If you want to add a little bit of culture to your trip you can visit the house where Gabriela Mistral grew up, one of the greatest exponents of literature in our country. This house was turned into a museum.Vicuña is also an ideal place for astronomic observation. The Mamalluca astronomical center is located 9 km north of Vicuña, a paradise for those who enjoy and appreciate a clear night sky to observe the cosmos.
PaihuanoThis town is the entrance to the Cochiguaz and Alcohuaz valleys, which are widely known for their vineyards and distilleries. This place is a paradise of nature and an ideal place for those who enjoy meditation and spiritual development. This town has campsites, good food and warehouses, everything you need to supply yourself and travel the surroundings of this beautiful area.There are also amazing trekking routes through the valleys, a good reason to use Paihuano as your base to travel the area.
Noche estrellada en Pisco de Elqui
Starry night in Pisco de Elqui
Pisco Elqui This small town owes its name to pisco, alcoholic beverage which is elaborated in the hillsides of the area. To get there you can take a bus in the Vicuña bus terminal for CLP 2.000. The town has excellent campsites where a lot of people gather each summer to enjoy some good "piscolas" (pisco with Coca-Cola) under the starry night of the valley, and to enjoy nature in places like Rio Magico.A highly recommended destination for those who wish to enjoy with other backpackers.Horcon Artisan TownA wonderful place where artisans gather to sell their works. These works are not very economic, but if you want a pretty souvenir of the valley you can find very well crafted items. This town is also a great place to relax and enjoy its surroundings. It is located 10 km from Pisco Elqui, therefore it is possible to hitchhike since a lot of people do this trip.
Pueblo artesanal de Horcón
Horcon artisan town
Accommodation
You can find campsites in Vicuña with a cost of CLP 5.000 per person on average. Campsites in Paihuano and its surroundings are a little bit more expensive and can cost around CLP 7.000 per person per night.

Precautions and
Recommendations

avatarotros1. Best season: The valley has good weather throughout the year. There is never a bad time to visit it, although is in summer where you can join the groups of backpackers that gather in the valley.2. Gastronomy: Artisan ice-creams, manjar, jam and pisco are some of the products locally produced that you must try.3. Trash: Take care of the environment and DO NOT leave trash.