Recently named as one of the New York Times places to visit in 2015, the Elqui Valley in Chile is one of the best places for stargazing in the world. In the desert skies of northern Chile you can find some of the world’s largest research telescopes. And it’s not just the experts who are interested in visiting but also many tourists. Already catering quite well for the tourist with a few small observatories the light pollution is already starting to impact hence why the NY Times recommend visiting sooner rather than later.
The Elqui Valley is an approximate 100 miles stretch of land with vineyards and orchards which reaches up to the southern tip of the Atacama Desert. Throughout the valley you will find many pisco distilleries which are open for tours and tastings.
For those looking for a different sort of trip, the Elqui Valley could be what you are looking for. The main town and transport hub, Vicuña, is the birthplace of the Nobel Prize winning poet, Gabriela Mistral. Not far is also the town of Monte Grande where she grew up and was buried. There are also plenty of charming towns to visit with their colonial and adobe architecture. Many of the vineyards have excellent restaurants as well as more local but delicious ones. Pisco Elqui, the village, makes a lovely spot to spend a couple of days in. It is very geared up for tourists with lots of places to eat and sleep plus different activities and good local shopping.
Many people who have moved there have done so because of the relaxed pace of life the area offers. It is thought to be a place of healing energies and therefore there are plenty of places offering alternative therapies such as reiki and meditation among others. It has been said that this place has special magnetic vibrations and a very strong energetic pole. It is situated on the other side of the planet to the Himilayas. Perhaps the amazingly high flow of energy travels through the earth? The air is pure and it’s hard not to feel relaxed whilst there or enjoy the many natural healing places, yoga and meditations sites. There have also been a lot of UFO sightings in this valley…apparently.
It is also a place to visit all year as the weather is mostly warm and sunny.
Valle del Elqui is about 70km from La Serena and 470km from Santiago. It is very easy to get a bus from La Serena -they take about two hours to get to Vicuña and another 30 minutes to Pisco Elqui.
Then once you are fully relaxed and recharged you can start exploring the rest of Chile, one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations. Have a look at Historic Haciendasfor some inspiration on where to stay.