"Driving route through Elqui & Hurtado Valleys" La Serena Things to Do Tip by Gato_con_Guantes

La Serena Things to Do: 34 reviews and 46 photos

This is a great route to see some of the best sites in the region. A 4x4 is required for some of the way.

The Elqui valley is the first section - head from La Serena towards the airport and carry on for some 20 mins until you enter the valley. Regardless of the clouds on the coast, as soon as you enter the valley the sky is a perfect blue with seldom a cloud in sight. Keep going up the valley, past the Puclaro reservoir to the town of Vicuña. Here head south on dirt road towards the Hurtado Valley.

A 4x4 is required for this road as it winds through some spectacular semi-arid desert scenery. After about 45 mins you get to Hurtado, from here the road is in better condition.

The Hurtado valley is at least as beautiful as the Elqui valley. Just outside the village of Hurtado is Hacienda los Andes, where you can arrange some excellent horse rides off and up into the Andes.
From Hurtado, continue down the fertile valley to the village of Pichasca, where there are the fossilised remains of a prehistoric forest. Back on the road there are two option: a shorter route is to turn off at Samo Alto and take the cross country road (4x4) to Andacollo;or a longer route is to carry on to Limari and the enchanted valley.

Andacollo: The town is dotted with small scale gold mines that have been worked for centuries, and as a result you can't look anywhere without seeing some evidence of a mine. Visiting one of the few remaining "trapiches" is a fascinating experience.

Limari: There are now half a dozen excellent wineries here or close by: Tamaya, Tabali, Ocho Tierras, Viña Familia Farr, Francisco de Aguirre, and Solar are the most recommended. You can visit any of these for a tour and tasting. Just down the road from Limari is el Valle del Encanto, a hidden valley where hundreds of boulders display ancient etchings of humans with head dresses, animals and other objects and symbols.

Return to Coquimbo via the old inland road, Ruta 43. Best local agency to ask for information is Optimundo.

Address: 4ta Region Chile
Website: http://www.optimundo.com

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  • Written Mar 5, 2007
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