Guide to

Elqui Valley

A mystical desert oasis

Valle del Elqui (Elqui Valley)

Many travelers claim that entering Elqui Valley feels like entering another world. Surrounded by harsh, vast desert, this pocket of land is lush with orchards and pisco vines under some of the clearest skies found on Earth. The combination of such qualities has attracted both a bohemian lifestyle and scientific groups that offer visitors a unique experience, whether in a ritual or an observatory.

Stargazing at the Elqui Valley

After a day sipping on Elqui Valley’s full-bodied wines like the Syrah and Carmenere, spend your evening stargazing at the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary. Due to Elqui Valley’s remote location, high elevation and rain-free climate, Elqui Valley has consistently ranked as one of the best places on Earth for stargazing. The village of Vicuña has long been recognized as a hot-spot for stargazing along with the quaint village of Pisco Elqui, which is situated just 40km southeast of Vicuña.

Visit the Renowned Wineries in Elqui Valley

Vineyards in the Elqui Valley often focus on producing aromatic wines like Sauvignon Blanc due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean, and chardonnays which are derived from the northern valleys. In the lush vineyards at Casablanca and Valparaiso, tourists can work with professional gastronomers to pair delicious Chile cuisine with robust wines as well as tour gorgeous underground cellars and historic vineyard manors.

Pisco Tours in Elqui Valley

While there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Elqui Valley, ranging from intensive mountain trekking to unbelievable outdoor yoga classes surrounded by nature, the one activity you can’t miss out on is a relaxing pisco tour. Pisco is a well-known type of grape-brandy which is found in almost every bar and restaurant in Chile, often times you’ll hear local ordering a “Pisco Sour”. Head over to the picturesque village of Pisco Elqui where you can spend a weekend in complete bliss. Take a tour at Destileria Pisco Mistral where you’ll learn how Pisco is produced, get a free tasting and a Pisco drink at the bar after the tour!

When to Go

Recommendable all year-round though we suggest visiting during the harvest of grapes used to make Pisco, which happens from about February to May each year.

How to Arrive

Direct Flight from Santiago to La Serena: 1 hr

Drive from La Serena: Approxiamately 1 hr

Drive from Santiago: Approxiamately 6.5 hrs

Good to know

Language: Spanish Currency: Chilean Peso (CLP) Visas/fees: Travel to Chile does not require a visa for US/US/EU/CAN/AUS travelers. AUS citizens must pay a reciprocity fee.

What to do in Elqui Valley

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Observatory In Elqui Valley Chile

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Stargaze under some of the World’s Clearest Skies

Elqui Valley Chile

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Trace Gabriela Mistral’s Roots in her Hometown of Vicuña

Elqui Valley Pisco Vineyards

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Learn about how Pisco is made

La Serena Beach Town Chile

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Relax at the coast in La Serena

Ready to go? Here’s what to pack

Chile’s desert regions are generally very warm all year-round, making them great travel destinations for any season. We encourage our travelers to prepare for warm sun and cooler nights and to stay hydrated at all times.

  • Light backpack
  • Hiking footwear
  • Adjustable hiking pants/shorts
  • Re-usable water bottle
  • Sunblock and sun protection

Travel tunes: Playlists for Chile’s Desert Region

Tips from our Team

  • Without as much tourism as other destinations in Chile, Elqui Valley still has that ‘undiscovered’ vibe, which helps travelers disconnect and enjoy authentic Chile.
  • Many claim that the clear skies and overall energy of this place offer healing properties, not unlike places like Sedona, Arizona. Whether you find that it does or not, be sure to slow down and enjoy a spiritual ritual or healing treatment.

Where to stay: Overnight Recommendations

eliqui valley

Casa Molle

The vibe: Desert oasis

The location: Alongside the Elqui River, just 30 minutes west of Vicuña

Good for: Groups and retreats

Elqui Domos Hotel In Elqui Valley

Elqui Domos

The vibe: Glamping

The location: An hour east of Vicuña

Good for: Those looking to connect to the outdoors with comfort