Santiago – Ritoque 154 km.
We started our mystical road trip to Elqui Valley from Santiago, on Route 68, swerving on the road Las Palmas, then by Con-Con and crossing the river Aconcagua to stop half way on ritoque´s fine beach to spend the day. Ritoque Is very “piola” and we found a group of people at night playing guitar and drums at the beach.
Ritoque – Fray Jorge 403 Kms.
There´s no need to drive all the way to Elqui Valley. We stop half the way to rest and chill in Parque Nacional Fray Jorge. Is very quiet, it has very nice treks to explore, and there are camping sites available in the surrounding areas. We recommend you to make a short stop at La Ligua to buy “chilenitos”.
Fray Jorge – Pisco Elqui 147 Kms.
north to La Serena and Pisco in Elqui Valley.A popular refrain says: “between Tongoy & los Vilos”, which is an irony because its well known that nothing exists between those two locations and if you find something, please take note of it, you might get famous! Then continue on the route 5
Have you taste some pisco already? In Pisco, (the town that shares the name with the drink) we took a free tour on a distillery and singed around a campfire at night. Camping El Angel cost $3500. On the way to Pisco Elqui you will pass Puclaro Reservoir, here you can stop to rest or even park and sleep.
Mamalluca observatory: you don’t need to be an astronomer to use a telescopy!
If you are driving from La Serena, take route 41 to Vicuña. There, in the town centre you will find the observatory office where you need to make a reservoir. The tours at the observatory are starting from 20:30 with a cost of $3500 p/p. The observatory is 20 minutes far from the main square, where you will find enough directions to reach the observatory on time.
Pisco Elqui – Cochiguaz 40 Kms.
The next day we change Pisco for Cochiguaz and stayed at Rio Magico camping, next to a river and watched stars all night long. Cerro Caucana is ideal to go look out for quartz in the mountain and practice some meditation.
It´s normal to fell that you would like to extend your stay. It is said that you can watch UFOS coming and going from the mountains and into space from this location. Camping cost $5000.