After a relaxing few days on the beach in La Serena, Chris and I made our way to the village of Pisco Elqui in the stunning Elqui Valley. With Chris behind the wheel of our “micro machine” we wound our way up the Ruta de Las Estrellas into arid hills and bright green valleys.
I first read about this area of Chile in a post from the Globetrotter Girls. It’s worth reading the post for more detail about the valley and villages dotted throughout the region. I thought it would be a great place to do a little exploring, get outdoors, (and the photographs looked beautiful). Plus, it was a chance for us to taste pisco right from the source.
The Elqui Valley is the center of Chilean pisco production. So, what the heck is pisco, anyways? Pisco is produced from grapes and distilled into a brandy. We’ve had a few pisco sours (delicious) in Chile that have knocked our socks off. There are a few different ways this drink is made between Chile and Peru. It usually includes a combination of pisco, lime juice or lemon juice, egg white, and bitters. We really enjoyed our time in the valley. It was a great place for mountain biking, pisco tasting, and exploring the small villages throughout the area.
Finally, we participated in a stargazing tour, which was all in Spanish, and believe it or not, we’re able to pick up a decent amount. Does this mean our Spanish is improving? I hope so. One quick tip. If you plan to travel to the Elqui Valley, check out the lunar cycle. We were there right before a full moon, so the stars were a bit out shown. The stargazing would be out of this world during a new moon. Check out this feature from the New York Times travel section if you dig astronomy and want to learn more about all the Elqui Valley has to offer.
Up next we head to the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. Keep your fingers crossed I spot at least one flamingo.