Category: Travel in Chile
Dear readers welcome to Pisco Elqui – the scenic Chilean village which dwells in the Elqui Valley, at about 1300 m above sea level.
But apart from the beautiful nature and friendly locals, what makes this land truly popular is the fact it’s the birthplace of pisco (“pisco” means “bird” in the Quechua language). It is a type of brandy with a yellowish colour which has been distilled from fermented grape juice in the winegrowing regions of Chile and Peru. Therefore, people are genuinely confused who’s the founder of the delicious spirit.
The different names
As you might assume, the beloved alcoholic drink inspired the current name of the village (given in February 1936). The primary name was first La Greda and then La Unión.
How to get to Pisco Elqui?
Pisco Elqui is situated less than 600 km north of the Chilean capital, Santiago, and 100 km east of the central city in the region, called La Serena.
The cheapest and most convenient way to get from Santiago to Pisco Elqui is by bus, which takes about 7:45 hours and costs $25 on average. Then, it would be best if you caught another bus from La Serena. The journey takes 2 hours, and the price is $7. The buses leave every half an hour, so you’ve got plenty of options during the day.
In case you’re coming from the north, the journey with the overnight bus from Calama to La Serena is about 15 hours. It costs about $32.
What to do in Pisco Elqui?
As you can already imagine, among the best things to do while being in this part of Chile, is visiting some of the local distilleries. However, this isn’t all the beautiful region could offer. Here are your options.
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Book a tour in a pisco distillery
It’s the largest and most visited distillery in the Elqui Valley, situated on the Vicuña’s suburbia. There’s also a cute little museum in front of the distillery that’s sketching the pisco’s history in both Spanish and English for the foreign visitors.
Entrance fee: N/A (Phone: +56 2 4762300)
Pisco Mistral Distillery
In the centre of the town of Pisco Elqui, there is a distillery called after the famous Chilean poet and humanist – Gabriela Mistral. She was born in Vicuña under the name Lucila Godoy Alcayaga and received The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945.
Pisco Mistral distillery also offers tasting and bi-lingual tours following the entire process from picking grapes to selling the tasty pisco.
Entrance fee: CLP$ 45.000/ person
Visit The National Harvest Festival
The annual Fiesta de la Vendimia is held in Vicuña in February. It initiates the harvesting of the grapes and during week celebrations and activities are arranged in town, among which the Harvest Queen election.
For your information, these kinds of celebrations are happening yearly around the Latin country, from north to south.
Visit Observatorio Andino Chakana
Last but not least, do not miss to spend 2 hours within the unearthly, cosmic Andean Touristic Observatory in the heart of Pisco Elqui, offering the broadest panoramic view between colossal mountains.
You will find more details about the various tours on the official website of the Observatory: www.observatoriochakana.cl.
Address: Address: Centenario s/n 107 km From La Serena, Pisco Elqui 1770000 Chile
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more exciting stories about Chile!
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