Chile La Serena and Elqui Valley
Southernmost Patagonia is a wilderness of jagged fjords and towering glaciers, where the frostbitten Andes finally crumble into the sea.
La Serena is Chile’s second-oldest city and a very pleasant university town. Following the discovery of silver nearby in the 19th century the town’s prosperity saw the building of fine churches and mansions. It was given a colonial-style facelift in the 1940s and is now a resort town popular among local holidaymakers, who flock to its beaches and nearby attractions. The Elqui valley is a gorgeous oasis with orchards and vineyards set in a cleft in the mountains. Because of the dry climate the sky here is particularly clear and there are two astronomical observatories open to visitors.
Where to go when - our guide to La Serena and Elqui Valley
The weather in La Serena and Elqui Valley is wide and varied
The old university town of La Serena and the fertile oasis of the Elqui valley are renowned for their natural beauty and the unrivalled pisco produced in this region. A visit between October - March is the perfect time to see the lush landscapes in their full glory, with January and February receiving the most visitors. During these months there may be some short bursts of rain, but these are infrequent and most days remain clear and dry - perfect conditions for stargazing at the high-tech Mamalluca observatory. From May - August temperatures cool down and the days grow shorter. However, the pisco distilleries- or pisquerias - of the Elqui valley generally remain open for tours and pisco tasting year-round.View our La Serena and Elqui Valley weather guide
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Real Latin America Experts
Ben Line - Travel Consultant
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.
Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.