The trip begins at 8 o’clock in the morning, when the classic morning mist gives way to one of the clearest skies in the world: the ones of the Elqui Valley. This are the amazing skies we will discover along our route.
Our first stop is located 55 miles southeast from La Serena at 2.200 meters above sea level in the Elqui province, a real monument to Astronomy: the Observatory Cerro Tololo.
The most famous astronomic center is, according to the Aymara language, at “the edge of the abyss”. This is the meaning of its name, one that gets full of sense once you reach the top. From up there you can observe the infinite landscape of the valley and the mountains.
In the observatory a specialized guide will show us the facilities, huge domes where the telescopes that permit the astronomical research are kept. We will know the telescopes and the way they work, as we learn also about the origin of the universe.
Every year more than a hundred visitors and students from more than 50 institutions in the world travel to this place to develop astronomic researches. The main reason why we cannot visit this observatory at night and make observations is because this instruments are always being used by professionals. In spite of that the landscapes, the interesting talks and the close view we ca get of this professionals telescopes make the visit worthwhile.
After the visit to Tololo, we go to the Solar Stoves restaurant located in little town of Villaseca. Here all the food is prepared, as the name indicates, with solar energy captured by this special stoves.
Now is time for us to go deep in the valley to the towns near the cordillera: Pisco Elqui and Montegrande, where we can enjoy the sun and take a walk for their lovely streets. Then we’ll go to Vicuña, the main city of the valley and birthplace of our great poet, Nobel prize winner, Gabriela Mistral.
At dusk, we’ll gonna make our last visit, the most spectacular of our trip: the observation of the Elqui stars in a tourist observatory. Here we can make use of the astronomical observation equipment and enjoy of good talks about the universe from real experts in this matter. Just the perfect end for a day dedicated to enjoy the gifts of our skies.
- Lunch at Cocinas Solares restaurant
- Ticket Tourist Observatory
Note: Tour subject to weather conditions.