Farms and vineyards provide a surprisingly verdant contrast to the desert – this is where the first variety of Chilean grapes came from. Copiapo became very prosperous after huge silver deposits were found here in the early 19th century, and the first railway line in the Southern hemisphere was built here as a result. The town has some excellent museums. Further afield there are some lovely beaches with classic turquoise water and soft sand, and ruggedly beautiful national parks. Every five years or so, El Nino brings heavy rain to the desert. When that happens, the following Spring (August – October), the arid ground becomes blanketed with millions of wild flowers. It’s a rare phenomenon, and one never forgotten by those lucky enough to see it.
Reasons to visit Coipaco Valley include:
Time: GMT -4 hours
There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.
Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.
Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.
Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.