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Copiapo Valley

Why visit Copiapo Valley?

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:

  • Visit the Regional Museum of Atacama, the Museo Mineralogico and the Cathedral in Copiapó 
  • Explore the grasslands, salt flats, hot springs and mountains of the spectacular Nevado Tres Cruces National Park. Wildlife includes flamingos, vicuñas and guanacos, and pumas have also been seen.  The world’s highest volcano -  Ojos del Salado – can be found here.   
  • Visit the magnificent Verde, Santa Rosa and Negro Francisco Lagoons in Nevado Tres Cruces. 
  • Swim, snorkel or just chill out on Bahia Inglesa or La Virgen beaches – vibrant blue water, sheltered rock pools and white sand, with the desert and mountains as a backdrop. 
  • Trek or mountain bike in Pan de Azucar National Park – thick mists blanket this park after sunset, providing sufficient moisture for cacti and other plants to grow out of the rocks. It is home to a colony of Humboldt penguins, and its beaches are perfect for diving and fishing. 
  • (If you’re very lucky) see the desert bloom with wildflowers! 
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facts and information

Time: GMT -4 hours

Flight time:

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:

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.

Health:

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.

 

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