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Departing from La Serena the route to the Chinchilla National Reservation takes approximately two and a half hours as the Reservation is to the south and inland in the Choapa Valley. Upon arrival a guided tour of the Visitor Centre offers an overview of the chinchilla, her habitat, past persecution, recent investigation, and current protection. Inside a surprise waits: a kind of small darkroom zoo with one way glass that allows for the viewing of nocturnal animals during the day where the Chilean chinchilla can be seen A guided nature walk brings direct contact with the ecosystem of the chinchilla. With a little luck it is possible to see and hear some of the Reservation's many native birds, including eagles, owls and pilgrim hawks. After the visit to the Chinchillas


National Reserve the trip back to La Serena goes via an inland country route to Combarbala where lunch is enjoyed in a typical restaurant. This quaint town is known for the crafting of items in "combarbalita," a native semi precious stone that contains an infinite spectrum of colours. In Combarbala it is possible to visit a small store and workshop where the artisans work the stone.






The return trip winds through picturesque hamlets and a kaleidoscope of contrasting colours: the rusts, purples and yellows of the earth, glistening leaves of vineyards and orange groves, and swashes of blue reservoirs. The paved road takes us past the Cogotí and Paloma Dams, which are part of several schemes for water conservation in the Coquimbo Region. The Paloma is part of the largest system of irrigation in South America and holds 748 million cubic meters where a stop is made to admire the view while learning about the Dam.  Arrival in La Serena will be in the late evening






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