Isla Damas Tour / Vineyard and Enchanted Valley Tour / National Parks Monuments and Reservations

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The fascinating full day excursion begins in the morning with a drive along the coast of the Coquimbo Region passing by such resorts as La Herradura, Totoralillo, Las Tacas and Morrillos. As the Pan-American highway veers inland there is opportunity to observe the customary thick fog that settles above the coastal hills (known as the "camanchaca").  After turning off the Pan-American the remaining route to Fray Jorge National Park is 27 kilometres of country road which is unpaved and passes wheat fields, goat herds and the traditional goat cheese stands Fray Jorge became a National Park in 1941, and was declared a Reserve of the Biosphere in 1977 by UNESCO.  Within Fray Jorge´s  9,559 hectares the visitor can observe the contrast between the semi arid hills that predominate in the park and the groves of forest similar to those that cover southern Chile. 









The tour stops at the Visitor Centre for an introduction to the Park before climbing 560 meters  to the top of the hill for a guided  forty minute walk during which the cinnamon, myrtle and olivillo trees can been seen growing above a carpet of ferns.  This unusual  abundant vegetation can grow in this area because of the coastal clouds (or camanchaca) which forms due to the cold moisture-laden air coming off the ocean and condensing upon hitting the high ridge.  The high altitude vegetation takes advantage of the moisture in the clouds, allowing a forest typical of Southern Chile to survive in the arid north. After the tour of the cloud  forest the descent to the semi arid sector is in sharp contrast for here can be observed the natural flora and fauna, especially the foxes and a great variety of birds, birdwatchers bring your binoculars!. To continue towards Ovalle and a visit to the Enchanted Valley.The Enchanted Valley is located 19 kilometres southwest of Ovalle and was once a vast amphitheatre which was once a religious sanctuary and has become an open air museum of scientific and cultural interest.



Here petroglyphs, pictographs and characteristic mortars ground into the rock whisper of days long gone when the Indians of the El Molle culture inhabited this beautiful valley of gargantuan boulders and murmuring streams.  After a guided walk to enjoy the magic of this valley and to see the archaeological remains the tour returns  to La Serena   along an inland route in the early evening.




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