National Parks Monument and Reservation / Ovalle and Limarí Valley / Home Page


















Leaving La Serena in the morning the tour goes south east towards Ovalle, past Coquimbo Industrial complex, the Pan de Azucar agricultural area, prickly pear farms and seaweed exporters. Before reaching Ovalle, the route turns onto a rural road which wins through tiny villages passing family farms and vineyards. Cacti, low bushes and occasional trees sparsely populate the dry hills, providing a striking contrast to the lush valley below. Reds, pinks, yellows and brows of all shades streak the mountainsides giving testimony to the geological wealth of the area. This is the Valley of the Hurtado River, home to domestic goats, pumas and the relics of dinosaur bones.






A surprise turn in the road allows a view of the spillway of the Recoleta Dam. Here the water and barren hills collide, providing a splendid photographic opportunity. The road continues along the side of the reservoir and river before reaching the Pichasca Natural Monument. The visit begins with a guided tour of the visitor center by park ranger with an introduction in the formation of the land and its early inhabitants. The view of the valley from the centre is marvelous. Driving a short distance to the stone house, where an impressive cavern has been formed by a lava overhang showing how this cave has been inhabited for 10,000 years. There are examples of petrified trunks of trees which can be seen before taking the short walk to appreciate this area of archaeological and natural interest. The cavern is where the hunter gatherers lived with some evidence of cave painting, across from this there is a small ravine with an impressive vantage point. The tour continues to the site where dinosaur bones were first found. From here there is a hike along a path that weaves through the remains of a petrified forest for those who wish to take it. During the visit to Pichasca there will be a lunch. The tour returns to La Serena in the late afternoon.









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