Wild flowers of the "Small North"

Reservations are made upon confirmation of the occurrence of the phenomenon

The tour starts along the Pan American highway towards the North from La Serena crossing the Elqui River.  The road follows the coast allowing the tour to stop at the deep gorges which are covered with white rushes and yellow flowers called "alcaparras" (caper bushes), together with the first signs of desert flowering. From the small inlet of "Hornos" with its beautiful view across the ocean to the horizon, you can see  the "Pájaros" island inhabited by seagulls, pelicans, penguins and sea wolves, which are of great scientific interest.

From here the tour continues uphill for 11 kilometres climbing the Buenos Aires section which has important engineering features cut into the mountain until the summit is reached.  This is a sector where there are hectares of mountains covered by bulbous plants of white flowers which resembles recent snowfalls. From the summit the wide plain surrounded by high hills and to the right is the small town of "La Higuera" which is famous for its mining activity in the past related to the "El Tofo" mine, between 1914 and 1960 it was the major iron ore mine in the world at that time.

In the same place there exists the "Camanchacaca Project", which captures the fog water along the coast in enormous nylon nets can be seen from the road.. The collected water supplies the needs of the village. The normally arid desert lands approaching Vallenar are coloured with thick carpets of "campanillas"  (bell flowers) covering the hillsides of the transversal mountain ranges. Near to Incahuasi enormous heaps are left discarded from the exhausted iron ore mine of Santa Fe.  At the crossroads of this small mining town, the church rises above the highway from where it can be seen.  At this point we leave the greenness of the north to get into the true desert which flourishes with the "chaņares" trees resembling yellow ochre swathes along the roadside. To the east and over the mountains can be seen two peaks full of observation domes of the La Silla Observatory to the south, and Las Campanas Observatory to the north, these together with the El Tololo Observatory in the Elqui Valley form the most important trilogy of observatories in the Southern hemisphere.

Following the Route 5  (the Pan American highway) which neatly cuts through the middle of the desert and emerges at the town of Cachiyuyo which is important  for a plan to reforest the desert with trees for firewood.  Much further is the small town of Domeyko, where the old mine and railroad station  sit with the eucalyptus and pepper trees, the mining plant, the organised streets together with the church and cemetery.  Leaving the highway to make a small diversion to see the modest huts of the goatherds surrounded by fences made of stones and mud and varied vegetation. It is in this sector where the full appreciation of the marvel of the flowering of the desert comes to fruition.
As the tour descends to the west of the "Huasco" Valley ,up to the coast ,on the route of the northern coast there are found flowers attributed to the flourishing of the desert such as:- azulillos, huillis, aņaņucas, alcaparra, suspiro de campo, etc  to which can be added a huge amount of cacti,  some in full flower.  The tour returns to La Serena as dusk falls and the spectacularly the  sun sets into the Pacific Ocean.






Phone: (+56) 51 2484008 - Mobile Phone (+56) 9 93330412
Coquimbo Region, La Serena, Chile
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