Water Conservation and Projects in the Coquimbo Region / Vicuña and The Elqui Valley

Ovalle and The Limarí Valley / Home Page
























This excursion starts in the morning with a drive north along the Pan American Highway through the "Norte Chico" a semi arid desert area with scarce vegetation dominated by cactus, the route continues over long curving hills allowing numerous views of the dramatic rocky coast.  From the road it is possible to observe a customary thick fog above the hills called the "camanchaca"  which starts in the ocean where the cold Humboldt current comes into contact with the warmer continental shelf, creating a gradual evaporation.  From the evening till early morning this water vapour is blown towards the continent where it condenses into thick fog masses upon hitting the 400 - 1,000 meter high ridge coastal mountains









It is this "nocturnal gardener" that waters the arid climate, even creating microclimates and permitting the existence of a variety of trees and bushes in a few special places, like Fray Jorge National Park. Here in an area known  as "El Tofo" there exists a unique "fog water collection system"  possessing 72 nets, each 4 meters wide and 12 meters -high, which supply water to the coastal village of  Chungungo.  In a Region where annual rainfall only ranges between 10 and 70 millimetres a year, this water represents the vital lifeline of the villages people.






Departing from the Pan American the tour makes the 700 meter climb to the Fog Water Collection Project.  The drives to the nets goes past the long abandoned iron ore mine "El Tofo" which  once dominated the Region's mining.  Closed in the 1970's the mine is now a ghost town which forms a fascinating backdrop to the fog nets. After visiting the project and learning about its history, development and operation the tour makes the descent to the other side of the Tofo Hill to the fishing village of Chungungo







Following the pipes and route of the condensed fog waters past breathtaking views of arid mountains and ocean it becomes possible to appreciate the meaning of these precious drops. In Chungungo the fog water distribution system and some of its beneficial effects are observed before stopping for a box lunch. 
Return to La Serena.







For Information: ventas@ingservtur.cl

Reservations: reservas@ingservtur.cl






Page Beginning