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El Norte Chico Travel Guide

  • Photo: Anky / Shutterstock

Plan Your El Norte Chico Vacation

For hundreds of years, people have journeyed to El Norte Chico—Chile's Little North—for the riches that lay buried deep within the earth. First came the Incas, who wandered the burnt hills in search of gold. A century later the gold-seeking Spanish arrived on these shores. The 19th-century silver book brought more prospectors. Today it is copper that yields the majority of the region's

income. No wonder locals once called this "the land of 10,000 mines."

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Sugar-sand beaches Soft sand, turquoise water, and warm breezes make El Norte Chico's beaches among Chile's best. In summer (January and February) you may have to fight for a place in the sun.
  2. Starry skies Thanks to some of the clearest skies in the world, Chile's northern desert is a top destination for international stargazers and scientists. A number of astronomical observatories in El Norte Chico arrange tours.
  3. Nature reserves Explore Parque Nacional Fray Jorge with its ghostlike fog, the petrified forest of Monumento Nacional Pichasca, and the barren desert landscape of the Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar.
  4. Wine and pisco Your trip would be incomplete without sampling El Norte Chico's most famous export, pisco. The liquor's muscat grapes flourish in this temperate climate, which is also ideal for grape-growing (particularly pinot noir), making this an up-and-coming wine producing region.

When To Go

When to Go

During the summer months of January and February, droves of Chileans and Argentines flee their stifling hot cities for the relative cool of El No...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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