El Norte Chico: Places to Explore


  • Bahía Inglesa

    Some of the most beautiful beaches in El Norte Chico can be found at Bahía Inglesa, which was originally known as Puerto del Inglés because of the number of English buccaneers using the port as a hideaway... Read more

  • Copiapó

    Copiapó was officially founded in 1744 by Don Francisco Cortés, who called it Villa San Francisco de La Selva. Originally a tambo, or resting place, Copiapó was where Diego de Almagro recuperated after... Read more

  • La Serena

    La Serena (or simply "Serena," as locals call it) is Chile's second-oldest city, with several venerable churches and pleasant beaches. It got off to a shaky start. Founded by Spanish conquistador Pedro... Read more

  • Ovalle

    Ovalle will always suffer in comparison to its fair sister to the north, La Serena, for it has no beaches or breezes. However, it can be a starting point for a morning tour or a stopping-off point between... Read more

  • Parque Nacional Bosques de Fray Jorge

  • Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

  • Pisco Elqui

    This idyllic village of fewer than 600 residents has two pisco plants. Once known as La Unión, the town, perched on a sun-drenched hillside, received its current moniker in 1939. Gabriel González Videla... Read more

  • Vicuña

    As you head into the Elqui Valley, the first town you come to is Vicuña, famous as the birthplace of one of Chile's most important literary figures, Gabriela Mistral. Her beautiful, haunting poetry often... Read more