The upper Elqui Valley consists of several villages. They all belong to the municipality of Pahuano. The touristic center is Pisco Elqui.
The villages - in geographical order - are:
Paihuano - Montegrande - Cochiguaz - Pisco Elqui - Horcón - Alcohuaz
Let yourself feel impressed by the deep contrast between the arid mountains and the fertile valley under an incredibly blue sky. At night you can watch the espectacular starry skies - due to the clear and dry climate we have the clearest skies in the world.
Pisco Elqui is also the cradle of the famous Pisco, the national drink of Chile.
In Pisco Elqui and the surrounding villages you find a big variety of lodging, many restaurants and bars.
You can rent a bike, do a tour, visit a distillery or get a massage, on our activity-page you will find all kind of offers.
Paihuano is a typical Andean village which takes care of its traditions. Paihuano is also seat of the municipality. It has a beautiful plaza, a municipal theatre and a little museum at the courthouse.
In Pisco Elqui you find - beside a broad offer of diffent places to stay, restaurants and night life - also a handicraft market and nice little shops all around the center.
There are also many places for natural healing sessions.
In Pisco Elqui there is a bakery, a hardware store (ferreteria), and little supermarkets where you can buy food etc.
Directly at the "plaza" you can visit the pisco distillery "Mistral". There is also another distillery at about 4 kms in direction of Horcón, "Los Nichos". There they still produce the pisco in the old traditional way.
Pisco Elqui has also a public sport center with tennis yards, football ground and a pool.
Montegrande is a colourful small and traditional village 4 kms before Pisco Elqui. Here is the cradle of Gabriela Mistral, poetess and winner of the Literature Nobel Prize. You can visit her tomb and a little museum.
Another famous son of this village is Francisco Varela, a neurobiologist. There is a video of him and his life called "Montegrande".
There is also an art gallery, "Galeria Arte Zen", at the entrance of the village.
1,5 kms before Montegrande you can taste the local wine at the vineyard "Cavas del Valle".
Shortly after the plaza there is the Pisco Distillery "Artesanos de Cochiguaz".
Cochiguaz is the remote village in the neighbouring valley of Cochiguaz. Shortly after Montegrande there is a road to the left. After about 1km you have free access to the river.
Cochiguaz is known for its mysticism. There are annual festivals like the New Year ceremony following the calendar of the Mayas. You can also do excursions to the "Laguna El Cepo" at abt. 3.000 mtrs, trekking or on horseback.
Horcón is located at about 8 kms from Pisco Elqui, ascending.
You find a nice handicraft market there. There is also a "medialuna", where sometimes you can watch a rodeo traditional style.
In the sector of "La Viga" you can also access the river.
Alcohuaz is the ultimate village in the Elqui valley, about 20 kms from Pisco Elqui. There the road ends.
There is an observatory in Alcohuaz which offers night tours.
You find also centers of biomagnetism and apitherapy treatments.