Bahia Inglesa is a popular summertime Chilean beach vacation spot. Since it was still early Spring when we rolled into town though, it was rather quiet and very cold while we were there. One morning, as we were taking a stroll down the boardwalk next to the beach, we were randomly chatted up by a friendly German gal named Julia. She was interested in hearing more about what we had seen in Ecuador because she and her boyfriend Peter were considering moving there, so we planned a happy hour for later that evening to have a few drinks and swap stories. As you can imagine, socializing can be scarce on some of our journeys, and when I do get the chance I love it! Over the best octopus ceviche EVER we learned that these two native Germans had just moved here from Pisco Elqui which coincidentally was our next destination. A few pisco sours and a couple of bottles of wine later, they offered to just drive us there themselves the next day, and we wound up planning a weekend trip with them and their two fantastic dogs. We all packed into the car the next morning for the five-hour drive south. Along the way they showed us wonderfully pristine spots along the coast which we otherwise never would have seen. The other treat was that along the highway the desert was in bloom and we saw white, purple and blue flowers the whole ride down. What a beautiful sight!
We stayed in Pisco Elqui which is a small, remote town nestled in a pretty little valley. Pisco vineyards lined each side of the valley with a river dividing it down the middle. It was gorgeous! Peter took us on various 4×4 tours up and down the valley, and we couldn’t have been more content and entertained. We ended up staying there for four nights in a super cute and comfy cabaña. The flower gardens were in full bloom with roses and jasmine and the whole place smelled amazing!
We met many of their friends who all were so kind and generous. When it came to say goodbye we felt so lucky to have met these people who showed us a part of Chile we otherwise wouldn’t have known about. Thanks Peter and Julia!
Since we were not quite ready to leave this tranquil place, on their way back to Bahia Inglesa they dropped us off at another paradise down the valley called Vicuña. Here we relaxed during the day in front of our very own pool with two friendly, large resident dogs and continued to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. One night we had yet another AMAZING observatory trip. Not only was the sunset we witnessed from the observatory the best one I have seen yet on this trip, but the telescope the two guides running it were phenomenal.
This was a coastal city at the base of the Elqui Valley. We stayed here for a couple of days and explored. Not as peaceful and warm as the valley but we still enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We walked along the coast a bit and had some really good seafood too.
All in all, good times in these not-so-talked-about, slightly hidden Chilean gems. If you ever find yourself in this part of Chile, we definitely recommend getting a little off the beaten path and checking them out.