The Elqui Valley region is also considered–in scientific circles–as having one of the most clear skies in the southern hemisphere. For this reason, there are several astronomical observatories in the summits of the Pachón and Tololo hills. The New York Times called this valley “the heart of the astro-tourism boom” due to the presence of astronomical observatories mainly destined for tourism, such as Mamalluca, Collowara, Cruz del Sur and Cerro Cancana.
The waters of the Elqui River—and the magnificent sunshine of the region— make the valley a fertile terrain for the production of vegetables and fruits, including the Muscat grape used to make the famous Chilean pisco. The Elqui Valley is also considered an energy center that provides magnetic vibrations beneficial for the body and spirit, making it an attractive site for spiritual development. The Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, 1945 Nobel Laureate for Literature, was born in this magical place.
The Elqui Domos is the only astronomic hotel in the southern hemisphere. Opened in 2005, it provides visitors the experience of watching the stars in original geodesic constructions. The beds are located on the top of the building under a glazed sliding roof that allows guest to observe the sky in total calm. There are cabins with three floors and a large window facing the sky. The interiors include exquisite details, comfort, and understated elegance.
The Elqui Domos Hotel boasts an observatory with two state-of-the-art electronic telescopes available for the most seasoned astronomy enthusiasts. Without being a five-star hotel, it is the ideal accommodation for travelers who seek to immerse themselves in nature and procure a magical experience with a kind of energy that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet.
The Elqui Valley is located 370 miles north of Santiago and about 70 miles from the coastal city of La Serena. It can be reached by regular flights from Santiago to La Serena, followed by a short scenic ride by land. ■