Trip to Chilean IV REGION
The IV Region of Chile is a little bit unknown for foreign tourists, despite being an area where you can find excellent wines from Elqui and Limari valleys. Besides, being the only area in the country where “pisco” can be produced. I was highly surprised with the tourism development during the last five years. Now I can proudly say that tourism has been developed in this area. I was delighted with the gourmet products such as goat cheese, pickled artichokes, almonds, 100% organic olive oil, sparkling wines and beer produced with catches-fog water. Wines of this region are awesome. I discovered a store named “Desde el Limari”, located at the facilities of “Casino de Ovalle”, where you can find all this local products, wines, sparking wines and beer.
On the other hand, I must mention that in this region was born the famous poet Gabriela Mistral. She won the Nobel Prize of literature in 1945. At Vicuña village there is a museum in her honor.
The IV Region, located at the north of Santiago, has incredible National Parks, the most emblematic is “Fray Jorge”, a world biosphere reserve. Besides, this area is the paradise for the astronomers from all over the world, because it has the clearest skies of the South Hemisphere.
In our first day trip, our first stop was at “Hueltelauquen” to taste the famous cheese empanadas of this area. Later on we continued to “Chinchilla National Park”, the largest of this area with 4.229 hectares of park. Our focus was to see a “chinchilla”. In this park you will find two path, a shorter where you will have information about native flora and you will find on rock a poem written by Gabriela Mistral in honor to the chinchillas; she was the first person in all Latin America to receive such as a distinction.
Is important to point out that “vizcachas” and “chinchillas” are similar, but not the same. In size “vizcachas are close to 25 cm (about 1 feet). Chinchillas are smaller and her skin is very coveted by the manufacturers of fur coats, which almost extinguished them. Nowadays, there are two chinchilla types, the natives and the genetically manipulated to obtain a reddish skin, the last ones live in captivity.
After the walk visiting the park, we stopped at picnic area for lunch, very close to us had its burrow a wild mouse. We had fun looking at him, but when the “culpeo fox” appeared with its beautiful reddish color tail, our rodent friend disappeared quickly.
Then, we continued our trip to Combarbalá village, to visit that evening the “touristic-astronomic observatory “Cruz del Sur”.