Travel Therapy

Hippies, yoga practitioners, spiritualists, scientists and adventurous travelers are all drawn to the Elqui Valley. Jade Frank writes about stargazing in this mysterious spot in her GoNOMAD article, Chile’s Elqui Valley: A Zen Experience in ‘Travel Therapy.’

“Spiritual wanderers and gurus of meditation, yoga, astrology and the like settled in Chile’s Elqui Valley in the 1960’s. In 1982, scientists measured Earth’s magnetic forces for the first time by satellite. Sure enough, the hippies were right on. The satellites found the Earth’s greatest point of energy in South America, around Chile’s Elqui Valley.

The valley’s center of magnetism, natural therapy and UFO sightings surrounds Cochiguaz, a magical town located eleven miles (18 km) from Montegrande. New age folk, yoga enthusiasts, crystal worshipers and others following their spiritual karma or avoiding the “real world” have settled in this community for a peaceful life surrounded in natural energy.

Another reason to stop in Vicuna is a chance to visit the Mamalluca Municipal Observatory. That’s right, the Elqui Valley isn’t known just for its magnetism, this region also happens to sit under one of the clearest atmospheres in the world. The Elqui Valley sits out of the way of city lights and maintains a gentle, steady climate with little wind or precipitation. So if stargazing is your thing, you’re about to be blown away.

On a moonless night, the starry skies can be seen up to the eighth magnitude with the naked eye. The Milky Way is oh-so-milky and Jupiter makes the brightest show at night. In fact, the galaxy’s viewing is so superb, numerous international observatories have been constructed in the area.”