Attractions around Ovalle

Salala
This is a small estate 32 km south of Ovalle along Ruta 5. It is located on the bank of the river Limarí. It is inhabited by small farmers that grow vegetables and rear goats, they are known as ‘goatherds’, and are indigenous people of this region.

Another activity of Salala is the production of clay handicrafts, made by techniques used by indigenous people for more than 1,000 years.

Monte Patria
This is a farming town with large vine plantations and crops in greenhouses. There is also one of the largest reservoirs of the region here, called the Embalse La Paloma, with a storage capacity for 750 million cubic meters of water. Nearby there is the Tulahuén lapis lazuli mine. Lapis lazuli is a semi-precious stone, and is the National Stone of Chile.

La Chimba
Located 6 km southeast of Ovalle. This is a picturesque town whose main activity is horticulture, which has risen up from the time when the Incas used it as a mitimae (a small agricultural community). They called it La Chimba, which in the quechua language means ‘on the other side of the river’.

Cogotí Reservoir
Located 151 km from Ovalle towards Combarbalña, a distance of 17 km from the reservoir itself. It was built between 1934 and 1939, making it one of the oldest of the region. It has a capacity of 150 million cubic meters of water, and its affluent rivers are the Cogotí and the Pama.

You can fish and go windsurfing here.

Barraza
Located 30 km southeast of Ovalle, this is an ancient town that, in times of the Colony, was the second most important after La Serena. Its church, declared a National Monument in 1977, is of interest, as is its religious museum. Each February there is a festival of local customs that the whole community takes part in.

Church of San Antonio de Barraza
This church was declared a National Monument in 1977 and is located in San Antonio de Barraza, 3kms north of the junction with the road to Ovalle.

The church was founded in 1680. It was built between 1692 and 1700, in the lands ruled by Captain Antonio de Barraza. Its walls are adobe, 1 meter in height, with stone beams in the tower, in the roof’s framework, on the floors and ceiling. Inside, galvanized iron has taken the place of tiling. It’s modestly decorated, with a wooden pulpit and altarpiece.

Carén
Located 61 km from Ovalle and 31 km from Monte Patria, this is a small town dedicated to agricultural activities relating to vine plantations. You should visit the town’s Church and the La Gallardita Ecological Park.

La Gallardina Ecological Park
Located in the town of Carén, 61 km from Ovalle. The park covers 3 hectares that visitors can walk around. It’s a botanical park where native trees grow, together with a variety of roses. The fauna that lives here is dominated by birds, amongst them bandurrias and queltehues.

The park was officially opened in 1934. There is a small plaza, rowing boats, a yacht club and a campsite.

La Paloma Reservoir
Located 27 km southeast of Ovalle, this is the largest water reservoir in the country. There are good places for camping and fishing here, and you can observe the artificial waterfall that has formed at it’s opening, together with its eight floodgates.

It was opened in 1968, and there is public access as far as the floodgates and the garbage dump.

Valley of the River Limarí
Located 30 km south of Ovalle, and characterized by its plentiful vegetation, green areas, orange plantations, vegetables, cucumbers and other things. It is suitable for crayfish fishing.

The flora here is characterized by the presence of cacti, espinos (thorny trees), hemp, boldo, and maitén. Fauna that live there include chincol, hummingbird, lica, thrush, diuca, goldfinch, chirigue, starling and tench, puma, fox, hare, wildcat, rabbit and guanaco, and insects including butterflies and arachnids.

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