Attractions around Vallenar
A little village located at the bottom of a little ravine with water. There is a small street with adobe houses on either side and a beautiful church. The name comes from the Incan culture, and meaning that here a house for the Zapa Inca is built.
Caleta Chañaral de Aceituno
Located to the southwest of Vallenar and south of Huasco. Today it is a traditional fishing cove and a resort visited by families from Vallenar and La Serena looking for a peaceful retreat. In the surrounding area you will found Chañaral Island, a National Humboldt Penguin Reserve, as well as the islands of Dama and Choros.
It is an oasis, with an olive grove, a school and a chapel, where Our Lady of Lourdes is worshipped.
It is an ideal spot for fishing and the observation of wildlife.
Isla Chañaral de Aceituno
Reached from Caleta Chañaral, to the south of Huasco and southwest of Vallenar, along Ruta 5, and then along a turn-off for 48 km towards the coast. This island forms the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve, where bottle-necked dolphins live, as well as important penguin colonies, birds, seals and sea lions.
Alto del Carmen
This is the entrance to the valleys of the rivers El Tránsito and El Carmen. It is found 38 km from Vallenar. Previously known as Huasco Alto, it is a small town with a farming tradition. Here you will find the parish church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen that dates from 1826. You will also find places to stay, to eat, to buy local handicrafts and regional products.
Geological Formations in Vallenar
Located 77 km southeast of Vallenar through the valley of the river El Tránsito. These are colored hills with geological formations, near to the town of Pinte, that leads to an oasis with luxuriant orange trees and other fruit trees.
The formations stand out because of their varying colors. Many are like marble, inside which it is possible to find marine fossils.
Quebrada de Pinte
Located 77 km from Vallenar through the valley of the river El Tránsito. This small town, famed for its traditions and legends, is a good place to buy fabric handicrafts. There is an exhibition of fossils found in the area and traditional festivals take place here: the religious festival Virgin de Las Mercedes and the Festival of the Roto Chileno.
Town of Conay
This settlement lies inside the Valley of El Tránsito, at the confluence of the rivers Conay and Chollay, and from here you can reach the very beautiful countryside of the Andean foothills.
It has clear skies, fresh air, and sunshine all year round. From Conay you can reach beautiful places such as the Chollay Ravine, the Colpe Ravine, the Pachuy Ravine and the town of Albaricoque.
The town has basic services, a medical center, a police station, a chapel and a school.
Town of El Tránsito
Located 17 km west of Vallenar, this is the main town in the Valley of the River El Tránsito, previously known as the Valle de los Naturales, due to the fact that it was in this place that the indigenous communities of the Valley of the Huasco took refuge until the 1776 act of parliament.
The plaza contains leafy trees watered via channels, a tradition many centuries old. The Church of Nuestra Señora del Tránsito was built in 1831 and on August 15 every year a religious festival is celebrated, with religious dances and a local fair.
Junta de Valeriano
Junta de Valeriano is located at the confluence of the rivers Valeriano and Cazaderos.
Access to this town in the Andean foothills is via what were until very recently livestock paths, used for transferring livestock from the high mountain range. During the 18th and 19th centuries herds of animals passed along this same route from La Rioja, in Argentina, towards Puerto de Huasco on the coast, to supply the silver miners in the region, and later the salt farmers of the Atacama desert.
Horseback excursions depart from here towards Cajón del Encierro, the Laguna Grande and Chica, and sometimes towards the Manflas River (basin of the Copiapó).
Quebrada de la Totora
This gorge is located to the north of the town of Chanchoquin, in the Valley of the river El Tránsito. The countryside here is very varied and very beautiful, colored varying tones of pink and ochre. Along the length of the gorge, there are several farms producing grapes for export.