- Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
- Posts: 1344
- Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:59 pm
- Location: Talagante area, Chile
I went this weekend. It is good although the photos you see on TV, online etc of blankets of colour make it look a bit better than it really is. Those photos are taken in the best position/angle in the best light at the best time of day on the best day of the best year. This is a desert with lots of flowers growing in it in some places, not some surreal alien landscape completely blanketed in technicolour.
The official at the park entrance said after 18th September could be the peak of flowers. (This is slightly difference to this article which says peak mid Aug-mid Sep http://www.diarioatacama.cl/impresa/201 ... l/4/texto/)
However for around 14th - 25th September (ish), I would expect an excess of travel to the region. Keep in mind there are very few places to stay or even restaurants, and no public transport that I saw or have heard about. The camp site at Parque Nacional Llanos de Challe was full when we went, so we stayed at Bahia Inglesa camp site to the north, which was also busy. I swam in the sea at Bahia Inglesa but note there was a strong current pulling me out to sea.
A possible route is to get to the entrance to the Parque Nacional Llanos de Challe (Lat 28.1853S, Long 71.1576W) and then do one of the walking trails from there, then drive north to Cisnes beach (Lat 27°14'06.7S Long 70°56'54.4W), 129km north so 1.5 hours drive time (road is tarmac not dirt) but take more like 3-4 hours making stops to see the flowers which can be seen from the road in various places on route and it's easy to stop the car by the side of the road and the land is not fenced off. That drive covers some of the best and most accessible flowering locations and the beach itself is good. There is also very occassional sand dunes to play in on route.
20 minutes north of the beach is Parque Paleontológico Los Dedos (27.154S, 70.8853W) which shows fossils and is on route to Copiapo etc. Bahia Inglesa is quite a bit further on even than that.
Around Sep 14-25, or perhaps any weekend from now to October, you can expect that any time you stop the car by a particularly good section, there will be a few other people there also. Likewise you will pass other people on the walking trails. However if you go on a weekday outside of Sep 14-25, I doubt that will be the case, it will probably be quiet.
But you need to take food with you. If you want to camp, reserve in advance. Otherwise stay overnight in La Serena/Vallenar and then drive all the way down the coast route and stay overnight at either Bahia Inglesa, Caldera, or Copiapo (or vice versa). In between there is little or nothing in terms of hotels, restaurants.
If based in Coquimbo/La Serena, or planning to visit anyway, it's probably worth the trip, but you will need a car or an organized tour. I would be amazed if they are not offering this tour in La Serena, but I haven't checked. It would be better as a 2-day trip since a 1-day trip would mean about a 15-hour day of which about 10 hours will be driving.
I'm not convinced it is worth it if you are based in Santiago area since you are looking at >20 hours of drive time to get to and explore the area.
I don't know for sure exactly how long this goes on for, but perhaps until about October.