After filling our minds and eyeballs with lots of art and port culture, it was time to escape to a more rural area. Abundant with vineyards and located in the Valle de Elqui, Vicuña seemed like the ideal environment we were looking for.
So, we finally did it – after 50+ days of traveling, we actually missed our bus to Vicuña! Literally sprinting towards the bus terminal (following a couple of different metro lines to make our 1:00 pm bus), much to our dismay the bus had already left. It was only 1:06pm….!
Thank goodness there was another bus going to the next closest city, La Serena, and we were able to catch a ride with them. Interesting enough, our bus actually caught up with our original bus and we were able to hop on and continue directly to Vicuña, phew!!
Our Airbnb host, Carlos, surprised us by picking us up from the bus terminal and taking us to his home a few minutes away. Him and his wife were very accommodating! They owned a small shop in town where they sold children’s clothing but we didn’t know it until we stumbled upon it while walking downtown. They welcomed us out of the hot sun, into their shop and gave us some juice. While hanging out, we showed them our blog and they were excited to read about our adventures.
Vicuña is the place of birth to the other Chilean poet and educator, Gabriela Mistral, who, 26 years before Pablo Neruda (one of her students!), also won the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was the first Spanish-American woman to ever receive this honor.
During our stay, one of the things we did was take a bike tour. This time there was no guide – just us, our bikes, and a map! The map led us through a couple pisqueras (or pisquerias), a Hare Krishna retreat, some small villages, a cervecería, solar kitchens, several vineyards and most of all some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever laid our eyes on. The whole trip was a total of about 18k, in the blazing hot sun!
The following day, we visited the neighboring town of Pisco Elqui, which is known as the heart of Chilean pisco production. You can’t come here without trying a few pisco sours, yum!! We also walked around the small town and admired some of the street art and quirky restaurants.
Vicuña was a great scenic, relaxing place to hang out for a few days and pickle ourselves in pisco. Next up, the coastal town of Caldera!