How the pisco drink is made in the Elqui Valley

My article for Kommersant

The mountainous landscapes of Patagonia, the driest desert in the world Atacama, the mystical Easter Island, the Andes, active volcanoes, marble grottoes, evergreen forests of cold Valdivian selva, turquoise lakes, dunes and vineyards - on a narrow but very long strip of land in the shape of a coquettish pepper there is an amazing natural and climatic diversity. Chile is the main specialty of Chile Travel Mag Tours and is central to the collection of tours and excursions.

And Chile is also 2000 volcanoes, 4300 km of coastline, 80% of all glaciers of the Southern Glacial Plateau, the very Robinson Crusoe Island, Magellan Strait, Drake Passage and Cape Horn.

Interesting facts about Chile:

The country is literally sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. The maximum width is 445 km, the narrowest is 90 km.

Nasa tested its Mars rovers in the Atacama Desert.

The country is located at the junction of two lithospheric plates and on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Villerica Volcano (2.47) is one of the 5 active volcanoes in the world, which are allowed to climb. The crater is filled with lava.

The sky in Atacama is considered the cleanest for astronomical observations, so telescopes of the most ambitious projects in the world are aimed at the Atacama sky - from EOS to ALMA.

Central Chile has a dry Mediterranean climate. Traditional export products: avocados, olives, cherries, blueberries, apples.

The basis of the country's economy is the extraction and export of copper, therefore copper is called the Chilean salary. The Chuquicamata quarry in the Antofagasta region is the deepest open pit in the world.

Puerto Varas receives more rainfall per year than St. Petersburg.

Chile food tourism

Chile's records, achievements and curious facts about the country

The tallest tower in South America, built by the most earthquake-resistant country on the continent, the driest desert in the world, the largest volumes of copper mining, a powerful telescope, plus much more in the context of "the most" - all these are Chile's records and flirtatious the complex of Napoleon, which engulfed an entire nation.

There are really enough world records on the country's 756,950 km perimeter. By the way, the compactness of Chile makes a deceptive impression. The country, which is completely stretched along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, ranks 37th in terms of area in the list of countries in the world. Which is not so much (compared to some countries that occupy one-fifth of the land mass), but still much more than Chile is usually thought of.

In general, Chileans are quite fond of the last letter of the alphabet. But such statements are not arrogant among the Chileans, but rather touching and cute. It is absolutely impossible to get angry after hearing another attack on national greatness (but it is easy to succumb to an example).

But back to the accomplishments. What is outstanding about this South American country?

Chile's Absolute Records

1) The driest desert in the world, the Atacama, is known for having no rainfall for 400 years (from 1571 to 1971). However, in recent years we have witnessed how the desert was covered with a delicate lilac carpet of flowers.

2) The most powerful telescope in the world is located in the same desert. The VLT telescope (translated as Very Large Telescope) is located at the station on Paranal Hill. Today it is the best in technical terms optical instrument in the world of European terrestrial astronomy, although the construction of a new telescope has already been announced.

3) Chile holds the record for the extraction and export of copper. It's no secret that the mining industry is the backbone of the Chilean economy. Prices for this resource significantly affect the general state of the country's economy, contribute to its growth or slowdown. In what ways can one notice the parallel with Russia, albeit not to such a defining extent. Copper is essentially Chilean oil.

4) The world's largest open pit, Chyukikamata, where this very copper has been mined since 1915, is located in the north of the country. True, he holds the record only in size, since in the depth of the quarry he recently lost the palm to Bingham Canyon in the United States.

Gastronomic tourism of Chile Mountain landscapes of Patagonia, the driest desert in the world Atacama, mystical Easter Island, Andes, active volcanoes, marble grottoes, evergreen forests of the cold

My article for Kommersant “Kommersant-Lifestyle” about the differences between Chile and Russia

This time Anastasia Polosina, a journalist and creator of a travel blog about South American countries, who moved from Moscow to Santiago three years ago, compares Russia and Chile to find out what they have in common and different.

The geographical location at different ends of the globe implies not only a distance of over 14,000 km between Russia and Chile, but also a huge difference in mentality and foundations that embody the immense distance between countries, sometimes no worse than air miles. Life in Chile largely breaks the pattern of ideas about distant South America: an ardent mentality in fact often turns into practicality and common sense, and comfort and regulated order are found where the Russian does not expect at all. At the same time, the Chilean capital Santiago is in many ways a separate world and a reality that is different from the rest of the country - this is what undoubtedly makes it related to Moscow, but this is where the similarity of the two capitals often ends.


Chileans don't know how to say no - that's an axiom. Russian straightforwardness is shocking here and is considered a manifestation of terrible bad manners and rudeness, even if, in your opinion, the refusal sounded polite and reasoned. Therefore, the Chileans say “yes” with confidence in their voice, relying on the fact that you will understand that it was a tactful “no”. The interlocutor necessarily veils the refusal in a beautiful wrapper of vague phrases, and the requirement for specifics is sometimes perceived as pressure. It takes a lot of time and patience for all expats from Russia to decipher such etiquette at first.


A policeman is a friend of a Chilean who is not expected to be tricked and who is relied on for help. The lack of corruption in the police force is a source of pride in Chile, and this is perhaps the most eloquent point of comparison with Russia. The Chileans themselves would never think to "buy off" in the event of any type of violation, and even the very idea of ​​a bribe seems wild and incomprehensible to them. But if a similar experiment is theoretically carried out, including contact with government officials from other departments, then major problems for a potential bribe-giver are guaranteed. The Chilean police have a good social package and conditions, which they value very much.

But there is also a fly in the ointment - in the case of small proceedings, for example, if you were robbed in broad daylight, and by all (external) signs you look like a wealthy gringo, then the police may not show excessive zeal in the investigation ... As if the country in absentia agreed not to bother once again the "humiliated and insulted" criminals from disadvantaged strata, "brought" by society to such a life.

City Center

If in Moscow the degree of livability and prestige of the area is proportional from the center to the periphery, then in Chile it is the opposite, the center of Santiago can hardly be called a respectable place to live. In many ways, it is synonymous with noise, increased pickpocket activity, an influx of emigrants from much less prosperous Latin American countries, and buildings that are not the most pretentious kind. Sometimes in the central regions and adjacent to them, you can even see carts with horses, wooden sheds, and other features of rural life - as Santiago was in the recent past. Therefore, the cost of housing in the center is much lower than in a number of areas in the east of the city. In Santiago, literally everything depends on the area, including such useful aspects as the quality of life and peace of mind. To paraphrase a popular saying, people are greeted here “in the neighborhood”.

How pisco is produced in the Elqui Valley

The funny word pisco means nothing more than grape vodka. This is the very drink that tourists bring from Chilean duty-free in black souvenir bottles in the shape of a moai statue from Easter Island.

What is pisco and how is it drunk

Pisco is a grape vodka. Since Chileans do not drink pure vodka, even grape vodka, most often pisco is mixed with fruit juices or soda. For example, the cola variant is very popular - the most popular mix of piscocola is obtained. Alternatively, a sprite or tonic is also welcome for the blend. For other cases, stores sell a ready-made classic version of a cocktail with lemon juice or with mango juice, called Mango Sour. There are even powdered cocktail mixes! And the Peruvian Pisco Sour cocktail consists of pisco with lemon or lime juice and egg white foam.

The perennial controversy over civil pisco - and the difference between the Chilean pisco and the Peruvian

By the way, pisco is the subject of a whole dispute between Peru and Chile about its original nationality. But whoever started producing pisco first, today pisco is produced with the same enthusiasm in both countries, and due to the different climatic conditions for growing grapes and even the different varieties used to make the drink, the taste of Peruvian and Chilean pisco is different.

Where and how is Chilean pisco produced

The native land of the Chilean pisco is the village of Pisco Elqui in the valley of the same name. Of course, having arrived in the Elqui Valley, one cannot but visit the pisco production for the purpose of cultural enrichment. Elqui is home to two of the main producers of Chilean pisco: Mistral (named after the poet Gabriela Mistral) and Los Nichos. A local resident advised to visit the Los Nichos production facility, which is located in the village of the same name, since Mistral, according to him, has become "very commercial and, in general, has long been produced not in Elki." And so she did.

Since pisco is made from grapes, the production is a bit like wine production - the same barrels for fermentation of grape cake, hangars for crushing grapes, and the like. Pisco Los Nichos is divided into four types - in the red line 30 and 40 degrees, in the premium black line there are two types at 40 and 45 degrees. The range of prices is from $ 5. 00 CLP up to $ 8. 00 СLP per bottle. It also produces Vino Nectar dessert wine - very simple, no pretense.

If you take a tour, you will certainly be told about the eccentric founder, who first soldered his friends in the basement, and then began to appear, already as a ghost, in the photographs of visitors. By the way, small artesian pisco factories also thrive in the Elki Valley - for example, Pisco Aba in the village of El Arenal.

On the way back, we drove to the bazaar in the village of Horcon with various local artesian works - if you have time, you can call in, or you can skip it with peace of mind.

In the neighboring Limari Valley, in addition to wineries, there are also pisco producers: Chañaral de Carén, Mal Paso, Pisco Ovalle, Pisco Bauzá.

Marble Caverns in Chile

The Marble Caverns in Chile are the main attraction of the Carretera Austral in Patagonia. In this article, answers to popular questions about the grottoes - where they are, how to get there and how the excursion goes.

Where are the marble caverns in Chile?

The Capillas de Mármol marble caves are located on Lake General Carrera near the city of Puerto Rio Tranquilo - in the Aysen region, this is Chilean Patagonia,

Since 1994, the grottoes have the status of a protected natural reserve.

Are the grottoes really that colorful?

The natural color of the grottoes ranges from milky to blue-gray. And the deep blue color in the photographs is obtained due to the reflection of the azure water of Lake General Carrera. That is, this is not Photoshop, but not the grotto's own color either. Therefore, for a successful photo, it is very important to have the right lighting, which happens in an early sunny morning. In the photos below you can see the real view of the grottoes from different angles and with different lighting. Half of the shots were taken with an iPhone.

How to get to the grottoes?

By plane from Santiago to Coyayque or neighboring Balmaceda (2.5 hours) by Latham or Skye. Further by car to the city of Puerto Rio Tranquilo (4 hours).

How to see the marble grottoes?

There are two rounds. Everyone leaves at 9 am, so you need to spend the night in the city. The full excursion costs 20. 00 pesos and lasts 2. hours. Shows the grottoes of the two sectors, as well as barges aground and the settlement of Puerto Sanchez, which belongs to the Chilean senator. The standard one costs 10. 00-15. 00 pesos, lasts 1 hour. Only one section of the grottoes is shown, the most popular. ⠀ <

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