MARCH 2009 - DESTINATION OF THE MONTH

“ELQUI DOMOS”

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Fast facts about Elqui Domos

  1. *Located in the Elqui Valley, northern Chile

  2. *7 geodesic domes with private bathroom

  3. *Astronomy tours

Unique Destination’s Review of Elqui Domos

Situated on the outskirts of the small town Pisco Elqui, are the Elqui Domos, a unique lodging concept designed to offer guests an ideal opportunity to explore the magical night skies of the Elqui Valley in northern Chile. A place known internationally as one of the best locations for astronomy (or “stargazing” in non-scientific terms) in the world due to its clear atmosphere and skies.


The drive through the Elqui Valley provides many a photographic opportunity with its constant changes in scenery. One minute you will be driving through luscious valleys filled with green grape vines, then around the corner you will be met by arid mountains dotted with cacti. Each little town you bypass also has its own character, attractions and locals ready to tell you their stories of this mystical valley.

Constructed in February of 2005, Elqui Domos introduced 7 geodesic domes each produced with 2 levels. The first level contains a private bathroom and living room complete with zip-able windows for ventilation. While the second level is home to a large double bed with a detachable roof – allowing you to fall asleep under the watchful eyes of the galaxy above.


Those of you after a truly relaxing and energizing experience will be relieved to know that there are no televisions in the domes. Instead, you can spend your time relaxing with a BBQ and playing board games by the pool, or visiting one of the many attractions in the nearby towns such as the Pisco Distilleries, museums or observatories. All of which the friendly reception staff can assist you with.

The main quarters of Elqui Domos are located inside another enormous two level dome. The first level is home to the reception and onsite restaurant serving breakfast daily and lunch/dinner on request.  The second level contains a large living room for relaxing, which opens out to the balcony and pool area. 

As one of 7 astronomic hotels worldwide, and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere, Elqui Domos focuses its services towards night-time activities. During my stay I took an Astronomic Tour. This commenced around 10pm and over the course of an hour I was given a fascinating insight into the lifecycle of stars, and viewed many famous constellations using a professional telescope - all under the guidance of an astronomy enthusiast.

Nearby there are two major astronomical observatories also worth a visit. The Cerro Mamalluca Observatory is located near the town of Vicuña and is a scientific, tourist and educational complex, open to the public every night of the year. For those with a more professional interest in astronomy you can visit the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory which is a scientific complex containing many telescopes and instruments dedicated to professional astronomical observation.


During your observations of the sky you are almost certain to see a shooting star, a relative rarity for a city dweller. And, as I’m told by the locals, you may also come across something else of a rarity – a UFO! The Elqui Valley has also made a name for itself internationally by being known as having some of the most UFO sightings worldwide. There is a belief by some that the Elqui Valley has an energized magnetism about it – perhaps drawing the UFO’s near……… Some may believe this, and others, well they may think it’s all something to do with too much of the potent local cocktail, the Pisco Sour!

While I’m speaking of Pisco Sours, you ought to know that the Elqui Valley is the very home of this drink. All of the countries major pisco distilleries are located here and are open to the public for tours and of course, tastings. I would personally recommend the Capel and Mistral distilleries.

Overall, whatever your interests are, there is sure to be something to entertain you during your stay at Elqui Domos.

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