The Elqui Valley, Climate and Weather

The Elqui Valley runs west to east from La Serena in northern Chile (470km north from Santiago). It has four seasons, but the summers are long and hot (dry heat), autumn is short; winters rainy and cool; spring is short warm and bright.

Usually, as one gets closer to the to the tropics, in this case the Tropic of Capricorn, the days (in the summer) become hotter. However, in the case of the Elqui Valley there are other factors that influence its local climate and weather during this season. Note that summer is November through to the end of March (not the official period but considering the sunny days and temperature).

For example, from the west is the cool air blowing off the Pacific that then drifts along the valley, keeping it slightly cooler than it otherwise would be. Then there is the fact that the valley starts at an altitude of around 400, rising up to around 650m at Vicuña. This ensures that the air has less moisture than at the coast, or anywhere at sea level, and it also means, like in Santiago, that lower-level cloud does not get up to cover the higher end of the valley, ensuring many more days of sunshine than places at a lower altitude. And, because it is a valley ie has high, mountainous walls on either side, the agreeable temperature is funnelled through its length.

VICUÑA Forcast
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