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Vicuna, Chile

Vicuna is the name of both a commune and city in northern Chile founded during the government of Bernardo O'Higgins, to secure sovereignty over the Elqui Valley. The famous Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral was born there in 1889. This city and commune are located in the Elqui Province, Coquimbo Region, Chile. It borders on the west with the communes of La Higuera, La Serena and Andacollo, on the east with Argentina and to the south with Paihuano and Rio Hurtado. The commun is the administered by the municipality of Vicuna, which is the principal city of the Valle de Elqui.

This commune together with Paihuano, Andacollo, La Serena, La Higuera, form the 7th Electoral District and is part of the 4th Senatorial Circumscription (Coquimbo). The commune is represented in the Chamber of Deputies of Chile by Marcelo Diaz of the PS and Mario Bertolino of RN. In the senate it is represented by the senators Evelyn Matthei of the UDI and Jorge Pizarro of the PPC.


Vicuna was founded on February 22, 1821, by Colonel Joaquin Vicuna Larrain, who was the first Intendant of Coquimbo's Province, by order the of Bernardo O'Higgins, and was given the name of ''San Isidro's Villa of Vicuna''. In 1872, it became a city and was called simply Vicuna, in honor to its founder.


Vicuna's commune, with an area of 7.694 km, is the largest commune in both the province and Coquimbo Region, and the second largest commune in the country.

Vicuna occupies the major part of the mid and upper Elqui river basin, and the entire Turbid river.

The area is dominated by a mountainous backdrop, with extensive flat REAS in the the valley floor, in which high quality grapes for pisco are cultivated along with other fruits and vegetables.

In the mountain ranges La Punilla, Atimonate, Balalita, Los Tilos and others there are several peaks of over 4,000 meters.

Dona ana with 5.590 msnm

El Escabroso with 5.430 msnm

Los Banados with 5.344 msnm

Cerro Colorado with 5.151 msnm

Cerro La Laguna with 4.724 msnm

El Canto with 4.600 msnm

Demography and climate

It has 7.609,8 km, in that they were living (in 2002) 24.010 habitant, of which 12,302 were men and 11,708 were women. The variation in population with regard to 1992 was 10,8%. Of the whole, 12,910 inhabitants live in urban zones and 11,100 in rural zones. In the city of Vicuna proper there are 12.910 inhabitants (National Institute of Statistics of Chile 2002).

Vicuna is characterized for a climate of character possesses transition between the arid wood nearest to the bark and the desert one that her neighbor possesses Atacama Region, for which it is characterized by almost absences of rainfall in summer, in spite of some occasions in which the Bolivian winter manages to flog the part cord and part of his valleys, in winter the rainfalls center in June and July where fall due a quantity brought near in the whole annual period of approximately 120 mm.

The temperatures in summer change between the 16 and 32C, being the highest tempratura registered in 1996 (January 25 at 2 p.m.) that reached 38C. In winter the thermometer changes between the-1 and 17C. In this zone also one presents in winter epoch a phenomenon known in the zone as terral, which is characterized by winds of great temperature of cord origin, and his squalls reach even the 80 km/h.


Vicuna is a major center for pisco production. CAPEL is the main pisco destillery in the zone. His economic activity centres on the culture of grapevine, fruits, cereals, forages and vegetables. In addition, it possesses wool ranching and deposits of iron and copper. The tourism has gained great space in the last years, for what it relies on good housings and restaurants.

One of the principal characteristics of Vicuna is that it possesses at least 300 totally clear days and nights, for what his local observatory Mamalluca transforms in the absolute protagonist for those who want to look at the universe across his telescopes in entertained tours of astronomic observation. The urban fabric presents noble and former constructions of beginning of 1900. The principal points of interest inside the city are his square of aged trees, which shows sculptures and motives that honour the poet I reward Nobel prize of literature Gabriela Mistral; the Temple of the Immaculate Concepcion; the Tower Bauer, where there works the office of tourist reports; the municipal chapter and the museums of Gabriela Mistral, Historical of the Elqui and the Ethnological one, between the most out-standing.


To scanty kilometres of the city it is possible to discover the Route of the Grappa visiting the factories pisqueras Ruta Norte, Capel, Mistral, Tres Erres and Artesanos de Cochiguaz.

Also the reservoir Puclaro, La Laguna, its natural viewing-points, the handcrafted fairs and the corner diaguita deserve a visit.

Closely together of Vicuna there can visit picturesque townships like El Molle, El Tambo, Diaguitas, Rivadavia, Chapilca, Monte Grande and Pisco Elqui.

The Observatory Mammalluca located to 9 km to the north of the city of Vicuna, has tourist purposes and of education. Unlike the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, where only daily tourist visits are possible, and the telescopic observation is not possible except for personal specialist and astronomers, in Mamalluca, yes it is possible to observe using the telescope, both planets and visible stars during the starry nights of the Valle de Elqui. The observatory depends on the Illustrious Municipality of Vicuna, and to visit it you need to make an advance booking in the municipal offices of the city of Vicuna, near the main square.


This commune is administered by the mayor (Independent) Fernando Guaman Guaman, who is advised by a town council composed by six members:

Rene Ahumada Tapia (RN)

Simon Alquinta Sirvent (UDI)

Carmen Luz Rojas Araya (PRSD)

Silvia Pinones Rivera (PPC)

Mario Aros Carvajal (Ind)

Leonor Ortega Wanders (PS)

External links

Vicuna's Map

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Vicuna, Chile

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