Location: 500 Kilometers north of Santiago, Chilean Capital
Travel Time: 5 Hours
Embalse Puclaro is located in the north of Chile (South America) 70 kilometers from La Serena city, inside the Elqui Valley. The dam was built in 1999 with the purpose of collecting water for the cities surrounding it and also to maintain the extensive grape plantations in the area, for the production of Pisco (Chile's most popular distilled spirit) and the local agriculture.
With the location of the dam, 700 meters above sea level surrounded by mountains and with temperatures of 20 deg.C in winter and 25 deg.C in summer, the rising thermals from the dry surrounding mountains channel winds of 20 - 35 knots through the valley almost every day of summer from September-April and 15 to 20 knots in winter. This makes Puclaro one of the preferred Kitesurfing spots in Chile.
When to visit and Temperatures
This place boasts 310 sunny days a year thanks to it's particular micro climate. The water temperature in summer can be between 16- 22 deg.C and pretty cold in winter 15-18 deg.C but nothing that a good wetsuit cant fix.
Who is it suitable for?
This place is not ideal for beginners given the access to the water has lots of rocks. The wind picks up around 10:30 am and it blows hard until 9pm almost every day! Winds tend to be gustier in the morning and steady in the afternoon. Recommended kite sizes are 7-8-9-10 depending on the day.
How to get there and Accomodation
To get there you can either rent a car or catch a bus. There are a few different places to stay, for the budget conscious I recommend (Joakin bello, www.islapuclaro.cl) We stayed there and it was cheap clean and right next to the water, book before you go. There are only a few small places to buy food near buy so it may be recommendable to bring your own food and of course you can find a good Pisco in the Valley.
Embalse Puclaro is one of the best known places in the world to marvel at the night sky and with it's dramatic contrast in scenery it is truly a place you wouldn't want to miss.