Sparked by the 1947 sighting of what appeared to be a line of nine flying saucers over the U.S. state of Washington, the ever expanding worldwide interest in UFOs has officially landed in Chile. Inspired by a number of sightings and claims of other-worldly activity, the sleepy Andean municipality of San Clemente, 150 miles (240 km) south of Santiago, has fast become the nation’s UFO capital.
“Sightings have been made of shining spheres going into the water and into wooded zones without any human explanation,» Rodrigo Fuenzalida, president of the Chilean Grouping for UFO Research (AION) told AFP.
In 2008, Chile’s tourism service brought UFO spotting into the mainstream by turning the popular site into the country’s first official UFO trail. It consists of a 19 mile (30 km) stretch that weaves through the Andes and details the locations where close encounters have been reported.
The enigmatic landscape of El Enladrillado forms the main part of the trail. Locals claim that this flat zone, formed by 200 perfectly sliced volcanic blocks built by ancient civilizations, is a landing pad for flying saucers. It is 37 miles (60 km) away from San Clemente and to get there you need to take a four-hour horseback ride through the Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay, ascending to an altitude of 7,546 feet (2,300 meters).
The tourism office doesn’t guarantee that the expedition will conclude with a UFO sighting, but with or without a supernatural presence, the striking environment makes the trip worthwhile.
Join in the Fun
You can reserve your spot on the UFO trail by calling Dontito Rodriguez at 985531402 at least a day before you plan to visit. From Talca take any of the buses headed to Viches or Viches Alto and ask the driver to let you off at the Parador Turistico, Donde Dontito. From here the route is just over four hours on horseback. Prices are approximately US$ 30 (CLP 15,000) per horse and US$ 60 (CLP 30,000) in total for a guide.
By Paula Oriol