Leaving Don Josè behind I travelled a days ride further up where the R. Claro joins the Elque. — I had heard of petrified shells & beans, the former turned out true, the latter small white quartz pebbles. We passed through several small villages; the valley was beautifully cultivated & the whole scenery very grand. We were here near the main Cordillera, the surrounding hills being very lofty. In all parts of Northern Chili, the fruit trees produce much more abundantly at a considerable elevation near the Andes. The figs & grapes of Elque are famous for their superiority & are cultivated to a great extent. This valley is perhaps the most productive one to the North of Quillota: I believe it contains, including Coquimbo, 25 thousand inhabitants.
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