La Serena and Surroundings

North & Atacama Desert

Good beaches, historic districts, national monuments, and fascinating surroundings. This is Chile’s second-oldest city, as well as one of the country favorites.

Current weather La Serena

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Just outside of La Serena and Coquimbo, you can experience the magic of the desert climate of northern Chile while enjoying the beautiful beaches and lush vineyards of the central region, where grapes are grown to make delicious wines and pisco.

In La Serena you can stroll along the enchanting Avenida del Mar, choose your favorite beach and then spend the evening wandering along the Alameda Francisco de Aguirre. The area is home to an open air sculpture museum; the Church of San Francisco, which was built during the 16th and 17th centuries and is now a National Monument, and Recova, the region’s best known market, which includes an excellent handicrafts fair.

In Coquimbo, you can’t miss La Herradura beach and the nightlife of the Barrio Inglés district. If you’re around during the celebrations of Chile’s Independence (September 18th-19th), take in the celebrations at La Pampilla – a classic spot for dancing cueca, cumbia or salsa—, try local dishes and drink wine or pisco cocktails.

The clear air of this region has made it a hotspot for observatories like La Campana, Cerro Tololo, La Silla and Cerro Mamalluca.

The smaller valley towns such as Pisco Elqui and Vicuña will help melt away your stress with all kinds of natural therapies, and the Elqui Valley offers cozy, quiet retreats where you can sample local dishes and visit the bodegas where local wines and piscos are made. Tastings are included.

Know the experience of our visitors in Chile, through this video!


Elqui Valley

Discover its vineyard-filled slopes and visit charming small towns where agriculture and tourism meet. See Vicuña, birthplace of the poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gabriela Mistral, and sample some of the region’s typical food in one of its sophisticated restaurants or quaint local eateries. For an ‘intoxicating’ sensory experience, visit one of the pisco distilleries to learn how this distinctive grape spirit is made, take part in a tasting session and buy pisco to enjoy at home. For those who love sports and adventure, the valley offers trekking routes, horse riding and cycle paths. After nightfall, enjoy a spectacular view of the stars: the Elqui Valley is the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary.


Fray Jorge National Park (Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO)

Fray Jorge National Park is located about 108 km south of La Serena, and is a great day-trip destination. It is home to nearly 10,000 hectares of trees and plant life, the likes of which can only be seen here and in southern Chile (near Temuco and Valdivia, 1,500 and 1,600 km away). The reason for this is the camanchaca, a dense fog that rises from the sea and becomes trapped in this high mountain area. According to Conaf’s estimates, the park is home to more than 700 species of plants. Of these, 266 are native to Chile, 10 are classified as “endangered,” and 84 fall into the “at risk” category. There are also some endangered animal species.


Limari Valley

Located in northern Chile, the Limarí Valley is renowned throughout the country for its wine production. The local climate gives its wines a very distinct character. This is especially true of the white wines, which present tropical fruit notes.

In the Limarí Museum you can get an up-close view of a collection of over 700 pottery pieces from the Diaguita, Molle and Ánimas cultures, which left their most characteristic marks in the shapes and decorative style of their goods.

Valle del Encanto National Monument is known for its pictographs and petroglyphs made by the Diaguita and Molle peoples.


Humboldt Penguin National Reserve

Three islands—Chañaral, Damas, and Choros—make up part of a special natural complex known as the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. This location offers stunning beaches of white sand and turquoise waters, which is the natural habitat of the animals that attract many visitors to this place. To get here, travel 130 km north of La Serena to Punta de Choros.


Japanese Park (La Serena)

Also known as the Parque Jardín del Corazón, this park offers visitors a calm, meditative experience. Its 26,000 square meters include fountains with colorful fish, babbling brooks, and beautiful plants and trees.

Also, this is the largest park in South America.


Beaches

The beaches of La Serena are truly sensational, with Peñuelas, El Faro, Mansa, and Cuatro Esquinas offering excellent water sports.


Observatories

The clear skies of the Norte Chicomake this an ideal place for various astronomical centers, some of which are among the most advanced in the world. La Silla, Las Campanas, and Cerro Tololo open their doors to visitors only on Saturdays, with a previous reservation and authorization. For amateur astronomical observation, visitorsmaygo to the Cerro Mamalluca, the Collowara in Andacollo, and the newest observatory: Cruz del Sur in Combarbalá.


Horseback riding in the Elqui Valley

You can go horse back riding throughout many parts of the valley.


Astronomical Tours

Because the skies are free of light pollution, there are several astronomical observatories that offer tours to enjoy the wonders of the universe.


Enjoy Casino

Recently renovated, today the casino gleams with its 800 slot machines, 35 gaming tables, and the only bingo in the IV region.


Outdoor activities

If you’re a fan of adventure sports, try the local trekking routes, horseback riding excursions, and paths for bike and Jeep tours.


When to go

This is a year-round destination, although visitors mainly come during the summer. Its coldest month is July, with minimum temperatures of 7°C (45°F) and some rain.


Wine

Wine lovers can try internationally-acclaimed white wines here. The region’s terroir provides a flavor and bouquet reminiscent of tropical fruits that is unique among Chilean wines. If you prefer red wines, there is excellent Syrah and Pinot Noir to be had.


Do not forget to bring

•Swimwear
•Sunscreen
•Sunglasses
•Seasonal outdoor clothing
•Shelter for the night and morning as it is usually cloudy at sunrise and it clears uparound noon.
•Protection from the sun

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