Campanario Del Mar
Avenida Del Mar 4600, La Serena, Chile
More about La Serena
My friend Oscar is singing a serenade..!
Pisco Elqui-central Square
The local fisherman at Totorolillo Beach
Travel Tips for La Serena
For a traveler without a car or other source of ready transportation, the beach area seems a bit seperate from the city of La Serena. The beach is a very long stretch of sand that has a fair supply of beachfront restaurants and many hotels/apart hotels. There is nothing much to see or do except for the sand and surf if you stay in that area. A taxi into the town runs 2500-3000 pesos from the beach area furthest south of town. You need to decide early on whether you want the beach experience or to locate in town. However, if you can find a room close to the El Faro/lighthouse, you should be able to walk into El Centro pretty easily. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds for both city and beach.
From what I was told, the beach area is a real mess of traffic and people in the summer months of January/February. Luckily, we were there in November and there was virtually no traffic on Av del Mar, very few people on the sand and the hotels were close to empty. It was dead quiet at night except for the sounds of the surf. On the downside, most of the beachfront restaurants were closed except for the summer months. We found only one open restaurant within walking distance of our apartment (luckily it was excellent).
Another benefit of being on the beach during the off season, was the price of our cabana. It had a kitchen, bathroom, seperate bedroom with small balcony, cable TV and it was just across the street from the beach. Cost for 2 persons in low season was 18000 pesos. In January/February the same place was 45000 pesos. Breakfast was included. Walking along the beautiful beach, almost deserted in the off-season. At night look across the bay and see the lights of Coquimbo on the hills.
We were in Elqui Valley. We stopped in Vicuña and then I remembered Gabriela Mistral's museum was there. I asked the guide but it wasn't on the schedule so what now? I decided to run and go by myself, but the next minute I was in the company van with the guide and driver, Jorge, on the wheel. Jorge was a lovable, gentle and knowledgeable teacher who obviously loved his work. So he took me to the museum on the condition I wouldn't be long..But long is an abstract idea if you don't have figures. So I was carried away browsing at every little article of Gabriela Mistral's life and reading some of her verses. Just as I was trying to copy something on my notepad, two TV people came up to me put up their camera straight to my face and asked for an interview. As much as I complained about my lack of Spanish fluency and my so so little time left there was no result! I had also almost no chance to come back another time...but nevertheless, I chose to make an effort to say something as a tribute to this wonderful poetess. But what? My knowledge at that moment was inadequate even for a simple multiple question. On the spur of the moment some recent information came to my mind. It was 2 minutes ago, reading about her life. So after introducing myself-that was the easy part- I said, transforming the English words into Spanish by changing the ending."She was very sensitive and modest...". Of course the words were corrected by the reporters and I repeated them. I went on with some details from my scarce information.
The next day I went to a bookstore to buy Neruda's and Mistral's poems. The people in the store recognised me immediately...and told me I had been ..on the news the night before..! And I hadn't made ..any mistakes !??
I'm giving you what I had the time to copy ..it's the first rule of her Decalogue for teachers."1. To be a teacher you must have a heart full of love !"
...I am a teacher, too....
FRAY JORGE NATIONAL PARK
This is a small (each year is getting smaller) National Park located 140km to the SW of La serena.
The vegetation here grows thanks to the permanent coastal clouds that come from the beachand rain at a certain altitude the majority of the year.
The entrance is regulated by CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal).
The best months for visiting are from October to early June.
Besides vegetation at Fray Jorge, you can also see some foxs walking around.
They can get very close to you if you have the kindness of giving them a piece of bread to eat.
CHURCHES OF ARCHITECTURAL PATRIMONY.
There are more than 30 churches in La Serena.
The one you see here is called Sn Agustín's Church and it's a National Monument. You can see it's Eclectic style.
It was built in 1672 by the Jesuitas. In 1768 is transfered to the Agustinas Religious Order.
The city has kept its historic architecture, has the efficiency of a city and bares a very suitable name. It's serene, quite, peaceful.... The long sandy beach and the beautiful buildings in the quiet streets make it special. Walking is really pleasant.
The city is about 470 klms from Santiago. It was founded in 1544, was burnt down and refounded in 1549. There are four museums for you to explore . The Historic Museum of Gabriel Gonzales Vileda (Matta 495), the Archeological Museum with Indian handicraft (Cienfuegos 224), the Colonial Museum of Religious Art (Balmceda 640) and the Minerology Musem Ignacio Domeyco (Anfion Muñoz 870), and the Japanese Garden. Walking in the city and Plaza de Armas is nice..
There is Elqui Valley nearby, one of the highlights in Chile.
La Recova is the biggest Market with artesanias, woollen clothes and musical instruments.
Damas island makes a good day trip, too. It's a bare rocky island with a lot wild donkeys and sea mammals.
Popular Hotels in La Serena