Valle de Elqui - Magical
It's located 90kms south-west of La Serena. Its clear skies make "valle de elqui" a wonderful place if you like watching the sky at night. Many important observatories are place here (i.e. Tololo, Mamalluca, etc). Visiting the valley it's magical and energizing. In Montegrande, one of the little towns, you can visit Gabriela Mistral's (a Chilean NObel award of literature) place where she lived.Also, take a look at the Capel Pisco factory (Pisco is the Chilean national (alcoholic) drink)
In Chile the standard tip in a restaurant is 10% which is sometimes added onto the bill but more often than not you need to leave behind on the table. If paying by credit card you can ask to add the tip to the bill and indicate the standard 10%.
Do not tip taxis.
If you drive a car in Chile, in particular Santiago then there are places where you can park for free but there may be a man or woman "helping" you to park. This person works for tips. They can wash your car while you are away usually also. The tip you pay them should be anything from 200 pesos or more depending on the length of time you stay. I usually pay around 500 pesos.
In supermarkets the people who pack your bags only work for tips. They are not paid by the supermarket. Depending on the amount of groceries you could tip anything from 50 cents up to around 500 pesos. The 10% rule is not hard and fast here, just whatever loose change you have.
ISLA DAMAS - DAMAS ISLAND
140 km to the North of La Serena there's another place of interest called Punta de Choros, from where you can take a tour to the Damas Island (a National Reserve).
Bottle nose dolphins, Humboldt pinguins, sea lions, sea gulls and other species live in there.
It's wonderful to see dozens of dolphins jumping around the boat on the way to the island.......you can also swim with them if you want to!.
This is a very neat beach located 30 minutes to the South of La Serena. Lot of surfers come here because of the good waves.
Theres a nice Hotel here called Tikitano, cabins around the beach with a Tahitian style. (one of the owners is from Tahiti).
... +| Part of SA 2005 |+ ...
For more details of my LA SERENA Travelogue (SA 2005), please visit :
10) IT’S CHILE HERE
( .. San Pedro de Atacama .. La Serena .. Vina del Mar .. Valparaiso .. )