This Obsevatory was built in 1995 as a need to offer to the general public the chance to get a guided tour to observe the stars.
As you might know, the North of Chile is worldwide known as the best place in the Southern Hemisphere for astronomic observations, because of it's clear and blue skies.
Important Observatories like Gemini, La Silla and Tololo which are also placed in this region, are only destined to professionals. Because of the high cost of observation and maintenance, it's not open to general public. Although, you can ask for a guided tour with a month in advance, just to take a look to the facilities (not for observation).
Mamalluca is the best choice for local people and tourists who'd like to have a night of observation in the area.
It's always good to call the same day to ask for the weather forecast just in case.
Adults: US$5.00 p/p
Children (5 - 12 years old): US$2.00 p/p
*you have to pay in the office first, located in the town of Vicuna, and then follow the route to the Observatory (20 km away).
There are tours in Spansih and English.
*Photo: taken from www.circuloastronomico.cl*
Don't know if this is a really "must see activity", but some people might be interested too.
This is the Flea Market in La Serena, there are lot of stuff.........but I have only found junk ha ha ha.
Anyway, you'll lose nothing if you just take a look here.
It's open on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm.
This is the most important hand-crafts center in La Serena. Lot of Peruvian and Bolivian products as well as local hand-crafts and food.
This is a good place to purchase souvenirs and taste the typical food, restaurants are in the second floor.
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.
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).
Guanaqueros is a fisherman's town located 45 minutes to the South of La Serena.
It's beach is very nice during the year and during summer it can be very crowded.
There are some good popular restaurants here, like the one called "El Pequeño", where you can get a wide variety of fish and seafood.
There are lots of camping sites and cabins where you can stay.
This is the Vineyard Casa Tamaya. Tamaya in Diaguitas language (the indians who lived in the Limari area) means "High place from where you can watch it all".
This Vineyard is located 2 hours to the SE of La Serena, on the road to Ovalle.
Casa Tamaya has 220 hectares from which 180 are planted and in production.
This Vineyard started in 1997 and it's main stubs are: Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc (white grapes); Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmènére, Syrah and Sangiovese (red grapes).
During 2001 they started the construction of the storeroom (1.470.000 liters).
This town is located 60 km from La Serena.
It's mostly a mining and religious town.
There are 3 important mines there : DAYTON (gold and copper) which is already closed, MINA CARMEN (copper), and Minera Andacollo.
There are also 2 Historical Monuments:
Iglesia Parroquial of Andacollo and
Iglesia Grande of Andacollo.
The Enchanted Valley (Valle del Encanto)
is also regulated by CONAF.
This was an old indigenous establishment where you can still find pictographies, petroglyphs and mortar stones.
This Archaeologic place was discovered in 1946 and was declared National Historic Monument in 1973.
It's located 24 km to the SE of Ovalle.
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.
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!.
It takes 35 to 40 minutes to get to the first town - called Vicuña - of this Valley (from La Serena).
There are lots of small towns along the way up, Monte Grande and Pisco Elqui are some of those.
It's always warm (hot in Summer) here and the temperatures use to go down at night.
There are many Hostals, Cabins and Campings where you can stay for a few bucks.
Don't miss to visit the place where the "Pisco" is made (a special licquor made of grapes) and taste the well known "Pisco Sour", a typical drink.
If you can, try to spend at least one night here..........watching the stars under this wonderful clear sky is just fascinating!!!!!!!!!.
If you want more information just let me know ;o)
This is one of the most touristic spots of La Serena. Kilometers of beaches!!!!.
There are many good places (pubs and restaurants) along the beach.
I suggest Don Oskar's restaurant (fish and seafood) and Tololo's Beach Pub Restaurant.
Close to the "Caleta de pescadores" (south end of the Avenida del Mar) there are some very good and cheap restaurants like "Doña Elbita", "La Lobera" and others.
Take your time to have a glass of good Chilean wine and wait for an amazing sunset.........
Complete the trip to La Serena and go for the tour at Pisco Capel, the biggest name in pisco in all of Chile. Sample the selections afterward.
This is a pretty place to go and take a look.
Just a few areas are allowed to the general public and it's really nice. You can also go to the restaurant here, which is called El Chiringuito.