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1. La Serena {English}

Capital of the IV Region, La Serena was founded in 1544 and it is the second most ancient city in Chile.

Important things in city center
Cradle of many national monuments when touring around its streets, the past and the history of this city can be breathed in the atmosphere. It is advisable to have a city map at hand. Visitors can get one at the Tourist Office.
At the Plaza de Armas a large fountain sculpted in stone and made by Samuel Román -awarded with the Premio Nacional de Arte in 1964- stands out.

On the corner of Cordovez and Matta Streets, we found the Gabriel González Videla house and museum which was built in 1894 and it is the only preserved house around the square. 

Where to buy?
LaRecova it’s a market and it’s more important than any other market in the area. Anything may be found in this place: stone handicrafts, Pre-Columbian pottery works inspired by the diaguita culture, flower pots, precious stone jewelry made with lapis lazuli, alpaca wool items, huayacan wood, books, musical instruments and everything you can imagine. As well, homemade pastries stand out, especially sugar-coated papaya which is native from the region. Manjar blanco (milk jam) which is as delicious as traditional milk jam.

Tours
It is well known that pisco is considered the national drink in Chile. But, where is this delicious liqueur with an intense aroma of fruit made? The answer to this question may be found across the Elqui Valley, where the most important pisco producers in the country are located. These venues offer amusing tours around their facilities so that tourists visiting these latitudes may learn about the secrets and virtues of this ancient alcoholic beverage.

Far from what its name could make us believe, La Serena –which means “the quiet one” in Spanish-, is a very busy city like Santiago. It has an intense university life but it’s less than in the capital city and it has a dynamic commercial rhythm as a result of the fruit and mining exploitation along with pisco production and countless cultural events held every day in various areas of town. The unstable water scenery is generally useful to relax our senses as we enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine.
You can find the Monumental Lighthouse that is as high as a building and is considered an icon of La Serena and built in 1953, it stands out from the surrounding beaches due to its remarkable height. Its impressive 28 meters permit visitors to have a great panoramic sight of the city and the beach from its top.
In Francisco de Aguirre Avenue –known as Avenida del Mar- a wide range of hotels, apartments, cabins and guesthouses are available for tourists in search of accommodation.
It is important to point out that the area occupied by Avenida del Mar has bicycle paths to go on amusing rides along the waterfront by bike or else on roller skates, it is like a little street only for roller skaters or bikers.
The Pacific Ocean offers good waves as good as Australian waves for lovers of surfing.  Some bathing resorts are specialized in preparing tropical drinks made with fruit juice; others organize gym and yoga lessons by the sea.
Safety on La Serena beaches is taken care of at all timesCarabineros on their bikes or horses circulate around the area constantly to protect the tourists personal belongings or answer questions made by visitors. 
 

The Third Millenium Cross
It is found in the city of Coquimbo, 20 from La Serena. The structure is 93 meters high and rises from 157 meters, above sea level.
The structure’s design itself has several Christianity symbols, in its base: It has an equilateral triangle that represents the Divinity; in its arms: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
The twelve apostles are represented by twelve columns
This structure dominates a 360º view of the Coquimbo’s peninsula.

 

Japanese Park or Park Of The Heart
Located across Pedro de Valdivia Park, on the side of route 5 (Panamerican Highway). It has a circular layout where Japanese culture is shown through art works and typical buildings.
Enjoy its beautiful fountains, ample green areas, stones passes, paths of cherry flowered trees, bamboo fences, a stone garden and a marina.

Collowara Observatory
Just an hour from La Serena, in Andacollo at 1.300 mts elevation, begins with a explicative talk about the universe which is given by a guide who is specialized in the topic. The hall where the talk is given is wide and comfortable, very similar to a cinema. After the talk, outside the observatory, the guide explains us, with the help of a laser pointer, about the constellations and their location, encouraging us to use our imagination. Later on and after we watch the sky with our bear eyes we go to the telescopes which are placed in special way to have a 360º sight.

Enjoy Casino, Resort & Spa
“Enjoy” is the only 5 stars resort in the region. It is placed in Coquimbo, but it’s on Avenida del Mar, a street that La Serena and Coquimbo share. It has good access to beaches and a beautiful view.
“Enjoy” offers to its visitors entertainment on the casino, lodging at three different types of rooms depending of the price, and relaxation at the spa. You can go for a walk in Coquimbo or La Serena, or you can stay in the building, swim in the pool, watch movies, go dancing or bet your money.

Mar De Ensueño Hotel
It is placed on Avenida del Mar that has directly connection at the beach and it’s close to the Monumental Lighthouse. You can have everything you need in this place: beautiful view to the beach, swimming pool, room services and even massages.
There are different types of rooms, depending of the price and the size, from single to familiar rooms.
It’s cheaper than “Enjoy”, because you have all the comfort without so much luxury.

As you can see, La Serena it’s a very busy city, where you have all the entertainment of all the types, from relaxing at the beach, dancing like it’s the last night of your life, know about things like history or the process of the pisco or you can even see the stars like you’re in the space.
I recommend this city for its variety of activities to do and the beautiful landscape, those things will make your vacation unforgettable.
 

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