La Serena is a coastal city in Chile, halfway between Valparaiso and Copiapó. It was established in 16th century, and today is a popular tourist destination due to its beaches and proximity to the Elqui Valley. Our time in La Serena was short but lovely. We took a bus from Valparaiso to La Serena and arrived in the morning. In the evening of the same day we took our next bus to San Pedro de Atacama. La Serena is not a big city, but it definitely has its charm. Here our some tips on what to do in La Serena.
1. Go to the beach
If the weather allows, of course. Depending on a season, La Serena can be a great place to lie under the sun or swim in the ocean. Even if it’s a little colder, you can still enjoy it alone or with some company.
2. Watch sunrise or sunset by “El Faro”, La Serena’s lighthouse
In terms of the view, sunset might be a better option due to the sun going down in the west. We, however, enjoyed the quiet sunrise – at that point there are not many people around and you can get some great photos and enjoy your morning tea overlooking the ocean.
3. Take a walk from “El Faro” to Plaza Buenos Aires
There are so many sculptures of people we didn’t know! Enjoy this nice long walk, and don’t forget to stop by one of the bakeries on the way to get some empanadas.
4. Check out La Recova
Listed as a shopping mall on Google Maps, it actually is more of a central market. There’s many things you can get, but not all of them are the typical touristic souvenirs. On the second floor you can find some cafes and restaurants.
5. Stop for food at the Boulevard – La Serena’s food truck corner
Located not that far from the Archaeological Museum of La Serena, Boulevard Terraza offers differnet food options. We liked it not because it serves typical Chilean food (it doesn’t), but because of its unique atmosphere. And who doesn’t love food trucks?
6. Go to Plaza de Armas
We found this square both relaxing and intense at the same time. On one hand, it’s a very nice place to enjoy yourself or the company of your travel buddy. On the other hand, there were so many beggars in this park that every few minutes somebody would come to us asking for money. We didn’t feel completely safe sitting there, but it is a nice park, so check it out!
7. Visit the Archaeological museum of La Serena
When we were visiting La Serena, it was under the reconstruction, so we only got to see a small part. It did seem very promising though, so if you are in La Serena, give it a go and let us know how it went!
8. Try Chilean food
There’s plenty of places to eat in La Serena, why not try something local? Chorrillana (giant plate of fries, meat, onions, eggs, sausages and other good stuff), pastel de choclo (corn based delightfulness) and much more – enjoy it while you can!
9. Walk the cozy streets of La Serena
We really enjoyed this city, it’s charming and it’s lovely. A one-day stopover is definitely worth it!