La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile

The port of Coquimbo is the gateway to La Serena, founded in 1544. Located in the transition zone between Chile's austere Atacama Desert and the country's fertile central valley, La Serena is a popular holiday resort. The nearby Elqui Valley is an agricultural center famed for grapes, papaya and cherimoya. The region was also home to the pre-Columbian Diaguita and El Molle cultures, noted for their fine ceramics and jewelry.

La Serena's central Plaza de Armas is home to superb colonial buildings and a 19th-century cathedral. La Recova - the artisan's marketplace - features copper and silver jewelry, glass works and ceramics.

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Points of Interest

  • Tololo Observatory
  • Elqui Valley
  • Pisco District
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Petroglyphs
  • Vineyards
  • La Serena
  • La Recova Market
Learn about these Points of Interest

More about La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile Points of Interest

  • Tololo Observatory

    Let yourself be guided on a journey to the stars at the sixth largest astronomical observatory in the Southern Hemisphere, featuring powerful telescopes and awe-inspiring mountain views.

  • Elqui Valley

    The towering Andes rise above the historic and breathtaking Elqui Valley. A popular destination for hiking and trekking, many come to the valley to relax among the grape vines and lemon trees.

  • Pisco District

    Nestled in the Elqui Valley, the Pisco District is where the region's famous grape brandy, or pisco, is produced, as part of a long-standing tradition begun by the Spanish in the 16th century.

  • Archaeological Museum

    Founded in 1943, this La Serena museum boasts a 12,000-piece collection of artifacts, including pre-Columbian pottery, an Easter Island moai, a variety of fossils and maps.

  • Petroglyphs

    Blanketing the Enchanted Valley National Historic Monument, numerous petroglyphs offer a glimpse into cultures past, including stone engravings and painted figures dating as far back as 2,000 B.C.

  • Vineyards

    Taste the fruits of Chile's acclaimed wine industry by exploring the vineyards around La Serena.

  • La Serena

    La Serena is a popular holiday resort. Plaza de Armas is home to superb colonial buildings and a 19th-century cathedral. La Recova - the artisan's marketplace - features copper and silver jewelry, glass works and ceramics.

  • La Recova Market

8 EXCURSIONS

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La Serena On Your Own

4 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-185
  • La Serena

The port of Coquimbo is the gateway to La Serena, founded in 1544. Located in the transition zone between Chile's austere Atacama Desert and the country's fertile central valley, La Serena is a popular holiday resort. From Coquimbo board your transport and enjoy a 30-minute scenic transfer that takes you to the heart of La Serena. Disembark at a central location that provides easy access to taxis, shopping and restaurants. Then set out on your own for several hours of free time to explore the many sights and delights of this fascinating city. La Serena's central Plaza de Armas is home to superb colonial buildings and a 19th-century cathedral. La Recova - the artisan's marketplace - features copper and silver jewelry, glass works and ceramics.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$69.95

City Drive & La Recova Market (Guided in German)

3.5 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-203
  • La Recova Market

Come and experience history, neocolonial architecture, and natural beauty in captivating La Serena, the regional capital of Norte Chile. Shopping for local handicrafts at the charming La Recova Market offers boundless treasures: everything from alpaca woolens and Diguita-inspired pottery to tantalizing snacks and treats. Stops at La Herradura, one of Chile's most popular beach resorts and the observation point at La Serena University provides you with innumerable photo opportunities. And the narrated drive past the old lighthouse, a towering presence on the charming Avenida del Mar, to the lovingly-preserved churches and historic homes of the tranquil Plaza de Armas completes your journey on this easy half-day tour.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$79.95

City Drive & La Recova Market

3.5 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-200

Come and experience history, neocolonial architecture, and natural beauty in captivating La Serena, the regional capital of Norte Chile. Shopping for local handicrafts at the charming La Recova Market offers boundless treasures: everything from alpaca woolens and Diguita-inspired pottery to tantalizing snacks and treats. Stops at La Herradura, one of Chile's most popular beach resorts and the observation point at La Serena University provides you with innumerable photo opportunities. And the narrated drive past the old lighthouse, a towering presence on the charming Avenida del Mar, to the lovingly-preserved churches and historic homes of the tranquil Plaza de Armas completes your journey on this easy half-day tour.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$79.95

Pisco Distillery & Elqui Valley (Guided in German)

8 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-213
  • Elqui Valley
  • Pisco District

Experience a kaleidoscope of enticing colors and shapes, aromas and tastes plus history and culture too on a moderate full-day tour through the Elqui Valley. Your adventure begins in Coquimbo, the source of swashbuckling pirate legends. Savor the narrated drive past seaside resorts accompanied by colorful tales of Henry Drake, the English privateer. Following the "route of the grapes" into the Elqui Valley, stop at one of the area's renowned Pisco distilleries. Sample the potent brandy made from distilled grape juice and learn how the popular drink Pisco Sour came to be. While you're in Vicuna, see the Mistral Monument commemorating the lifework of Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral. You'll shop for souvenirs at La Recova Market, a one-time fortress housing colonial cannons, stop for lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy the scenic drive back to your ship for a deep personal connection with this remarkable part of the world.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$179.95

Pisco Distillery & Elqui Valley

8 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-210
  • Elqui Valley
  • Pisco District

Experience a kaleidoscope of enticing colors and shapes, aromas and tastes plus history and culture too on a moderate full-day tour through the Elqui Valley. Your adventure begins in Coquimbo, the source of swashbuckling pirate legends. Savor the narrated drive past seaside resorts accompanied by colorful tales of Henry Drake, the English privateer. Following the "route of the grapes" into the Elqui Valley, stop at one of the area's renowned Pisco distilleries. Sample the potent brandy made from distilled grape juice and learn how the popular drink Pisco Sour came to be. While you're in Vicuna, see the Mistral Monument commemorating the lifework of Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral. stop for lunch at a local restaurant. You'll shop for souvenirs at La Recova Market, and enjoy the scenic drive back to your ship, for a deep personal connection with this remarkable part of the world.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$179.95

Petroglyphs, Viña Tabali Winery & Wine Tasting

7 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-120
  • Petroglyphs
  • Vineyards

The astonishing Enchanted Valley, with its beautifully-preserved 4000-year-old petroglyphs and pictographs brings ancient cultures to life. Discovered in 1946 and declared a National Historic Monument of Chile in 1972, the site holds great historical and cultural importance with beautifully-preserved stone carvings that depict lofty personages with curious antenna and sparkling tiarras. See pictographs of sun, snake and fishlike forms and peer into hollowed out mortar stones used to grind grains and prepare paints. This strenuous full-day tour also takes you to the Tabali Winery for a guided tour and wine sampling with time to shop for your favorite vintage. And you'll savor a tantalizing barbeque lunch at a restaurant located at the foot of the Andes. Dine on traditional dishes and sip a Pisco Sour. Sipping the national drink, local grape brandy plus lemon or lime juice and bitters, will round out your Chilean experience.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$179.95

Tololo Observatory

5.75 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-111
  • Tololo Observatory
  • Elqui Valley

Experience the world of professional astronomers on an exciting guided tour of Cerro Tololo, the sixth-largest astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere, founded in 1965. Your 5.75-hour adventure begins with a two-hour scenic drive through Elqui Valley traversing the rugged landscape then passing by verdant papaya orchards and green vineyards leading into the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. A private road winds through the foothills of the Andes Mountains as you begin your ascent to the 6,000-foot-level of Mount Tololo. Engage in a special guided visit of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). View several telescopes, auxiliary instruments and domes up close and enjoy an informative talk about the nature of the universe and the observatory's research on the Milky Way Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds. Afterwards, continue back to the valley, a semi-arid paradise said to possess a rare mystic-magnetic energy. Stop for refreshments in an informal atmosphere before continuing back to port.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$194.95

Tololo Observatory & Elqui Valley

8 hours | La Serena (Coquimbo) | COW-110
  • Tololo Observatory
  • Elqui Valley

View the highlights of the dynamic port city of Coquimbo and the regional capital of La Serena before heading into the rolling hills of the Elqui Valley. The adventure takes you past papaya groves and muscatel vineyards and through the cactus-dotted Atacama Desert. Arriving at Cerro Tololo, the most prestigious observatory in a region blessed with phenomenally clear skies, marvel at the Andes Mountains from the white-domed mountaintop. During a special guided tour of the facility, view the telescopes and domes up close and enjoy an informative talk about the nature of the universe. Afterwards, continue back through the valley, a semi-arid paradise said to possess a rare mystic-magnetic energy. Stop for a Chilean lunch in an informal atmosphere before continuing to Vicuña, famous for its Pisco producers and Nobel Laureate, Gabriela Mistral. Complete your moderate full-day tour with sightseeing along the Pan-American Highway past La Serena's enchanting seaside resorts.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$239.95