What to do and see in La Serena, Chile: The Best Places and Tips

March 22, 2018 Cedrick Jardin

Discover the best top things to do in La Serena, Chile including Mundo Caballo, Valle del Elqui, Isla Damas, Valle del Elqui, Jardin del Corazon, Punta Choros, Catedral de La Serena, Avenida del Mar, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Fray Jorge National Park.
Restaurants in La Serena

1. Mundo Caballo

Parcela 17. LA VILLA El Arrayan | Parcela 17. La Villa. Km. 27 Ruta la Serena - Vicuna, La Serena, Chile +56 9 9334 2785
Excellent
94%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 153 reviews

Mundo Caballo

By four generations we have lived and worked together with our horses. Come to live an experience riding or participate in traditional activities and enjoy the countryside in the Valle del Elqui, in day and night. Join us as we visited those from countries around the world and cities of Chile.WELCOME!

Reviewed By Villa_Adriatica - Supetar

One of my best life experiences. It is hard to describe, but the views, horses, colors and fragrances of these Mountains make this horseback ride - Just Magical.
Marcello is the 4th generation of this wonderful family (father still lives on the ranch) taking care of the horses and making this ride available for all generations, i would say 7 - 77! This one is NOT TO MISS. If you are in Chile - call Marcello and arrange your daily trip or even overnight in the Mountains (on my wishlist).

2. Valle del Elqui

La Serena, Chile +56 51 245 1917
Excellent
72%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Valle del Elqui

This beautifully landscaped valley is rumored to be linked with extraterrestrial activity throughout the years.

Reviewed By Shawnino - Halifax, Canada

We arranged a small-group tour with Ecoturismo in La Serena for seven pasengers off the cruise ship. A nice drive through some beautiful scenery with stops at the dam (quite an engineering feat) and in the town of Vicuña to meander around. Worth doing.

3. Isla Damas

La Serena, Chile +56 51 221 8970
Excellent
75%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 752 reviews

Isla Damas

Reviewed By ochassot - Santa Ana, Costa Rica

The trip to Isla Damas and the Humbold Penguin National Park is a must if you love the sea and its creatures: you will see sea otters, penguins, dolphins, whales and many other beautiful species. Landscapes are beautiful.

4. Valle del Elqui

el Valle se extiende durante toda la carretera, La Serena, Chile +56 9 9127 9095
Excellent
77%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 143 reviews

Valle del Elqui

Reviewed By HotelierJohn - Ontario, Canada

The entire Elqui valley is popular with Chileans. Most international tours include only Santiago and the extremes of Chile (the Atacama desert, glacier country, and Tierra del Fuego). Elqui is special, and within manageable driving distance of Santiago. The star viewing can be just as good as Atacama -- and there is still something green (and wet) in the scenery!

5. Jardin del Corazon

Avenida Francisco De Aguirre 350, La Serena 1710132, Chile 5651217013
Excellent
66%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 579 reviews

Jardin del Corazon

Reviewed By Jnanayog - St. John's, Canada

Our 3rd visit in 4 years and hope it's not the last. When you can find such a tranquil and beautiful Garden in what is primarily a touristic Beach Town, it gives you an additional reason to want to return. One does not have to have a vegetable and/or floral garden to appreciate this specific space. The Garden is a donation from 2 large Japanese Company's. Within the Garden one can meet some of the principles of Feng Shui face to face and if you are a Senior you get a discounted entrance price.

6. Punta Choros

La Serena, Chile +56 51 221 8970
Excellent
61%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 524 reviews

Punta Choros

Reviewed By chitownsam - Chicago, Illinois

We took a van (tour) to Punta Choros. We didn't have to deal with any logistics. There are buses which will take you here from La Serena. We arrived on a December weekday morning. The area was completely deserted other than the couple of people selling items on the pier and the several people who were going to take us on the boat tour to Isla Damas and Isla Choros. There is a paid bathroom as well as a paid shower available but the couple of stores and restaurants were closed. I don't know when they open. There was only the one boat tour while we were there. Be sure to check to see when/if they are operating if you are to venture here on your own.

7. Catedral de La Serena

Gregorio Cordovez 327, La Serena 1710116, Chile +56 51 221 6956
Excellent
47%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 205 reviews

Catedral de La Serena

Reviewed By princesscruisers - Edmonton

After a very inexpensive local bus ride to La Serena's square from the port of Coquimbo Chile we had a pleasant time walking around this area and through this picturesque church, nothing outstanding but nice to see. There were many other niche stores and sites around the church and square.

8. Avenida del Mar

La Serena, Chile +56 51 221 8970
Excellent
45%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 913 reviews

Avenida del Mar

Sparkling Beaches, hot hotels and local restaurants line this city street.

Reviewed By Dan L - Bunbury, Australia

The Avenue of the Sea is located in the most important tourist sector of La Serena. It begins at the Monumental Lighthouse of La Serena and extends for little more than four kilometers to the neighboring sector of Peñuelas in Coquimbo. There are some delightful beach areas, condominiums, hotels and restaurants but parts of the area are largely underdeveloped. there is a bike lane and pedestrian path. There were not many tourists in sight when we visited in early April.

9. Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

Colina El Pino s/n | Casilla 603, La Serena, Chile (011)-56-51-2205200
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 81 reviews

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

Reviewed By Globebugs - Australia

CTIO is located on Cerro Tololo which is a rather long dusty ride either on a bus or by car. The winding road after leaving Vicuna is well worth eating the dust and getting queasy from too many switchback corners!
Once there you are given a chance for a 'rest stop' and then escorted throughout this complex. It's all rather impersonal but you are not here for the friendly tour but for the importance and viability of searching the heavens. Security is tight, however we came through our cruise ship so all that was taken care of ahead of the tour.
If visiting from a cruise ship try and book this tour asap when tours go on sale - it sold out in a matter of days and very few cancelled this very unique excursion. The tour lasts for a couple of hours - the guide shows you how certain equipment works plus explains interesting facts and figures on what they achieve - bit dry for non aficionados though.
There are no facilities up here except the rest rooms so bring your own water and snacks for the bus. Free time afterwards allows you to enjoy the endless views over this barren landscape. It can get cool because you are at elevation but the sun is relentless on exposed areas of skin - wear and pack some sunscreen items.
We loved it! Come here if you can arrange it.
Enjoy your experience!

10. Fray Jorge National Park

Route 5, La Serena, Chile
Excellent
49%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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4.5 based on 141 reviews

Fray Jorge National Park

The multiple ecosystems in this immense park include Valdivian Forests overflowing with ferns and cinnamon trees, and is home to a variety of species including eagles, pumas and guanacos.

Reviewed By MKMapman - Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

The Fray Jorge National Park is a nationally important remnant of once more extensive cloud forest. It's approached from route 5 (the Pan-American Highway) by around 25km of dirt road, which is not in too bad a condition - don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the first kilometre which has been surfaced! To a Northern European visitor the land on either side of the approach road, with many cacti in a semi-desert was at least as interesting as the National Park itself.
On entering the Park, they can give you a laminated set of rules in English; this states that the last 5km to the actual forest (which is at the top of a very steep track) should only be attempted in a 4WD. The park ranger indicated that this wasn't the case and my ordinary front wheel drive rental car should should be able to get up there. Well it did (and back down again), but it was distinctly hairy as there are patches of loose gravel on a 1 in 2 gradient...
Before attempting the trip you should in any event look in the small interpretation centre about 2km into the park; this is only in Spanish (and doesn't say much anyway) but does indicate some of the flora/fauna to look out for. Once at the top, there's a marked trail with about 24 posted markers - but unless you have the Spanish guide, they are not explained. There's also a short boardwalk for those in wheelchairs. The views, both across to the Pacific and inland, are very nice, and the vegetation is unusual, but again to a European visitor it doesn't look so very different from a lot of other Chilean vegetation.
Overall, it's interesting, but was it worth the lengthy detour from the main road and the worry about whether my rental company would have insured me had I had an accident? I'm not all that sure.

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