La SerenaRegión de Coquimbo
The main characteristics of this historic and tourist city, founded in 1544, are its many beaches, old colonial building, pisco and papayas. It is also famous for its 29 churches of outstanding architecture and bustling nightlife that captivates tourists and Chileans, especially in the summertime.
Some of the more popular beaches are Canto de Agua, La Marina, Mansa, Blanca and Las Gaviotas But the city offers so much more to visitors. Below are some of its most leading attractions.
Founded in 1544 on a cliff south of the Elqui River’s mouth to the Pacific, La Serena is the second oldest city in Chile (Santiago is the oldest, established in 1541). It has about 150,000 inhabitants and is unique among the great cities of the country in that it still retains its Spanish architectural heritage. Chile was one of the poorest and most remote colonies of Spain, which is also reflected in its architecture. Serena does not match the beauty of the colonial jewels of Andean countries such as Mexico or Cuba, but art fans will enjoy a few Mannerist style (late Renaissance) buildings and stone churches that survived pirate attacks.
Most of the city was built during the silver boom of the 19th century or after 1950 in a Baroque and "neocolonial” style. You can see the towers of the churches along the horizon, and even the mall respects the traditional style. In recent years, La Serena has experienced a remarkable improvement in its infrastructure, burying most electric and telephone cables under the new stone pavement. Nowhere else in the country will give you a better impression of what colonial Chile was like in the olden days. The beaches are among the best in Chile, and in the summertime you can enjoy plenty of activities.
La Serena is also an ideal starting point to visit different nature reserves, both to the south and the north or Elqui Valley in the east.