1. Learn surf at the beach,
or just chill out having a coffee sitting on the sand. It will depend on the beach you’d like to visit. Los Fuertes Beach is a good place to practice surf. It is also near the famous lighthouse, a landmark to visit here in La Serena (find it at the end of Francisco de Aguirre avenue).
Del Mar Avenue is where most of the restaurant and pubs are. You’ll immediately notice the style is very different from the city centre, since it was meant to be for tourists.
2. Start your downtown tour at Plaza de armas.
Make this picturesque square your starting point to discover La Serena old city centre.
3. Go church hunting.
La Serena has 29 churches, which given its size, it is quite an impressive number. Some of them are worth seeing. From my non-religious point of view, the most interesting ones for me were La Serena Cathedral, located on a side of Plaza de Armas. It is rather modest inside compared to other Cathedrals, but the exterior is still amazing.
Santo Domingo Church has a really beautiful bell tower and a small square with four sculptures and a fountain. Finally, San Francisco Church is the oldest in la Serena, so it is kind of a must.
4. Enter the municipality.
You can get inside this neocolonial building and admire its interior patio.
5. Roam around Gabriel Gonzalez Videla House and museum.
For those who are not familiar with the history of Chile, Gabriel was a Chilean president back in 1946 to 1952. The Museum has nothing about the life of the president, but some modern art and a bunch of historic artefacts.
Sadly, it is being restored, since the last earthquake caused mayor damages inside. That’s why I couldn’t take any photo.
Good thing to have in mind: the admission is free.
6. Learn about pre-Columbian past at Museo Arqueológico.
Among the things that I truly liked about this museum are the moai (though I reckon it should be in Easter Island, the Atacameña mummy (one of the oldest in the world), the chonos boat and the interior patio.
7. Enjoy traditional Chilean food at La Recova.
Just like my daughter is doing, La Recova is a great place to enjoy the flavours of Chile and also, make it cheap (The restaurants are in the second floor). Plus, there is a craft-market inside it, where you can buy souvenir for your family and friends. If you are brave enough, buy and then try a jar of copao ham- a ham made of the fruit of the cactus of the area.
8. Roam along the largest Japanese Garden in South America.
Kokoro no Niwa is the Japanese name of this quiet oasis in the middle of the city, where you’ll be able to see koi ponds, tiny bridges and pagodas, waving paths and picturesque trees. There’s also a bonsai collection.
It is opened from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5:30 pm. The entry fee is only 1000 Chilean pesos.
If you are visiting during the summer, it is better to do it in the morning, since it gets pretty crowded in the afternoon.
Address: 350 Francisco de Aguirre Av.
9. Treat yourself at Patio Colonial.
I mean, why not? The place is truly beautiful.
10. Enjoy the view of the city from Santa Lucía Viewpoint.
11. Kids friendly.
La Serena has a bunch of activities to enjoy with kids, inside and outside the city. Most tours offer discounts for kids, and depending on the age, they might not pay at all.
If you liked the idea of your kid surfing, the surf school my daughter attended is called BONZER. All the teachers are really good. I’ll leave you the prices below.
And, if you are walking towards the surf school from the Faro Monumntal, you’ll see a wee train your kids can also enjoy.