Tours and Activities:
Walking on SunshineMarcelo Sola Marcelo Sola
During our visit to the city, we toured around the local beaches: a healthy way to make contact with the environment.
Far from what its name could make us believe, La Serena –which means “the quiet one” in Spanish-, is a very busy city. It has an intense university life and a dynamic commercial rhythm as a result of the fruit and mining exploitation along with pisco production and countless cultural events held every day in various areas of town. Its historical center lodges the most important government buildings and the hectic coming and going of pedestrians and motorists is constant. In addition to all this, the great tourist boom has changed the city into one of the most popular bathing resorts in the country. Wishing to be away from the hustle and bustle, we searched to keep far from the shopping malls in search of a look onto the sea. The unstable water scenery is generally useful to relax our senses as we enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine.
For such purpose, we crossed shady Francisco de Aguirre Avenue and ended up in the well-known Avenida del Mar (Seafront Avenue). This artery frames a vast 6-kilometer-long seafront next to a broad beach bordered by the most exclusive tourist infrastructure in the region. A wide range of hotels, apartments, cabins and guesthouses are available for tourists in search of accommodation. The bathing resorts on these shores offer great quality of service and prestige. Our tour began opposite the Monumental Lighthouse. Considered an icon of La Serena and built in 1953, it stands out from the surrounding beaches due to its remarkable height. Its impressive 28 meters permit visitors to have a great panoramic sight of the city and the beach from its top.
The tour continued towards the South. In spite of being almost midday, the intense coast mist or “camanchaca” seemed to refuse to leave. This mist, very typical of the area, is generated by the condensation of masses of humid air that pass over the Humboldt sea current, which causes the coast to have between 60 and 80 % of relative humidity in contrast with the weather in La Serena inland valleys. Before we could notice it, “Los Fuertes”, “Mansa”, “Playa Blanca” and “La Barca” Beaches followed one another. The squawking of seagulls seemed to multiply as the sea advanced over the fine sand. It is important to point out that the area occupied by Avenida del Mar has bicycle paths to go on amusing rides along the waterfront by bike or else on roller skates. The mist soon disappeared and the blue line of the horizon was laid out before our eyes. The Pacific Ocean offers good waves for lovers of surfing, windsurfing and sky surfing in these latitudes.
We continued walking and went past “Cuatro Esquinas”, “La Marina”, “El Pescador” and “El Corsario” Beaches. As we advanced, we observed how the various bathing resorts presented interesting proposals. Some of them specialized in preparing tropical drinks made with fruit juice; others organize gym and yoga lessons by the sea. There are some places where there are paddle tennis courts or football pitches to practice sports and even children have a favorite bathing resort as ball pits and trampolines await them to spend very amusing moments.
Safety on La Serena beaches is taken care of at all times. Carabineros on their bikes or horses circulate around the area constantly to protect the tourists’ personal belongings or answer questions made by visitors. The last stop we made was on “Canto del Agua” Beach. We had left “Hipocampo” and “Las Gaviotas” Beaches behind. We had passed by the huge waterfront of La Serena, far from the city noise. It was an excellent way to tour around the most exclusive bathing resorts in town as we took our time to discover the magic of the beach. This is an ideal excursion to enjoy as soon as you arrive in the city, to get to know your way around. Another equally tempting option is to go on this tour at sunset, when the sky turns as red as fire.