The city of La Serena has a population of 147.815 and an altitude of 164 feet. La Serena is the second oldest city in Chile, is located 293.2 miles north from Santiago of Chile and 7.4 miles from Coquimbo.
La Serena is an international and national tourist center of the North of Chile, which makes La Serena hotels offer one of the most complete in the country.
The city counts with an extensive and privileged coast that visitors can enjoy, formed by bays and beaches with soft sands and warm waters, also provides a connection point for those traveling to the Elqui Valley area. La Serena weather with 320 days of clear skies and template temperatures makes La Serena a great spot to rest throughout the year.
La Serena city was founded in 1544 and by then it served to facilitate the maritime and land communication with Peru. La Serena was built on 4 distinctive sectors. According to its design and architecture, there are three distinctive architectonic characteristics in the city of La Serena: Colonial, Mining and Neocolonial.
La Serena:Tours in the city.
Starts at the Historical Downtown , declared Typical Area in 1981.
Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco), declared national monument. Its walls are one meter wide; the mannerism front depicts a beautiful work in white stones, brought from Peñuelas. Mass hours are from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm, Sunday at 9 and 11 am and 8 pm. In the oldest part of the building, with a Mudejar style framework, operates the Religious Art Museum (Museo de Arte Religioso), which is closed indefinitely due to repairs.
The Archeological Museum (Museo Arqueológico) is a building dating from 1943 and it’s adorned with a stone main door from 1820, which belonged to a colonial house. It has a collection of objects from pre Spaniard cultures of the near north (Norte Chico). For visits in January and February, the hours are from Tuesday to Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:45 pm, Saturday, from 10 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm, Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 1 pm. The admission ticket costs $600, children from 8 to 18 years and seniors $300, children under 8 years is free.
La Recova is the municipal market. It gets its name because it’s surrounded by arcs following the colonial cannons. It has two central patios and restaurants in the second floor. Under these arcs there’s the best craft fair of the city, where it stands out the local confectionery -specially candied papaya, in its juice and as a soft drink -, just like the white caramel, introduced in diverse forms and combinations. You will also be able to appreciate the stone craft of Juan Soldado, with fountains and plant pots, figures in combarbalita stone, semiprecious stones in lapislazuli, ceramic with Diaguita motifs and articles made of alpaca wool from Peru and Bolivia. In this area is located the Francisco de Aguirre hotel which gives you access also to the city plaza.
Giliberto House (Casa Giliberto). Built with partitions of wood and adobe, it was built in 1895 by the architect Viera, for the family Calderón Cousiño. Its 28 rooms are arranged in 2 floors surrounding a main patio; it also has an impressive viewpoint large tower.
Alfalfares House (Casa Alfalfares). It was the owner’s house of the Los Alfalfares ranch that comprehended the most riches lands adjacent to La Serena. Their owners don Félix Marín Aguirre and Mercedes Carmona, in 1876, requested the architect Eusebio Celli. From the ranch today we only have the park and the house remaining, which has been magnificently restored by the heirs. It’s a private property and access it’s not allowed. Its façade with big windows can be appreciated from the Alfalfares road. Also from the viewpoint at Los Héroes square, in front of the cemetery, you will get a nice view of the city.
La Providencia House (Casa de La Providencia), declared national monument. It forms a neoclassic group including a church and two-floor house, with an interior patio surrounded by halls in both levels. It was built in 1872 by the La Providencia congregation to assist orphan children.
O’Ryan Park (Parque O’Ryan) and the Infantry Regiment 21 (Regimiento de Infantería 21), Arica, with a frontispiece dating from 1906 adorned with Krupp canyons. On its interior it’s possible to visit its Historical Gallery (Galería Histórica) with an exhibit of banners, uniforms, armament and portraits of its commanders since 1897. The visiting hours are from Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm.
Ignacio Domeyko Mineralogy Museum (Museo Mineralógico Ignacio Domeyko), belonging to the University of La Serena (Universidad de La Serena) that exhibits more than 6.200 pieces of high interest; part of the collection belonged to the Polish teacher and explorer Ignacio Domeyko. It’s located in Benavente 980, and open from March to December, Monday to Friday, between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm. The admission ticket costs $400.
Carmona House (Casa Carmona), declared national monument. It was built between 1855 and 1860 for Juan de Dios Carmona, a powerful industrial and one of the silver mine owners.
Cathedral Church (Iglesia Catedral), declared national monument. Its construction started in 1844 by the French architect Juan Herbage and was consecrated in 1856. The stone building, with neoclassic style, measures 196.8 feet long and 65.5 feet wide. The belfry is from the XX century, just like the organ, donated by Ms. Juana Ross de Edwards. Masses are held Monday to Sunday at 12 am.
González Videla House (Casa González Videla),declared national monument. It was built in 1890 with wood partitions filled with “adobillo” (raw clay) and stucco. It has 2 floors and depicts an eclectic style. At the house operates the Regional History President Gabriel González Videla Museum , created in 1984, with the sections Life and Work (Vida y Obra) of the President, Regional History (Historia Regional), painting gallery Osear Prager and the exhibits room. Visiting hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 6:10 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. The admission ticket costs $600, children between 8 and 18 years old and seniors $300, children under 8 free.
Padres Carmelitas Church (Iglesia Padres Carmelitas), declared national monument. The church, of 147.6 x 29.5 feet, started to be built in 1755, in limestone from Alto Peñuelas and materials from a previous church, and was consecrated in 1775. Masses are held from Monday to Saturday at 9 am and 7 pm, Sunday from 11:30 am and 7 pm. At the small square Gabriel González Videla, in front of the church, temporary exhibits are shown.
Kokoro No Niwa Japanese Park (Parque Japonés Kokoro No Niwa) that means Heart Garden. It has 2,6 hectares designed by the landscaper Akira Ohira for the celebration of the 450 years of the city. Visiting hours are Monday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. The admission ticket costs $600 and for children $300.
Pedro de Valdivia Park (Parque Pedro de Valdivia), with sport fields and a mini zoo, open from Tuesday to Sunday and holidays, from 9 am to 6 pm. The admission ticket is free.
Take the Av. Francisco de Aguirre and go down to the ocean to go by the Sea Avenue, an extensive oceanside road of 3.7 miles, which has most of La Serena real estates and commercial development. It’s surrounded by lodges and buildings with gardens all around. Among them you have many of the most important hotels in La Serena, the best restaurants, the more active pubs and discos. It’s nice to take a long walk; during summer it’s usually packed with cars. At daytime it concentrates a vivid activity in the beach and restaurants, and also at night, at the meeting places and casino.
The Sea Avenue of La Serena starts in the Monumental Lighthouse (Faro Monumental), built between 1951 and 1953 by the Engineer Cisterna Larenas, its tower has 13.1 feet wide and 91.8 feet height. Destined for tourist use, from there you can get a great panoramic view.
Next to the lighthouse are lodges and hotels, and in its central part is Peñuelas, that gathers many pubs and restaurants. There’s the Gambling Casino of Coquimbo (Casino de Juegos de Coquimbo) which has gambling halls, slot machines, show and events halls, restaurant and a bar. The Gambling Hall (Salón de Juego) has “punto y banca” (a variation of baccarat), roulette, black jack, go poker, Caribbean poker, mini baccarat, draw poker, challenge and war. The entrance is free. During summer is open 24 hours, every day. During Winter the hours, for the Gambling Hall, is from Sunday to Thursday from 12 am to 4 pm; Fridays and Saturday from 12 pm to 8 pm; holiday eves from 12 pm to 8 pm.
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