(*)Take a trip down into the Elqui Valley, beautifully landscaped and rumored to be linked with extraterrestrial activity in the past.
(*)Head up to the Mamalluca Observatory, which is not open to the public but can be booked for tours and to observe the nightly skies from a prime spot in the Southern Hemisphere.
(*)Stroll down Avenida del Mar, spend the day taking in the sun at the beaches lining the street, and eat dinner at one of the local restaurants with a waterfront view.
(*)Take a tour and do a tasting of Chile?s national drink, Pisco, at the Capel Pisco plant and distillery.
(*)Roam around La Recova Municipal Market to find some true Chilean crafts and treasures to bring home to your friends.
When to go
La Serena has a dry climate with cloudy mornings and hot afternoons. The beaches are best enjoyed during the hot summers, but fun can be had in the city at any time of year.
How to get there
(bus) La Serena can be reached by bus from most locations within Chile farily inexpensively and with various carriers. Student discounts may be available. For those on more of a time budget than money budget, daily flights are available to the La Serena airport from Santiago, Antofagasta, Arica, and other destinations.
Visas are not required for citizens of most countries,, with the exception of New Zealand, Cuba, most African and some Eastern European countries. Travelers from other countries will be granted a 90 day tourist visa when they enter the country. When crossing into Chile at the Santiago airport, a ?reciprocity fee? may be assessed depending on the country of origin. This fee varies based on what the country of origin charges Chilean citizens for entering their county, but is around US$100 for US citizens, US$132 for Canadians, and US$30 for Australians. This fee is normally not assessed when crossing into Chile by boat or land.
At restaurants the normal tip is 10%, though 15% is always appreciated for excellent service. Slightly less is generally given in bars and cafes, and porters generally receive an amount corresponding to 50 cents per bag. Taxi drivers are not tipped.