Here is my quick and dirty travel guide to La Serena and Vicuña!

La Serena

Why go? - La Serena is a beach town in the Coquimbo Region. It has a population of around 200.000 and is located 500 kilometers North of Santiago. Go there to enjoy the sand and the sun, surf and visit the old town.

Where to stay? - Choose the Hostal El Arbol if you want to go budget. It has a city center and a beach location. Hotel del Cid is located close to the old town and has nice owners who speak English. Beach enthusiasts can choose from a wide variety of options on the waterfront.

What to do? - Visit the old town and find out why La Serena is nicknamed "The City of Churches". Eat a cheap set lunch in one of the various restaurants in the city center. Climb el faro, the lighthouse, and enjoy the view of the bay. Wander at the beach to the neighboring city of Coquimbo, in Coquimbo check out the market and walk some of the steep streets to enjoy the view.

Vicuña

Why go? - Vicuña is a small town in the heart of the beautiful Valle de Elqui. It has a population of around 25.000 and is located 500 kilometers North of Santiago. Go there to relax, hike, drink wine, look at the stars and enjoy the ever lasting spring.

Where to stay? - There are several hostels and guesthouses close to the bus station, e.g. the Hostal Valle Hermoso or the Hostal Aldea del Elqui.

What to do? - Visit the Iglesia Inmaculada Concepcion, a church built entirely of wood. Take a look at the Turm Bauer, built by the former mayor of Vicuña. Be fascinated by the museum honoring Gabriela Mistral, the poet which was awarded the Nobel prize in literature and who was born here. Experience the Pisco production in the Capel distillery. Visit the Mamalluca Observatory and look at the stars.