Coquimbo and La Serena Chile
Coquimbo lies to the south of a crescent shaped bay with a narrow opening that leads to the Pacific Ocean. At the north end is the town of La Serena. The land rises fairly quickly from the bay so the houses are terraced up the sides of the hills that ring the bay. The ship docked parallel to the shore about 5 am this morning. From our balcony on the starboard side, we had a great view of Coquimbo. Unfortunately it was overcast and somewhat cool in the morning. We had a halve-day city tour scheduled for the morning so the pictures don’t show well. Our tour guide like all the others has multiple part-time jobs. He is a teacher by training, teaching classes at two different schools and also does tours. There isn’t much to the downtown of both towns. Coquimbo is mostly a fishing village with a population of 200 thousand and La Serena, 100 thousand. But in the months of December and January, the population swells to 800 thousand when people come for the miles of white sand beaches and calm water of the bay. In La Serena we went to the market packed with small shops. For those wanting to use the bathroom, our guide said he would lead us to it. You had to pay to use the bathroom, but our guide said he would take care to it. The sign stated the price of $1.5/ person. While waiting for Cherie, I amused myself by watching our guide haggle the attendant down to 50 cents/ person. I bought a top for my collection for $2; Cherie didn’t find anything she wanted. We then went to the Archaeological Museum. It was very small a very crowded; it felt like everyone on the ship was there. They had one of the statues from Easter Island on display though; that was interesting to see. We drove to the beach and got a chance to walk along a short distance before returning to the bus to drive around some of the better neighborhoods. We were back to the ship by 1 pm. The sun came out in the afternoon and I was able to take some pictures from our balcony before we set sail for 2 days at sea before reaching Lima, Peru.
March 12, 2013
We had a nice leisure day, tonight is formal dress night with a Champaign fountain and chamber music in the piazza. The weather is getting warmer as we head north.