LindseyHarkey's Travel Journals


  • From Texas, United States
  • Currently in Vina del Mar, Chile

Chillin in Chile

In this journal, I will be documenting my experiences in South America...

La Serena

Chile Vina del Mar, Chile  |  May 04, 2010
Share |

Choose a Different Location

  • Tips:

    zoom in
    zoom out
    pan map upward
    pan map to the left
    pan map to the right
    pan map downward
    * drag the map to move around
    * click on the map where the city that you want to add is located
    * click on the icon to remove it
  • Longitude:

 A fun fact: It only rains 4 days a year in La Serena. And it rained! The first of the year. Just our luck, haha! 

This weekend I went to La Serena. This town, 5 hours north of Viña, is the second oldest in Chile and boasts the clearest skies in the world.My travel buddy, Kara, and I went on the overnight bus Friday night and arrived early Saturday morning. We ate our TurBus breakfast in the bus station and walked two blocks to our Hostel Casa Maria at 6AM. After a nappy poo, we got out and about. We grabbed a collectivo to the beach and tried desperately to find food. It turns out that Saturday was the Chilean version of Labor Day, so everything was closed. We found a little outdoor cafe and tried to order a hot lunch off the menu. The waiter said they were only serving beverages and dessert. I pleaded with him in Spanish to please help us out, we were starving! So he said he could make us a grilled cheese. Better than nothing. We toured the city around the plaza and did a little souvenir shopping. We even ventured into a little church and sat in the empty confessional. We returned to the hostel around 7 to go to the observatory, but guess what? The tour was cancelled. (A fun fact: It only rains 4 days a year in La Serena. And it rained! The first of the year. Just our luck, haha!) We decided to look for an open restauraunt when I came up with the idea of eating at the bus station. It was guaranteed to be open. Kara was in opposition, but I convinced her. And rightly so. She admitted it was one of the best meals she had eaten in Chile. We got scrambled eggs and ham, a side of bread, and tea. Delicious! At the bus station I also bought candied papaya. My teacher friend recommended them as they are typical in that region. They were amazing. After our feast, we just sat outside our hostel and listened to the famous Chilean singer Americo. He was performing in concert just blocks from our hostel. We practically got a free show!On Sunday morning, we woke up early to tour the Humboldt Penguin Reserve and Isla Damas. We went with five other couples, one from Austria, one from Germany, one from Chile, and two from France. An interesting group, many languages were spoken. It was a 2 hour drive with the ocean to our left and the cactus covered mountains to our right. At one point, you could even see the snow covered peaks in the distance. Quite a sight, ocean, sand, and snow all in one place. Apparently, since it only rains 4 times a year, the people in the desert rely on the melting snow from the mountain tops to keep them supplied with water. Half of our trip was on a bumpy dirt road. I saw a large bird with an orange head and curved beak. And we even got to stop our van to take pictures of the guanacos (a type of wild llama, very cute). When we arrived to the shore we boarded a small motor boat and rode 20 minutes to the island. We saw tons of sea lions and pelicans. We caught a glimpse of a few sea otters and penguins, so adorable! And then we headed for Isla Damas. The white sandy beach and clear water reminded me of the Carribean. They gave us an hour to explore and Kara and I quickly headed to climb the highest rock. We took lots of goofy pictures. After we got back to the shore of the mainland, we were a little nauseated and covered in the light spray of the ocean. It was time to eat and we were starving. Lunch consisted of empanadas, local fish, rice, and ice cream. We scarfed that down rather quickly. And everyone slept the entire way back. It was a successful day full of wonderful scenery and wild animals.By the time we arrived at the hostel we had to get ready to go to the Mamalluca Observatory. Once there our guide showed us a powerpoint presentation with an introduction to the stars and their constellations. There we learned that in Chile you cannot see the big or little dipper, or the north star. Magellan used the constellation of the cross to guide him. We learned that if the sun dies, we have approximately 8 minutes to live. We also learned that when stars are created, 50% are in pairs, 49% are clusters, and only 1% are born alone (like our sun for example). And our universe is so large, it is mind boggling. I can't even wrap my head around how insignifcant we are in the grand scheme of things. After the presentation we got to look through the telescope at Saturn. We could even see its largest moon Titan. It looked fake almost because the shape was perfectly like what we imagine Saturn to look like. Near midnight we returned to our hostel and went to bed. Monday we went back to Viña. Back to the real world. Haha. Hardly....

Report inappropriate journal entry

Shout-out Post a Shout-out

Loading Loading please wait...

Be the first to post on LindseyHarkey's travel page! If you are a member, log in to leave a shoutout.

    March 27, 2010
    No Photo | No Video

  • La Serena

    May 04, 2010
    No Photo | No Video