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Though the first impression visitors get of Coquimbo is the massive, unsightly cross that overlooks the entire city, this port town has been described by many as the Valparaíso to La Serena’s Viña.


Like Valparaíso, Coquimbo is a gritty town with a hidden artsy heart and crumbling walls. Until a few years ago, it had all but fallen into complete disrepair. The city’s recent salvation has been its bohemian Barrio Inglés, where Victorian-looking mannequins peer down from balconies at the passersby and live music blares from classy bars and dance venues all night long. Here you’ll find local art galleries (a rarity in this region), stylish ethnic restaurants, intriguing open-air markets, and salsatecas.


During the day by the port, you’ll see (and smell) the local catch of the day at the fish market. This market also has lots of marisquerias for sampling cheap paila marina, a stew full of exotic-looking fresh seafood. On Sundays near the port, there are also two large open-air market, one with piles of fresh produce  and the other with cheap flea-market fare.


From the Coquimbo terminal, you can take a thirty-minute bus ride south along the coast to the captivating beach towns of Tongoy and Guanaqueros.


Other places nearby Coquimbo: Alto del Carmen, La Serena, Vallenar, Huasco and Tongoy.

By Lauren Yero
I am a recent liberal arts graduate who travels as a compulsion. I have lived in several regions of the US as well as briefly abroad in England and...
30 Apr 2009

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