Mar 5, 12, 8:57 am
Hi, we have a little over 4 days in Santiago before flying to Easter Island. We land at 6:55 am on 4/26. I have been trying to decide what to see and do for those days. I had thought Valparaiso/Vina del Mar first and then heading to the mountains for hiking/rafting/horseback riding. But, I keep reading about how nice La Serena is and I would love to see the Humboldt Penguins(if that is a possibility). I have read on this forum that it is onlly 5 hours to La Serena - but when I googlemap it - it is 10 hours.
I would love some recommendations.
Mar 5, 12, 4:39 pm
Here's the thing, if you want to take it easy I would just go to Valparaiso and Viņa. It's closer, lots of buses (not expensive btw) and there are a few interesting things to see.
La Serena per se is OK but not that interesting. However, there are other interesting places close, like the Valle del Elqui and the Isla Damas. Isla Damas is a good place to see penguins, dolphins, etc. It's very beautiful.
I was there a few years ago and we went by car, it wasn't that easy to get there, but it could have have changed. I know they now have tours, probably expensive. I would get a good map and rent a car and then just hire a boat to visit the islands.
And yes, La Serena is about 5 hours from Santiago. If you want to go to Isla Damas, you need to get to Punta Choros first and that should take another two hours.
Mar 7, 12, 2:47 pm
I've been to LSC and surrounds maybe 5 times. If you want a unique experience, consider flying to LSC and spending a night in Cochiguaz, way out the Valle del Elqui. If you can time it around a new moon, there is nothing quite like it. If there is a mostly full to full moon that is going to be anywhere near up during nighttime hours, it kills the nighttime sky. (Still more stars than you'd see in most places, but nothing extraordinary.)