La Serena is Chile’s third oldest city after Valparaiso and Santiago. Built in Spanish colonial and neo-classical styles, it is a beautiful city of long beaches, manicured gardens, broad avenues and remarkable museums. Nearby Elqui Valley is a bucolic setting of quaint villages, vineyards, orchards, and papaya and cherimoya plantations tucked between the Andean mountains.
La Serena is also one of the world’s best places to observe the universe. Because of its clear skies, the area is home to many astronomical observatories – mainly funded by the European Union and US universities - such as El Tololo and La Silla.
Located less than an hour by air from Santiago, La Serena features mild temperatures year round. July falls within the rainy season so you should expect scattered showers and average temperatures in the lower 50s.