We stayed for several days at La Serena . . .
This is a decorated restaurant on the beach, telling the tale of a shipwrecked mariner, whose boat was seized and dragged under by a giant octopus. The sailor was carried away by a mermaid and woke on a distant tropical beach . . .
We drove about 100 kilometres to the Punto de Choros, a shellfishing community and on outlying islands a colony of Humboldt’s penguins. We didn’t visit the islands, but the trip was worth it for the scenery, and the end-of-the-world impression. We saw a group of wild guanacos browsing on the local cactus!
Near the boats was an enormous pile of shells, and some fresher ones being picked over by local gulls and turkey vultures.
Just along the Avenida del Mar from la Serena is Peñuelas. A short bicycle ride and more boats caught our eye, with the Cruz del Tercer Millenio in Coquimbo in the background, across the bay.