La Serena and Valle de Elqui

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Pisco
We spent Wednesday through Saturday the other week in La Serena and Valle de Elqui in the north of Chile. We were debating whether to rent a car, bus or fly to La Serena. We drove a rental car six hours and so glad we did — it’s a beautiful coastal part of Highway 5 north, unlike in the south where the highway is inland. Plenty of rest stops along the way to deal with both the call of nature and the call of hunger. It felt like Highway 1 in California.

La Serena and its beaches are popular in the summer. In the winter, not as much, so tourists were sparse. Fortunately, the sun was out. We had the beach all to ourselves!

The town itself is nice and sleepy. There’s a big mall that we frequented twice for the ice cream store and bathrooms and awesome American music they play on the speakers. There’s an all-you-can-eat Peruvian buffet restaurant along the beach that was unbelievably tasty, authentic, and, of course, all-you-can-eat, so hard to go wrong.

After two nights in La Serena, we drove to Valle de Elqui, a more rural region most famous for being where pisco is grown / produced. Beautiful scenery. Mountains like those of Colorado, canyons like those of Arizona. The tourist thing to do in Vicuña is star-gazing but (for the second time now for me) it was canceled at night due to fog. Still a cute, small town to witness, with a very different vibe from Santiago.


Car

‘Everyone talks about the south of Chile, but so far, I’ve enjoyed the north more.

Ben Casnocha
Ben Casnocha is the author of the bestselling business book
'My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley", which the New York Times called "precocious, informative, and entertaining." He founded Comcate, Inc., an e-government software company, at age 14. Ben's work has been featured in dozens of international media including CNN, USA Today, CNBC, and ABC's 20/20. At a conference in Paris PoliticsOnline named him one of the "25 most influential people in the world of internet and politics".

BusinessWeek recently named Ben "one of America's top young entrepreneurs." He writes prolifically on his blog which the San Jose Business Journal called one of the "Top 25 Blogs in Silicon Valley." He's also a commentator for public radio's "Marketplace."

In addition, Ben has given speeches at dozens of universities and organizations around the world. He has traveled to more than 25 countries and he also co-runs the Silicon Valley Junto, an intellectual discussion society for business and technology executives. In his free time Ben enjoys playing chess, ping-pong, reading, and writing.

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