We were eager to get off the boat to stretch our legs. We did a little research and found a few of our favorite stores in Coquimbo. Keep in mind, that Coquimbo is located on the other bay. But it appeared to only be a few miles away, doable. A 10-mile walk was not in the plan.
Coquimbo is a port city situated in a valley south of La Serena. The city was recognized in 1879 and now has approximately 200,000 residents. This city is easily recognized from sea by the enormous Cruz del Tercer Milenio, giant cross. We will share our visit with this stunning monument in another blog.
Our first explorations of a new city are just that, explorations. Locate the stores, see what they have, make note of it, and return another day with bags, carts, or a car. We were told that we could not walk to Coquimbo because it was not safe and the only way to get there was on the autopista (highway). But, our trusty maps.me app showed us a walkable route – so we set off. Thinking that we had a 5-mile walk ahead of us, not a 10-mile walk.
Here is a rough map of our path. We started in Playa Herradura, the red arrow on the left, then went to Coquimbo (the blue arrow), then along the beach to La Serena (the green area) where.
10-MILE WALK / JOURNEY BEGINS
The town of Playa Herradura is actually very small and does not have the large “box” stores that we were looking for. So, we needed to head toward Coquimbo. Using Maps.me we were able to find a nice, safe sidewalk that took us from Playa Herradura to Coquimbo (along the autopista).
Decisions, decisions. Should we explore the Mosque de Coquimbo and the Cruz del Tercer Milenio or should we continue find the big box stores. We decided to find the box stores. Luckily, Coquimbo is large enough that they have a variety of big box stores like: Jumbo, Lider, Unimarc and the hardware stores like Sodimac Homecenter and Easy.
We found a Unimarc across the street from Vivo Coquimbo Mall a decent size shopping mall. Both were across the street from the Terminal Pesquero (fish market) and Feria de Abastos de Coquimbo (fresh fruit and veggie market). We stopped in the fish market and walked the Vivo shopping mall. The Feria de Abastos is not open until Sunday so we forged ahead.
We walked along the beach and found a beautiful bird preserve where lots of varieties of seagulls nest. There were lots of tourists down by the water, so we enjoyed the view from the bridge.
Our walk would take us along a really long beach to the far edge of Coquimbo. We did not realize that the other box stores were actually in another town called La Serena. Perhaps if we used Maps.me to map our route we would have realized that it as over a 10-mile walk. As we walked down the strand, we found Coquimbo’s sign and had to do our usual tourist thing.
Coquimbo has a lot of the “Lombard” type streets. They are super colorful and often had people running up and down for exercise.
We continued our quest and quickly grew tired. I forced Matt to stop at Nuevo Pirats a local eatery as I couldn’t move another step. Earlier, we had a light breakfast and it was close to 1300. Lucky for us they opened early in order to accommodate us. We picked a seat in the shade and ordered some drinks. To our surprise we had already logged over 20,000 steps, no wonder I was tired. We rested for over an hour before packing up and pushing onward.
After what seemed like eternity, we finally made it to Jumbo Market and Easy (hardware). It wasn’t until we arrived that I realized we walked into a new town, La Serena. I did not have enough energy inside me to walk Easy, so we skipped it. We grabbed a few items at Jumbo and called Uber to pick us up. We collapsed on the boat.
Who walks 10 miles in flip flops? Nobody in their right mind that is for sure. Gesh, 2 advil, a light dinner and bed before 2000.