Close to La Serena in the "short North," (el Norte chico) of Chile, situated on the south end of a calm bay, is the port city of Coquimbo. It's so close to La Serena, in fact, that it has always vied with its nearby neighbor for prominence in the region, much as Valparaíso does with Viña del Mar along the coast nearer to Santiago. La Serena is much older than Coquimbo, and today is much more recognized as a tourist destination. Coquimbo, for its part, is an important center of shipping for the 4th region of Chile, and has even lent its name to the area, also known as the region of Coquimbo.
We stayed at the pampilla long enough to share a pitcher of beer and lunch fresh off the grill, and left before the sun went down. As fun as it was, we got the idea after a few laps around the main rows of restaurants and shops. We never saw the crowning of the pampilla's beauty queen, or any of the live music going on at the main stage. But I did pick up a bottle of chicha, a sweet, fizzy, boozy, fermented grape juice on the way out. That way we could keep the party going in our own quiet way back in La Serena, and let things go as they would, with or without us, back in Coquimbo.