Coquimbo is the cruise port to La Serena (city in northern Chile). Coquimbo is a port city and Elqui Province's capital. It is located on the Pan-American Highway (road network with total length of around 48,000 km / 30,000 ml). Coquimbo itself is in a valley approx 10 km (6 ml) south of La Serena. Both cities together form the Greater La Serena metropitan area wit hpopulation over 400,000. Coquimbo City covers an area of around 1430 km2 (550 ml2) and is spread around the harbor. Coquimbo is also an important cargo shipping port, especially for exporting copper from mines in the area. Wine is also widely produced in the region and exported through the port.
Coquimbo's natural harbor was taken over from Spain by Pedro de Valdivia in 1550. The gold and copper industry in the area led to the importance of the city as a port around 1840. Many Europeans, especially English, settled in Coquimbo. It was recognized as a town in 1879.
According to 2002 census of the National Statistics Institute, the city of Coquimbo had 163,000 inhabitants. The population grew by 33% between 1992-2002 censuses. As a commune, Coquimbo is Chile's 4th-level administrative division administered by municipal council, headed by alcalde who is directly elected every 4 years. Cristian Galleguillos Vega is the 2012-2016 alcalde.
Coquimbo is a major industrial and shipping center. Tourism has also started to develop. The town is an access point for several beach towns to the south, like Guanaqueros and Tongoy.