About 26 miles south of the popular Chilean beach community of La Serena, Tongoy was formerly an important center for the smelting of copper from mines inland. Today it has also become a magnet for beach-loving Chileans and Argentines. For us it holds two important areas. The Bosque de Fray Jorge National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve protecting a unique enclave of Valdivian forest in the midst of the coastal Atacama Desert. With minimal annual rainfall, the forest depends for moisture on the condensation of coastal fog called the camanchaca. Similarly, the Humedal (wetlands) de Pachingo outside town provide a haven for cranes, ducks, geese and wading birds. The town itself boasts a park and house museum to favorite son the poet Victor Domingo Silva, as well as a marine biology facility and a charming old port section called Puerto Aldea.