The name Coquimbo is derived from a native Diaguita word meaning 'place of calm waters'. In fact, Charles Darwin had noted that the town was 'remarkable for nothing but its extreme quietness'. Since then, Coquimbo has developed into a bustling port and the region's major commercial and industrial centre from which minerals, fish products and fruits are exported. Used during the colonial period as a port for La Serena, Coquimbo attracted attention from English pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, who visited in 1578. Visitors enjoy strolling around the town, admiring some of the elaborate woodwork handcrafted on buildings by early British and American settlers. These wooden buildings are among Chile's most interesting historical structures. Out of town, the area offers some fine beaches in a desert-like setting. Coquimbo serves as a gateway to the popular resort town of La Serena and trips farther into the Elqui Valley, known as the production centre for Chile's national drink, pisco sour. The valley is also home to several international observatories that take advantage of the region's exceptional atmospheric conditions.