A small coastal town located about 1h30 away west of Santiago, Viña del Mar is the locals getaway town when they want a weekend at the beach.
We had initially planned to spend 2 nights in Valparaiso and 2 nights in Viña del Mar, but after checking the news and being told by locals to be very careful in Valparaiso because of the protests, we decided to make a change. Instead of staying there, we headed to Viña del Mar for the whole time and went to Valparaiso for a day trip instead.
Viña del Mar is easily reachable from Santiago by bus, which dropped us off in the town center’s bus terminal.
Our accommodation was located in the Recreo neighbourhood, not far from the center and the sea. It was a great little hostel, in which we were all alone (protests do have their perks too).
For our first day, we decided to just do a shop, cook and relax.
On our second day we made our way to the center to check out the shops, and then headed to the archaeology and history museum, where we saw one of the famous Rapa Nui statues from Easter Island.
It was a gift by the island inhabitants to the mainland, and is now at the front of the museum. Pretty cool.
The museum was quite interesting, with some history about Easter Island and Chile, but also Chilean Fauna.
We then continued walking towards the sea and along the beach front for a while (it was too cold to swim), before settling at a beach front cafe for a drink and a read.
On our third day we had to check out and change hotel, to head to the hotel we had initially booked for Viña del Mar, located only 10 min walk away from where we were staying.
Though we organised with the host to drop our bags off at 11am, he never showed up and we ended up waiting in the street for over an hour trying to reach him.
We then had enough and decided to go with another accommodation nearby that we found on Booking.com, and cancelled our stay with him. It was a frustrating 2 hours but in the end it was a good escape plan. Luckily he didn’t have our credit card details, so no money lost.
After that we walked all the way to Renaca, a small town north of Viña del Mar. It was something to do, though again not super exciting as the weather wasn’t great and the views not mind blowing.
On the way back, we got to try a glass of Chilean wine (wine, finally!) which was very good, from a nice little rooftop near our accommodation.
Finally on our last day, we walked to Valparaiso to check the place out. We got told it was a very beautiful city, very hippy.
I don’t know if it’s because of the protests, but we weren’t too wowed by Valparaiso either. Again everything was closed, the bottom of the city was a bit dodgy, and except for Cerro Alegre which is quite pretty with lots of colourful houses and graffiti, we weren’t blown away.
We probably missed out on some great discoveries by just staying there one day but it just wasn’t much fun with the protests and not looking very good.
All-round a very slow start to our Chilean trip, and nothing too exciting to report.
I think a full week in Santiago and the coast was just way too long, and we could have easily reduced it to just a few days. Getting there during near civil war didn’t help either. Hopefully the rest of our trip will be more exciting.