Viña del Mar
Beyond frequent coach bus service between Santiago and Viña. Numerous operators, abundant seating, about a 90 minute ride for approx 3000 pesos one way. The buses depart from Santiago at Pajaritos Station (Line 1 of Metro Station) or Universidad de Santiago Station, is recommendable to do it from Pajarito Station if you want to avoid the stop over from Universidad de Santiago and the ride within the City. The 2 main lines that travel to Viña del Mar are Turbus and Pullman Bus. The bus will drop you at Viña del Mar Station, which is 3 blocks east of DownTown. Taxis are available at this point, but if you want to save some money, walk east to Plaza de Viña, and ask for transportation to your destination.
Airlines also often provide free transportation by bus to Vina del Mar.
Merval has frequent service to/from Valparaiso and from/to other destinations in the country side of Viña del Mar such as: Quilpue, Villa Alemana and Limache. Is not recommendable to take a train between Viña and Valparaiso since the many other options to travel from/to. For using Metro/Train Services you have to purchased a Metro/Train Card, available at the Kiosk in the Stations. Once you get the card you have to slide it when you get in and when you get out to station (destination), there is not flat rate, each route has a different price. In Vina del Mar you will find 5 Stations. From Valparaiso to the Country Side are: Recreo (main residential area), Ecuador (Southern DownTown), DOWNTOWN close to Quinta Vergara, Hospital Station and El Salto (Industrial area)
Small cars that run routes throughout the city charge around 500 pesos (around 1 US Dollar) for a ride. They are quicker and more comfortable than the buses.
(Called La Micro) Buses go to all parts of town for 350 pesos. There's not really a guide with all the routes and their destination so the best way to find the one you need is to ask around.
- La Quinta Vergara - a beautiful garden with trees and plants from all over the world. Inside the park you can find the arena La Quinta Vergara, home to the yearly Festival de Viña takes places every year in the last week of February. The festival always marks the end of the summer in Chile and popular in the entire country.
- Plaza del Reloj/Parque Reloj de Flores - the landmark of Viña del Mar which is a watch made of flowers and working. A lot of tourist takes pictures there and close to the beach so definitely a must for all visitors.
- Castilo Wulff - headquarters of Unidad de Patrimonio of Viña del Mar (City Hall Patrimony Unit). Built by the German immigrant Gustavo Wulff in 1917 after buying the land from another German living in Chile at that time. Considered as a landmark as well in Viña del Mar and close to the famous street "Paseo Arabe". But if you ask the locals why it's famous, very few actually knows why. But the place around Castillo Wulff offers great view of the beach and the sea for those who likes to take photos.
- Near the north end of the beach there is an open air museum of naval artillery. Avoid taking pictures without asking permission from staff.
- Museo Artequin en Viña del Mar, Alcalde Prieto Nieto 500, Parque Potrerillos, ☎ +56 32 297 3637. A museum of reproductions of representative works from Western artists, which through an interactive educational methodology, aims to boost the interest in art and creativity in visitors.
Spend time on the numerous beaches found along the coast. They are quite pretty but not very friendly for swimming.
Viña del Mar is famous in Chile for hosting casinos so if you like gambling, this is the right city for you. The most famous is close to Castillo Wulff, simply called Casino de Viña del Mar and can be found on Avenida San Martín, 199.
If you are in Viña del Mar during February, there is a music festival taking place in la Quinta Vergara. If you get tickets, you will be able to see both Chilean, Latin American and other Internationally known artist that have been invited. Besides music it also contains stand-up acts so it can be good to have knowledge in Chilean Spanish to understand when music is not played. Because it's marking the end of the summer, the atmosphere in the city and the area of the festival is very good.
If you like football then Everton de Viña del Mar has something to offer. Founded by English immigrants from Liverpool, it's unknown why they named if Everton. Some believe that it was named after a toffee brand and others think after the English Premiership team Everton FC. They play their home matches in Estadio Sausalito and has a fierce rivalry with Santiago Wanderers from Valparaíso. IF you buy tickets, always buy in neutral section rather than where the ultras known as "barras" have their sections.
A very popular treat in Viña del Mar is the alfajor, a typical Argentinean/Uruguayan type of cookie that has also popularized in the village. They can be purchased in several small pastry shops around the downtown area. Usually, alfajores are filled with manjar, fruit, or other sweets and then covered in chocolate. They are a delight for the visitor. Boxes with large quantities make memorable souvenirs, if they make it home.
An excellent seafood restaurant, located in Camino Costero, is "La Gatita" ("The Kitten"). It specialises in such typical dishes as Machas a la parmesana y Reineta (Clams with fried Reineta - a local fish).
Good and cheap accommodation is available throughout the city in residenciales (the local B & B). Early reservations are highly recommended during the summer months when the city gets flooded with holiday makers from Argentina and Santiago.
- Posada Bellamare Renaca Inn, Bellavista 740 Renaca.
- Avoid walking alone in the parks when it's dark. Use your common sense and choose more populated streets with more lights rather than taking a short cut through a dark park.
- Viña del Mar has a big problem with street dogs and many can carry diseases with them. Avoid touching them and as best, give them some food if you want.
- Stay alert and be careful with fraud which is a common criminal offense against tourist. Also avoud all unofficial currency exchange and choose only official ones even if the queu is long.
- Don't hesitate to ask for help from the Carabineros, the Chilean police. But don't expect them to talk any other languages than Spanish. As mentioned before when it comes to Chile, avoid trying to bribe them or giving them hints that you want to bribe them. It will cause you trouble since the Carabineros will see it as an insult. They can be trusted and will help you as much as they can (as long as you speak Spanish).
- There are some guards at the beaches but from March to November the beach season is officially over.
- Stay near the beach when swimming, most of the people who drown are those who can actually swim. Many of them go out too far and the power of the waves have surprised many of them unfortunately.
- Bathing during off-season from March to November is not forbidden, but you're doing it at your own risk. Authorities won't take responsibility if something happens to you or any related.
If you want to use a toilet there are some public ones on the streets and near the beaches but also in restaurants. They charge a fee but most of them are dirty. If you can, ask the staff in the casino if you can use the toilet. Being a foreign tourist will make it easier.
- Valparaiso - just next to Vina Del Mar - the old port and city