Vina del Mar has the reputation of being the glamourous playground of the wealthy and is often referred to the Chilean Riviera.
Our guests usually leave only one day to Valparaiso and go on a cruise, but in our opinion there are plenty of things to do and gems to discover onshore just by strolling from Vina del Mar to Valparaiso, then dancing the night away at the bars and clubs in town.
The key here is to soak up the picturesque coastal town atmosphere, strolling in the backstreets and seeing where the day takes you .
The flower clock, the museum and the botanical garden in Vina del Mar, are the must see´s, but if you have no idea where to start, here´s my list of our favourite tucked away gems and things to do in Valparaiso-Vina del Mar..
Not so common things to do in Valparaiso or Vina Del Mar.
:: For New Year´s Eve :: Don’t do as the locals do who watch this popular spectacle on TV. Get up early and stake out a place somewhere along the coast of Valparaiso or Vina Del Mar. At 3min past midnight, the sky explodes in the biggest fireworks displayed in all Latin America. Book accommodation way in advance.
:: Go to Pablo Neruda´s House:: ¨La Sebastiana¨ in Valparaiso, Chile,where he wrote all those famous love poems. Tuesdays to Sundays, 10.10 AM to 6 PM, CLP $3.500 per adult. Down “Ferrari” Streer, on Bella Vista hill.
:: Outdoor Market :: If you like perusing flea markets for antiques and collectables, Vina Del Mar holds a large outdoor fleamarket right in front of the main flower clock tourist spot in ¨Las Salinas¨ on Sundays and public holidays. 10am to 5pm.
::Horse carriages:: See the city lights in an old style horse carriage called ¨Las Victorias¨ along Plaza Vergara and Plaza Colombia around the corner from our Valparaiso Villa holiday house, in Vina del Mar, Chile. Short ride CLP$6,000 or long ride CLP$12,000.
:: See a smaller scale authentic Moai statue:: It was brought from the Easter Island in 1951 to Vina del Mar, Chile, and is standing besides the Francisco Fonck Museum, Nº 784, 4 Norte, open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 to 6pm. Sundays and holidays 10:00 to 2pm.
::Wharf:: Take a stroll on the wharf and check out the catch before dining in one of the many restaurants with a view overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Caleta Higuerilla Av. Borgoño,Viña del Mar, Chile.
::Go for a salsa dancing lesson:: At salsa club La Piedra Feliz (The Happy Stone). The fun starts at 10pm on Thursdays. Errazuriz 1054, Valparaiso.Chile. Ph:(32) 256788. http://lapiedrafeliz.cl
::Go for a midsummer nights dip:: At glamourous Renaca beach, Viña del Mar, specifically at ¨El Cementerio¨ the jetset hangout area on the beach.
::Sea Lions:: Take a hike out on the rocks on the coastal road linking Reñaca and Concón at the Mirador Lobos Marinos (Sea Lion Lookout) where you can meet some local sea lions. It is not easy but it´s worth it. Avenida Borgoña Viña del Mar, Chile.
::Try an ¨empanada¨:: The national savoury pastry snack filled with mince meat, egg and olives, at any corner bakery.
::Rioja Palace:: (Palacio Rioja). Get dressed up and visit this French style Palace which is now an environmental museum and cinema. It is located on one of the Vina del Mar’s main streets “Quillota”. Open Hours10am-2pm, 3pm-6pm Mon-Sun. Ph.+ 56 32 883322.
::Sports Club:: Parque Sausalito (Sausalito Park ) is an excellent place for the more active tourist wanting to fit in a bit of tennis, swimming, jogging even a bit of shooting practice. Avenida Sausalito Viña del Mar, Chile. Open 24 hrs.
::Valparaiso Sporting Club:: Enjoy a day at the races. At a very English style Derby day the first Sunday of every February. The first Derby Day, based on the British race, was held in 1885. On Saturday before the race, the traditional antique cars parade takes place through the streets of Viña del Mar, with the Queen of the Derby making a special guest appearance in the parade. Los Castaños 404, Vina del Mar, Chile.