VINA DEL MAR / VALPARAISO
Viña del Mar is a coastal resort city Northwest of Santiago, Chile. It’s known for its gardens, beaches and high-rise buildings.
Valparaíso is a port city on Chile’s coast. It's known for its steep funiculars and colourful, clifftop homes. La Sebastiana, the quirky former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, is now a museum with far-reaching Pacific views.
How to get to Vina del Mar
Bus - We arrived via bus from Santiago using TurBus. This was very well-run company. Getting the bus from Santiago main bus station, we loaded on our luggage and for the first time ever in South America were handed a luggage receipt!
Taxi - You can get a taxi from Santiago, but the journe time is approximately 1 hour (traffic dependant) and so may end up costing a fair bit unless you are able to pre-fix a price.
Uber – There is a very good uber network here. Uber allows you to pay via your Uber account so you don’t have to worry about getting your money out. Uber also gives you an estimate on the fare and it’s pretty accurate.
Where to stay in Vina del Mar
Vina del Mar is a seaside resort town so you can expect to be paying a lot for your accommodation. Hostels and hotels are plentiful. You can opt to stay in 2 locations, Vina del Mar or Valparaiso. The 2 are vastly different from one another.
Vina del Mar, is up market, bursting with nice restaurants, and lovely promenade. The town is pedestrianised making your shopping experience much less stressful with children.
Valparaiso is the opposite, it resembles more of run-down, old town. The streets are full with graffiti and artwork. Although Valparaiso has its own charm, we feel this area very much attracts a younger crowd.
On the plus side, the food here is much cheaper than in Vina del Mar and there is definately a more of a local feel to Valparaiso. Vina del Mar is nice for those who prefer a modern resort type town.
The 2 towns are connected by road and also by tram.
Back to accommodation!
We opted for Vina del Mar in a place called Hotel Monaldi. This place is quirky, it was an older style building with plenty of rooms, the breakfast was a big spread of breads, cereals, hams and cheese (typical for a South American breakfast). It was located about a 10 minute walk from the main station but only a 2-3 minute walk to the tram station and local bus stop. So getting around was a easy.
Things to do in Vina Del Mar with children
Vina del Mar downtown – Here you have 2 main streets connected by side streets full of restaurants and boutiques. Nice to walk around in the evening to see the street performers.
Beach – The beach here is very nice, very clean, but seeing as it’s the pacific ocean it’s not the warmest of waters but still very refreshing to go for a swim. The waves can get a bit rough so be careful with the little ones.
Valparaiso – The old town feel, streets are lines with graffiti and the cafes are nice to sit in and people watch.
Museums – There are many museums in the area from art to military.