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Valparaiso & Vina del Mar
Experiencechile.org can offer great short itineraries in Valparaiso and Vina or day trips from Santiago with accommodation at hotels to suit your budget and preferred style choice.

Vina del Mar

Is Chile's principal sea-side city located 120km to the north-west of Santiago, offering beaches, night life and an all-night casino. In the summer months it is very popular and consequently packed with holiday makers including many Argentineans who come over from Mendoza.
Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal ships would stop off at Valparaiso to offload and pick up cargo en-route or just to rest and pickup supplies having rounded the southern Beagle Channel (near Cape Horn) before continuing towards North America. Today it is less active than in its hey day but nevertheless still an essential port of entry and export for goods coming in and going out of the country. It is also a stop off point for the increasing numbers of cruise ships that visit Chile.
The section of the city immediately opposite the main port area is an interesting historic part of Valparaiso. The hills, of which there are 42 cerros (hill tops) rise up steeply and are covered in ramshackle-looking, but characteristic houses of a previous era many painted in contrasting bright colours. Walking through the narrow streets and passages is an interesting way to explore the "bohemian neighbourhood" offering an opportunity to see and feel some of the local life at close quarters.
Getting up the hills can on foot, which can be tiresome; by car, which is boring or by taking one of the many funicular railway carriages, some built in the late 1800's, from street level. Once up there, take a walk around and then have a drink or meal at one of the restaurants from where you will get a wonderful view of the Valparaiso bay, the docks and over to Vina del Mar.
Suggested funicular start point is: Acensor Concepcion. At the top is Cafe Turri (restaurant with terrace) and around the corner is Hotel Brighton (also restaurant with terrace) and La Colombina (pub) off Paseo Yugoslavia.
If you are a follower of Pablo Neruda, Chile Nobel Prize-winning poet in 1971, one of his houses is in Valparaiso at Ferrari 692, on the hill called Cerro Bellavista. Access is from Plaza La Sebastiana. Open Jan / Feb: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:30 hrs to 18:50 hrs, rest of the year: Tuesday to Friday 10:30 hrs to 14:10 hrs and 15:30 hrs to 18:00 hrs.
Valparaiso puts on a spectacular firework display on New Year's eve, one of the best in the world. The spectacle draws in the crowds and restaurants make a killing by charging exorbitant prices. If you can get to a view point, however, the show is pretty impressive.
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