Only 90 minutes northwest of Chile’s capital city of Santiago, you will find yourself at Viña del Mar and the Pacific Ocean. Santiago is one of the main attractions and tourist spots of the country, along with Patagonia, the Andes, and East Island.
What if you’re looking for some beach action like me?
One of the first questions I ask myself when I plan a trip is – How far is the beach? or Is there a beach?
Chile might not be known for tropical beaches or hot waters (the Antarctic stream actually creeps up its’ coast so the water is cold!), but beaches do exist and are beautiful in their own Chilean way.
The main beach most visitors venture off to is Viña del Mar – which means “Vineyard of the Sea”. It is accessible by bus which you can catch at Pajaritos Station (Line 1 of Metro Station) or Universidad de Santiago Station. Renting a car is an option too but parking may be more difficult. Merval is the train that runs to Valpraiso to get you close enough, but honestly I did not take that route so I can’t say much on it. I bused it, which easy easy, cheap, and comfortable! The AC made me pass out!
Viña del Mar is also a city, and the 4th biggest in Chile. When you come off the bus in the center of the city, you will pass many restaurants, shops, and businesses. The beach is maybe a 40 minute walk but it is worth it. I’d love to live in one of these high-rises…
The beach at Viña del Mar itself consists of a few strips, with luxury apartments and a few castles surrounding the area. To the north, you see more cliffs. To the west, you see the Pacific Ocean endlessly. There are many local crafts shops along the way where you can purchase souvenirs, clothing, or local goods. Of course, grab a snack or drink at any of the beachfront cafes and enjoy the view.
Lifeguards are present, but beware – the water may get choppy! When visiting in January (which is summer for Chile and 90 degrees) the water was still really cold. It doesn’t matter for the Chileans though, they jump in and swim No snorkeling or scuba though…some surfing if the waves are big enough. Lots of families come to relax. You might not even see as many tourists as you’d expect – I know I didn’t!
The beach is free and the sand is clean. Also, you might pass one of the SandMasters who makes sand castles and formations near the walkway. If you’re lucky, you’ll see him mastering a new form!