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Destination guide: Valparaiso/Viña del mar, Chile
Vina del Mar is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting the central coast. They are attracted by its beautiful beaches, excellent climate and numerous places to have a good time with friends or family. Visit the Garden City and discover the charm of the Quinta Vergara, Cerro Castillo, Botanic Gardens and Renaca beach resort.
That’s not all though. From Vina del Mar, you can visit Valparaiso, a bohemian port with pretty and colorful hills, as well as a wide range of art and culture.
Content provided by Lonely Planet
Valparaiso/Viña del mar - Practical Information
Valparaiso is a city of two parts: El Plan, the congested, flat commercial district closest to the sea; and the 42 cerros (hills) that rise up steeply behind it. Most major thoroughfares in El Plan run east–west, parallel to the shoreline: the closest is Av Errázuriz, which merges with Av España and leads to Viña del Mar. The oldest part of town, Barrio El Puerto (the port neighborhood), is in the west of El Plan. The two main streets in the east are Independencia and Av Pedro Montt, where you’ll find the bus station.
Valparaiso’s hills defy even determined cartographers. Av Almirante Montt and Urriola lead from El Plan to Cerros Concepción and Alegre. From Plaza Aníbal Pinto, Cumming takes you to Cerro Cárcel; from nearby Av Ecuador, Yerbas Buenas winds up Cerro Bellavista, accessible from the other side by Ferrari. Av Alemania winds along the top of the more central cerros.
Nationals of the US, Canada, Australia and the EU do not need a visa to visit Chile. Passports are obligatory and are essential for cashing traveler's checks, checking into hotels and other routine activities.
The Chilean government collects a US$132/56/132 'reciprocity' fee from arriving US/Australian/Canadian citizens in response to these governments imposing a similar fee on Chilean citizens applying for visas. The payment applies only to tourists arriving by air in Santiago and is valid for the life of the passport. Payment must be made in cash; exact change necessary. It is advisable to carry your passport: Chile's police can demand identification at any moment, and many hotels require you to show it upon check-in.
If your passport is lost or stolen, notify the police, ask them for a police statement, and notify your consulate as soon as possible.
European plug with two circular metal pins
Shops in Chile open by 10am, Government offices and businesses open from 9am to 6pm. Banks are open 9am to 2pm weekdays. Tourist offices stay open long hours daily in summer, but have abbreviated hours in the off-season. In many provincial cities and towns restaurants and services are closed on Sunday. Museums are often closed Monday. Restaurant hours vary widely, but most places are open from noon till 11pm. Many restaurants do not open for breakfast and quite a few close for the lull between lunch and dinner.
Weights & Measures
Check the website for Chilean customs (www.aduana.cl) if you're concerned about what and how much you can take in and out of the country.
There are no restrictions on import and export of local and foreign currency. Duty-free allowances include purchases of up to US$500. Travelers should consult the Chilean Customs website information for foreigners at www.aduana.cl/prontus_aduana_eng/site/edic/base/port/foreign_travelers.html (in English) for information on allowances.