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.

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  • Valparaiso/Viña del mar - Things to do

    Sights

    Jardín Botánico Nacional

    There are over 3000 plant species in the 61 hectares of parkland that comprise Chile’s Jardín Botánico Nacional. It’s 8km southeast of the city center; catch bus 203 from Viana east to the end of the line (CH$440), then cross the bridge and walk about 1km north up Camino El Olivar.

    Location: Vina del Mar
    Opening Hour
    :10:00am-6:30pm
    Sub-Type: Gardens
    Address: Camino El Olivar s/n - Transportation: Bus
    Telephone number: +56 32 267 2566 - website: www.jardin-botanico.cl

    Museo de Arqueología e Historia Francisco Fonck

    The original moai (Easter Island statues) standing guard outside the Museo de Arqueología e Historia Francisco Fonck are just a teaser of the beautifully displayed archaeological finds from Easter Island within, along with Mapuche silverwork and anthropomorphic Moche ceramics. Upstairs are old-school insect cases and a lively explanation of how head shrinking works (finished examples are included)

    Location: Vina del Mar
    Latitude
    :-33.0199900000000 / Longitude: -71.5506668090820
    Sub-Type: Museum
    Opening Hour: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm /Sat-Sun 10am-2pm
    Pricing: Adult/child CH$1500/200
    Adress: 4 Norte 784
    Telephone number: +56 32 268 6753 - website: www.museofonck.cl

    Castillo Wulff

    Squat-looking Castillo Wulff hangs half over the sea: skip through the art exhibitions to the tower at the back, where you can peer through the thick glass floor at the rocks and waves below.

    Location: Vina del Mar
    Sub-Type
    : Museum
    Pricing: Admission free
    Address: Av Marina s/n
    Telephone number: +56 32 226 9728

    Ascensores

    It's possible to spend hours riding the 15 ascensores (also known as funicular elevators), built between 1883 and 1916, that lead up into the hills and meandering back alleys of Valparaíso. Some of the ascensores are remarkable feats of engineering. From the flat city center the ascensores creak at an improbable angle up to the tumbling chaotic cerros (hills), with their steep labyrinthine roads, crumbling mansions and kaleidoscopic rooftops. Take Ascensor Concepción, the city's oldest elevator, to the beautiful Cerro Concepción, or take Ascensor El Peral to the Museo de Bellas Artes in Cerro Alegre, or ride the Ascensor Cordillera to the Museo del Mar Lord Cochrane in Cerro Cordillera.

    It's not just the stunning vistas that hit you as you look down to the busy working commercial and naval harbor below; it's the unique, faded grandeur of the town, and its spontaneous, bohemian charm. More than anywhere else in Chile there's a feeling of 'anything goes,' a legacy of Valparaíso's artistic presence (Pablo Neruda had a home here) and its ever-shifting port population.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Sub-Type
    : Hill
    Pricing: from US$0.20
    Address: El Plan
    TransportationType: funicular

    Cerro Concepción

    Cerro Concepción is one of the most delightful of all Valparaíso's neighborhoods, with its brightly painted corrugated iron facades and pitched roofs. To get there, take the city's oldest elevator, Ascensor Concepción (also known as Ascensor Turri) from the corner of Prat and Carreño, across from the Reloj Turri (clock tower).

    Location: Valparaiso
    Sub-Type
    : Architecture
    Pricing: from US$0.20
    Address: Cerro Concepción

    Iglesia Matriz

    Plaza Matriz is Valparaíso's historic core, directly uphill from the Mercado Central, where El Plan narrows and the distinctive hills' architecture starts to take shape. The plaza's major landmark is the Iglesia Matriz, a national monument dating from 1842. This is the fourth church to occupy this site since the construction of the original chapel in 1559.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude
    : -33.0365075800000 / Longitude: -71.6327972300000
    Sub-Type: Religious, Spiritual
    Pricing: from US$0.20
    Address: El Plan

    La Sebastiana

    Bellavista’s most famous resident artist was Pablo Neruda, who made a point of watching Valparaíso’s annual New Year’s fireworks from his house at the top of the hill, La Sebastiana. Getting here involves a hefty uphill hike, and the climbing continues inside the house – you’re rewarded on each floor with ever more heart-stopping views over the harbor. The best of all are from Neruda’s crow’s nest study. Unlike at Neruda’s other houses, you can wander around La Sebastiana at will, lingering over the chaotic collection of ship’s figureheads, glass, 1950s furniture and artworks by his famous friends. Just don’t go behind the bright pink bar, which was reserved for Don Pablo himself.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Sub-Type: Architectural, Cultural
    Telephone Number: +56 32 225 6606
    Opening Hours: 10:30am-6:50pm Tue-Sun Jan & Feb, 10:10am-6pm Tue-Sun Mar-Dec
    Pricing: adult/child CH$2500/1500
    Address: Ferrari 692, Cerro Bellavista
    Transportation
    Type: bus / Details: O or D to 6900 block of Av Alemania
    Transportation Type: funicular / Details: Ascensor Espiritu Santo
    Website: www.fundacionneruda.org

    Museo de Bellas Artes

    The Museo de Bellas Artes is housed in the Palacio Baburizza (1916). Designed for an Italian nitrate baron but named after the Yugoslav who purchased it from him, the Art Nouveau palace is noteworthy for imaginative woodwork, forged-iron details and a steeply pitched central tower. Set among attractive gardens, the building and grounds alone justify a visit. From here, it's possible to loop over to Cerro Concepción, or vice versa.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude
    : -33.0403980800000 / Longitude: -71.6291186100000
    Sub-Type: Fine Arts Museum
    Telephone Number: +56 32 2252 332
    Opening Hours: 09:30-18:00 Tue-Sun
    Pricing: donations welcome
    Address: Cerro Alegre
    Extras
    : Palacio Baburizza
    Transportation
    Type: funicular / Details: Ascensor El Peral

    Eat

    Vinilo

    From bakers to butchers to effortlessly hip resto-bar: the mismatched tile floor tells the story of the many incarnations of this Cerro Alegre institution. Sandwiches and chocolate-and-raspberry cake seduce during the day. Later, quirky Chilean fare takes center stage. As the last plates are licked, the namesake vinyl gets turned up and things slips into bar mode.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude: -33.0437659700000 / Longitude: -71.6280929400000
    Sub-Type: Café
    Telephone Number: +56 32 223 0665
    Opening Hours: 9am- midnight Mon-Thu, 9am-3am Fri & Sat, 10am-midnight Sun
    Pricing: snacks & sandwiches CH$4000, mains CH$6900
    Price Range: Moderate
    Address: Av Almirante Montt 448
    Extras: Cerro Alegre

    Casino Social J Cruz

    Liquid paper graffiti covers the tabletops and windows at this tiny café, tucked away down a narrow passageway in El Plan. Forget about menus, there are two options here: chorrillana (a mountain of French fries under a blanket of fried pork, onions and egg) and desmechada (stewed beef) – one dish serves two. Folk singers serenade you into the wee hours on weekends.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude: -33.0460819500000 / Longitude: -71.6227870400000
    Sub-Type: Chilean
    Telephone Number: +56 32 221 1225
    Opening Hours: 10pm-1am Sun-Thu, 10am-4am Fri & Sat
    Pricing
    : 2-person meals CH$4500
    Price Range: Low
    Address
    : Condell 1466
    Extras: El Plan

    Le Filou de Montpellier

    The three-course lunches at this cluttered bistro are worth staying on an extra day for – rabbit stew, beef bourguignon and sauce-laced fish are mainstays, but always, always leave room for whatever chocolate-based dessert is on the menu. There’s a posher branch up the hill at Lautaro Rosas 510.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude: -33.0427517700000 / Longitude: -71.6280229000000
    Sub-Type: French
    Telephone Number: +56 32 222 4663
    Opening Hours: 1-4pm Tue-Thu & Sun, 1-4pm & 8pm-midnight Fri & Sat
    Pricing
    : weekday set lunch CH$3600, weekend set lunch CH$6400, mains CH$5600
    Price Range: Moderate
    Address: Av Almirante Montt 382
    Extras: Cerro Alegre

    Entertainment

    Cinzano

    Sailors and crooners have been propping themselves up on the cluttered bar here since 1896. It’s now a favorite with tourists, too, who come to see tuneful old-timers knocking out tangos and boleros like there’s no tomorrow.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude: -33.0430725900000 / Longitude: -71.6252841700000
    Type:
    Drink
    Sub-Type
    : Bar
    Telephone Number: +56 32 221 3043
    Opening Hours: 10am-2am Mon-Sat
    Address: Plaza Aníbal Pinto 1182
    Extras: El Plan
    Website: www.barcinzano.cl

    El Trole

    The interior is designed like one of Valpo's famous trolley cars - this is well worth a ride. There's a relaxed buzz to the place, which is evident from the watery front windows.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Latitude: -33.0436561700000 / Longitude: -71.6257733700000
    Type:
    Night
    Sub-Type
    : Bar, Theme
    Telephone Number: +56 32 2494 438
    Opening Hours: 20:00-02:00 Mon-Sat
    Address: Cumming 93, El Plan
    Website: www.eltrole.cl

    Pajarito

    Artsy porteños in their 20s and 30s cram the formica tables at this laid-back, old-school bar to talk poetry and politics over beer and piscola.

    Location: Valparaiso
    Type:
    Night
    Sub-Type
    : Bar, Theme
    Telephone Number: +56 32 225 8910
    Opening Hours: 11am-2am Mon-Thu, 11am-late Fri & Sat
    Address
    : Salvador Donoso 1433
    Extras: El Plan