I’m going to completely skip over the trip from Neuquen to Vina del Mar, other than to say it was just horrible- late flight, awful hotels, wrong airports, and general stress-you-out disaster! Luckily we arrived in Chile, easily rented a car & took the hour drive west over the mountains to the lovely coastal city of Vina del Mar. We were so relieved to have (barely) survived our 2-day detour, sad to be missing the Andes of Patagonia, and anxious to just relax on the beach. There are 2 main cities, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, on the coast, but many smaller cities line the ocean and cling to the hills just above the Pacific. We decided to take off on a little drive, and I was amazed by the
Our first stop up the coast with the seaside town of Renaca, where buildings lined the streets, packed in as close as they could be to the beach.
We’d pull over occasionally and get out to check the beach, admire the beautiful rock formations and crashing waves.
There were so many high rise condos, going up further and further up the hill, it was crazy congested & everybody wanted to be near the beach.
Then suddenly we came across some MASSIVE sand dunes off in the distance between the road and the ocean. I was just amazed- you can see how much taller they are than the trees down at the bottom and the little horses grazing in the field.
Driving further north, we eventually drove through some of these huge dunes and more farmland.
Looking back up the coast, all the new construction and shiny new condos were quite impressive, as well as all the smaller, older ones that were tiered like stairs into the base of the mountain.
The coastline in this area was simply stunning! There’s nothing more memorizing that watching huge waves crash violently into the rocks.
There are a few little “pocket” beach areas where people would lay out on an available sand, soaking up the sun.
There were all sorts of curious things along the drive to check out; mini-lighthouses, beautiful flower beds, castles, sea lions.
Amongst the sand and rock, some very cool plant life- from brilliant red flowers to curly-Q trees.
We enjoyed watching a fairly large family of sea lions frolic in the surf.
I was amazed at how beautiful and built up the beaches are in Vina del Mar- they even had some cool outdoor exercise equipment. We took a short walk through the other fancy & historical hotel, the Casino Municipal de Vina del Mar. It was beautiful, but I’m glad we decided to stay at the Sheraton.
Here are a few of the amazing old castles that occasionally pop up along the drive. There are very few residences or hotel directly on the water, so these places had some prime real estate. Just outside our hotel was another large public beach, and I had a blast watching all the families out playing in the ocean.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: New iMac is officially ordered- can’t wait for it to get here!