We caught a bus from the Alameda terminal in Santiago to Valparaiso on December 20. The journey is only about an hour and a half so it makes an easy day trip. We had read that Valparaiso was a ´charming´ city with a lot of historical buildings. But to be honest when we arrived there it looked run down and kind of dodgy. When we realized that Viņa del Mar was a short 10 minute bus ride away, we jumped on the first shuttle. We were pleasantly surprised by Viņa del Mar and so happy to have a nice place to hang out for the day.
We walked from the main square to the Rapa Nui museum (the closest we got to Easter Island). It was cool to see artifacts and read the history of the huge Moai statues of Easter Island. They also had a huge collection of insect and animal specimens (in glass cases), which is really the only way I want to see a tarantula or scorpion.
After the museum, we walked to the beach and attempted to put our feet in the water but it was way too cold! Apparently the Humboldt current keeps the sea chilly in Chile. We had a picnic in the sand and then started to walk along the coast to see the castles. There are four main castles to see but we just went to the Wulff castle and walked by another one that is now the exclusive Arab club.
We wandered to the clock made of flowers near another beach then walked up the hill for a good view of the city. We finished our outing with a McDonalds hamburger and a beer. What better ending to a beach outing! We took the shuttle back to Valparaiso and caught the bus back to Santiago. It was a really great day trip to Viņa del Mar...
Maybe we should have given Valparaiso a second chance, but we just couldn´t see that charm everyone was talking about. Perhaps a tour of the city or a rental car is required to uncover said charm. If anyone finds it, let us know and we´ll be sure to give it another try when we return to Chile some day!