Vina del Mar: it's Chile by the sea

Trip Start Jan 18, 2011
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Che Lagarto Hostel Vina del Mar
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Chile  ,
Monday, April 11, 2011

Before we head off to New Zealand we decided to check out Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso on the Chilean coast, just a couple of hours from Santiago.

We stayed in Vina Del Mar, a pleasant enough town with great beaches and coastal views. We hired a strange buggy bike thing (see pic) on our second day and cycled along the coastal path. Views were truly magnificent, plus there were plenty of unusual seabirds around like pelicans. On other wildlife, there were stray dogs EVERYWHERE! We have found this across the whole  continent but it felt like an episode of Rude Dog and the Dweebs here. 

The city of Valparaiso is just 6 km away from Vina and is best described as Chile's version of Brighton.. Lots of amazing graffiti everywhere and cute cafes and restaurants. The whole town is spread over very steep hills so there are funiculars everywhere and of course being tourists (and lazy), we caught one :)

We also experienced a small earthquake while having lunch in a cafe! It felt like the earth was vibrating and definitely noticeable though the waitresses barely stopped to take notice. What we felt was apparently a 5.1 magnitude earthquake 50 miles offshore. :-/ 

 Only last year the area had an 8.8 quake that killed hundreds.. Fingers crossed we won't feel any more on our travels!
The only disappointment over the few days was the weather (insert Chile/chilly pun here). It was really quite cold apart from one patch of sun when we hired the bike buggy..

Whilst here we tried couch surfing for the first time. It's basically a website where kind individuals offer travellers a free night's accommodation and often offer to show them around their town. I was a bit apprehensive but our host Carolina was lovely. She had a huge apartment with a great view overlooking Vina Del Mar. We went out for dinner and tried the local specialty, chorillana. It's a large plate of chips, fried egg and onion and beef. Sounds wrong but it tastes so right!
Anyway couch surfing was great, we'll do it again if we get the opportunity...

Next we head back to Santiago before New Zealand :)
Lisa x
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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