I’ll be writing more about our extended stay in Valparaiso later, but for now I wanted to highlight some of our day trips to nearby cities. Viña del Mar and Concón are both located just north of Valparaiso. For both trips, we took a local bus and it was only a 45 minute journey!
Viña del Mar
Just 15-20 minutes from Valpo, Viña del Mar feels like a world away. Where Valpo has colourful buildings, stunning street art murals, and the occasional run-down neighbourhood, Viña del Mar is basically the opposite. White-washed buildings, immaculate parks & walkways, and a waterfront that isn’t a major shipping port all contribute to the “elite” feel of the city. We spent our day there mainly just walking around (we went on a Monday – a day when most museums and tourist buildings close. Oops).
Like I mentioned above, the waterfront in Viña del Mar is much more approachable than Valpo’s. Mac and I spent quite a while sitting on the coast watching the waves crash over the rocks (and trying our hardest not to get doused in the spray!). Though small, there is also a beach in Viña. Being that it’s the middle of winter here, understandably there weren’t any swimmers to be seen.
Viña was a fun city to walk around for an afternoon, but I didn’t find the need to spend any more time there. It’s more expensive than the neighbouring Valparaiso, and what Valpo lacks in “bright & shiny buildings”, it more than makes up for with the abundance of culture. Still, I’m glad we explored Viña, and we might even venture back there as I’ve heard there’s a huge botanical garden just on the outskirts of town.
Just another 20 minutes past Viña is the small city of Concón. Mac and I really only ventured this way for one reason: sand dunes. Though it might sound a bit weird, the dunes are a huge attraction for the area. It’s easy to see why – these sand dunes are GIGANTIC!
Our trip there was slightly dampened by an abundance of fog, mist, & grey skies. What are normally scenic views of the Pacific coast were mere glimpses of buildings in the distance. Despite the less than ideal weather, we still managed to have fun attempting to slide down the dunes on scrap pieces of cardboard that we found… it didn’t work.
We didn’t realize that there were sand boards available for rent until we were at the very top of the dunes, and by that point we didn’t want to go all the way down, then all the way back up, so we settled for just catapulting ourselves down the steep slopes. Our shoes & pockets were FULL of sand by the end of the day!!