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Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
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The central Pacific Coast of Chile is an area that runs roughly from between 100km north of Santiago to 200 km south of Santiago. The climate here is Mediterranean, offering hot and dry summers with little rain; short, cool and changeable winter weather with snow falling in the mountains. Santiago enjoys spectacularly good summers due also to its altitude (543 m - 800 m) and the costal-range mountains that prevent the clouds from encroaching up to the city. In the summer months the entire Pacific Coast offers wonderful beaches, sunshine and outdoor activities.

Vina del Mar�

Is Chile is principal sea-side city located 120 km to the north-west of Santiago, offering beaches, night life and an all-night casino. In the summer months it is very popular and consequently packed with holiday makers including many Argentineans who come over from Mendoza.


Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal ships would stop off at Valparaiso to offload and pick up cargo en-route or just to rest and pickup supplies having rounded the southern Beagle Channel (near Cape Horn) before continuing towards North America. Today it is less active than in its hey day but nevertheless still an essential port of entry and export for goods coming in and going out of the country. It is also a stop off point for the increasing numbers of cruise ships that visit Chile.

Places of Interest�

The section of the city immediately opposite the main port area is an interesting historic part of Valparaiso. The hills, of which there are 42 "cerros" (hill tops) rise up steeply and are covered in ramshackle-looking, but characteristic houses of a previous era many painted in contrasting bright colours. Walking through the narrow streets and passages is an interesting way to explore the "bohemian neighbourhood" offering an opportunity to see and feel some of the local life at close quarters.�

Getting up the hills can on foot, which can be tiresome; by car, which is boring or by taking one of the many funicular railway carriages, some built in the late 1800 is, from street level. Once up there, take a walk around and then have a drink or meal at one of the restaurants from where you will get a wonderful view of the Valparaiso bay, the docks and over to Vina del Mar.

Suggested funicular start point is: Acensor Concepcion. At the top is Cafe Turri (restaurant with terrace) and around the corner is Hotel Brighton (also restaurant with terrace) and La Colombina (pub) off Paseo Yugoslavia.�

Pablo Neruda
If you are a follower of Pablo Neruda, Chile Nobel Prize-winning poet in 1971, one of his houses is in Valparaiso at Ferrari 692, on the hill called "Cerro Bellavista". Access is from Plaza La Sebastiana. Open Jan / Feb: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:30 hrs to 18:50 hrs, rest of the year: Tuesday to Friday 10:30 hrs to 14:10 hrs and 15:30 hrs to 18:00 hrs.

New Year�

Valparaiso puts on a spectacular firework display on New Year is eve, one of the best in the world. The spectacle draws in the crowds and restaurants make a killing by charging exorbitant prices. If you can get to a view point, however, the show is pretty impressive.


Zapallar is 181 km north-east of Santiago by road and 75 km north of Vina del Mar. We tried to keep this place a secret, but it has now, unfortunately, been "discovered". It comprises a very small bay with sandy beach, a simple village and two beach side restaurants - one is known for its fish menu and the other for a more general menu. The fish one is called "Chiringuto is" situated right next to the sea with views to the fishing boats and back to Zapallar beach. Unfortunately, due to commercial greed the owner has made the big mistake of modernising it and this has resulted in a loss of much of the charm and magic it once had. It is, however, firmly ensconced on the "must go to" restaurants by the rich and famous. There are still the simple wooden tables, parasols, and old fishing boat forming the bar. The hills in Zapallar that back up from the beach are covered in large houses, owned by wealthy Chileans as weekend and summer houses.�