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Vina del Mar is Chile's premier beach resort and is located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in central Chile. It's part of Greater Valparaiso which is the third biggest metropolitan area in the country. Vina del Mar itself, after Valparaiso, is the fourth largest city in Chile with around 300,000 inhabitants. It's popularly known as the Ciudad Jardín (Garden City).
In general, many people like the clean nature of Vina del Mar, compared to many other cities in the country, including big neighbour Valparaiso. Among the attractions are:
Vina del Mar has a subtropical climate. Summers last from November to March, when it's mostly between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius during the day and pleasantly warm nights. Winters last from June to September when it's still mild, 14 to 18 degrees Celsius or even more, but nights become rather chilly with around 10 degrees Celsius. This is also the wettest time of year (with around 100mm a month in June and July!), summers are almost completely dry.
Valparaiso doesn't have commercial flights, the nearest option is the airport of Santiago de Chile, about 2 hours away.
With a rental car you can drive easily between Santiago and Vina del Mar, via Valparaiso along Ruta 68 in about an hour or a little more during busy traffic times.
Regular buses connect Vina del mar with Santiago (1,5 hours), Valparaiso and many other cities in the country. To Valparaiso, you can also take a shared taxi. It's just a short drive away.
La Serena is about 7 hours away, while travelling to Mendoza in Argentina takes about 12 hours (roads might be closed in winter).
There are no passenger services, though you might be able to catch a berth on a cruiseliner or cargoship from neighbouring Valparaiso. Cruises are mainly during the summer season.
Most of Vina del Mar is easily explored on foot and beaches are not far away either. If not, take a bike or taxi.
|Casa del Sol Bed and Breakfast||Romero 375||Guesthouse||-|
|Che Lagarto Hostel Viña del Mar||Diego Portales 131||Hostel||-|
|Gisela & Carlos house||Entrar Por Avenida Las Mercedes 203||Guesthouse||86|
|Hostal Reloj de Flores B&B||Los Banos 70, Caleta Abarca||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Rokamar||Viana 107, with Von Schroeders||Hotel||-|
|Little Castle||Vista Hermosa 166 Cerro Castillo||Guesthouse||85|
|Kalagen Hostel||Valparaiso 618||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostal Vista Hermosa 26||Vista hermosa 26||Guesthouse||-|
|Hospedajes Mirta||San Miguel 242 Las Colinas||Guesthouse||95|
|Hostal Limonares||Av. Limonares 105||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Bastos||Diego Portales 23||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostal Magnolio||Avda San Martin Psje Montt 6||Guesthouse||-|
|Posada BellaMare||Bellavista 740||Hotel||-|
|Casoina de Chorrillos||Pasaje Portugal 75||Guesthouse||91|
|Residencial Jaguar Hostal||Calle Dos Poniente 333 Casa 12||GUESTHOUSE||89|
|Reñaca Beach Hostel||Emiliano Figueroa 15019 Reñaca, Vina del Mar||HOSTEL||-|
|Casona Española||Jackson 531||HOSTEL||-|
|Green Star Hostel||Tres Poniente 369, Viña del Mar||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostal Limonares||Avenida Limonares 105||Hostel||-|
|B&B CasaMoro||Chorrillos 399 Recreo||GUESTHOUSE||-|
There are cybercafes in every major and midsize city and at all tourist destinations. Some libraries are in a program called Biblioredes, with free computers and Internet. Wifi is getting more and more common. They're usually in metro stations, airports, malls, cafes, public buildings and several public spaces. Check for the ones that say gratis - for free. McDonald's and Starbucks are chains which almost always have free wifi.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Chile is: 56. To make an international call from Chile, the code is: 00. Emergency phone numbers include 131 (Ambulance), 132 (Fire) and 133 (Police).
Public phones located on streets are very likely to be tampered or vandalized, so it's better to use a phone located inside a commerce or a station. Prepaid cards for mobile phones and public phones are sold at most newspaper kiosks, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and phone dealers. Mobile GSM networks are ubiquitous in all major cities and most of the territory of central and southern Chile. A basic prepaid cellular phone usually costs about 15,000 pesos, most frequently charged with 10,000 pesos worth of prepaid minutes. No ID is required to buy a prepaid phone. GSM SIM cards from ENTEL, Movistar or Claro are usually available for 5,000 pesos, but without credit, so you'll need to buy some prepaid minutes to be able to call. Money can be charged into a cellphone from some pharmacies (Ahumada, Cruz Verde and Salco Brand) on the counter and in cash, or by using a credit card through an automated service operator, with directions in Spanish or English.
Correos de Chile is the national postal service, and although relatively slow it is reliable with post offices throughout the country. On the website you can find more information about prices to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. Post offices are generally open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday until 2:00pm, although there are sometimes longer opening hours in the bigger central post offices and shorter ones in small places. Ask around. If you want to send packages internationally, you might consider companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are fast, reliable and usually competitively priced as well.
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