Vina del Mar is a popular beach resort ninety minutes from Santiago, and just north of Valparaiso. In fact they are so close, we even walked the 5+ miles one grey day (locals thought we were crazy).
Most of the walk is along a very busy road, and a bit unnerving, due to the buses that come screaming by, but we enjoyed getting some exercise, had lunch at the fish market midway, and really got a feel for the area – just another of our non-touristy days!
Our plan was to stay in Vina for 2 nights, to relax on the beach, then move over to Valparaiso. Our hotel in Vina was the Cap Ducal, designed to look like a cruise ship. It was an experience – the staff was very nice, the restaurant good and the rooms were, well… funky, musty-smelling, 1980’s with a killer view, all for $120 a night, (which is not bad for Vina in high season.)
It felt like you were on a ghost ship from the 50’s – we never saw another guest in the hall, but the hotel said they were full!
After the bright sunshine and balmy nights in Santiago, we were not prepared for cool, foggy weather in Vina, so our plan to lounge on the beach was replaced by a lot of walking and munching.