Chile: Viña del Mar


We got off the train at the Viña del Mar station and were immediately confused as it was not obvious which direction the beach was (the train tracks had moved away from the shoreline). Someone pointed the way after I’d asked “Pacifico?”  – yeah, I’m almost fluent!

Viña del Mar is Spanish for “vineyard by the sea”  but locals just call it “Viña”.   It’s also known as  La Ciudad Jardín”  – “The Garden City”.  It has a population of around 300,000 and was established in the 1870s as a resort suburb of Valparaiso. After a 1906 earthquake damaged Valparaiso, Viña expanded into its own right as a city.

Sitting grandly beside the Pacific is the Vina del Mar Casino & Hotel del Mar.   The casino, designed in a mix of Greek, Roman and Assyrian architecture opened on 31st December 1930  – just in time for a grand New Year’s Eve party.  The Hotel section was added in 2002, built in style to match the casino.

Just outside the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Casino are horse & carriage rides.


Ah… there’s the Pacific  – about 7,000 miles out there is Australia.

This is Castillo Wulff built in neo-Tudor style in 1906 by Don Gustavo Wulff Mowle (1862-1946) a businessman/philanthropist from Valparaiso.  Part of the castle is out on a point and connected to the main building by a medieval-style bridge.  In 1995 it was declared a national monument and today it’s the headquarters of the Heritage Department of the Municipality of Viña del Mar.

This is the Reloj de Flores  (flower clock)   The clock mechanism was a gift from Switzerland in 1962 as part of that year’s World Cup (soccer)  celebrations – some of the matches were played in Vina del Mar. .  It was installed 15th May 1962 and apparently still keeps the time accurately.


By now we were really tired and happy to go to the nearest station,  Miramar, even though the entrance was not very inviting………

At least the train was clean….

This was our last night in Valparaiso and we ate at Vinilo a restaurant recommended by the Hotel Boutique Acontraluz where we were staying (I really can’t rave enough about this place!  Paloma on their front desk had the most exceptional customer service mentality).   Vinilo serves traditional Chilean food and it was excellent.  The manservant was extremely impressed by the turntables;  I was impressed by the food though blackened salmon doesn’t necessarily make an appetizing photo….



10 responses

  1. Did you ride the horse-drawn carriages? I’m a sucker for them, but my children refuse to ride with me on the Central Park carriages because they think it’s cruel to the horses. No amount of arguing with them about how cared for the horses are, and how they “soften” and make a city more humane, if that makes sense, will change their minds. I guess I’ll have to ride a carriage alone. (Much lighter work for the horse, I’m sure.)

    I take it the restaurant had menus in English? No, blackened salmon doesn’t look good in a photo, but it sounds delicious. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in Vina del Mar. I’ve added Chile to my bucket list of places to visit.

    • I thought about taking a carriage ride but the manservant is not keen on them – we took one through Central Park in 2000… And then I took my kids on one, again in Central Park, a couple of years later. Perhaps you’ll get to take Kai on a ride…..

      There was no English on the menu but we had an excellent server/waitress who went through everything quite clearly. Whatever is beside my burnt salmon is the traditional dish which I do not remember the name of and I’m not sure now what the manservant had. After our big day out in the sun (and late lunch) I really wasn’t very hungry which was a shame – we didn’t have sweets which is unusual for me!

  2. Ooooo…beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!! Such amainzg sights, so wonderful captured!! The clock! Wow. I guess they don’t get snow there? LOVE the ocean views. Awww…7000 miles from Australia! That’s a long swim.

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