Viña del Mar, Chile

My wife and I spent four days in Viña del Mar, Chile, in March ’06 prior to embarking the Rotterdam in Valparaiso for a cruise. Having been to Santiago before, we decided to try the seaside resort of Viña. The weather was perfect and the crowds were gone, since the “summer” school holidays ended early in March.

We stayed at Hotel Monterilla (phone 56-32-976950, e-mail or visit, a small boutique hotel across the street from the casino. The ocean was only a block away.
Our room (No. 25) cost $119 and had a living room and bedroom, a king-size bed, a large bath, plenty of closet space and a satellite TV with 90 channels. The price included a buffet breakfast that I would describe as “expanded Continental.” There was also free WiFi, a small bar and a friendly staff.

The Monterilla also arranged for our pickup at the Santiago airport for the 1½-hour trip to Viña. The transfer cost $58 for two, which was very reasonable compared with others I checked.

While in Viña, we took two tours from TurisTour (ask the Monterilla staff or visit This is a Santiago-based tour company, but they now have an office in Viña.

Their tour of Viña and Valparaiso, at about $30 per person, lasted about 4½ hours.

A second, 7-hour tour, of the wine-growing area of the Casablana and San Antonio valleys, at about $70 per person, included a stop for lunch (price not included) at a beautiful seaside restaurant plus a very interesting stop at Isla Negra, one of the seaside homes of Pablo Neruda, the Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet. Our guide, Felipe, was wonderful. His English was good and he also conversed with my wife in French.

The drivers were excellent and very safe. We were lucky because both tours were just with the two of us.
Viña has several attractions, as does Valparaiso. There is a metro that links the two cities plus many buses. Viña has many beautiful parks and several notable museums, including one with artifacts from Easter Island. Restaurants are plentiful and the people, very friendly.

We heartily recommend Viña del Mar before or after a cruise or on any tour through Chile. This was our second time in Chile, and we find the country an excellent travel destination.

Escondido, CA