Kate Gutmann is a student at Ohio State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Kate is currently studying abroad and participating in service-learning in Valparaíso, Chile on the Summer Study + Service-Learning program.
I’m close to wrapping up my trip here and I wanted to leave some advice for places that you should visit if you’re ever in the Viña and Valpo area.
Viña del Mar (and a few others):
1. Calle Valparaíso- start from Teatro Municpal and work your way towards the ocean. You will pass an array of restaurants serving local Chilean cuisine (empanadas, chorrillanas, etc) and local art shops. One place I really recommend is Margarita on Quinta, they’re food is Mexican with a Chilean twist! They also have karaoke :) There is also a dance studio on Calle Valparaíso that offers group classes for all of the local dances: salsa, la cueca, chacha, etc.
2. The mall- This mall is huge! Four floors of every store you can imagine that is also attached to a grocery store. I have also found the Starbucks here that brings me back to home with my non-instant coffee (you either get used to Nescafe or learn to live without coffee here). There are all art shops around the mall on the plaza.
3. Reñaca- okay well this isn’t in Viña del Mar, but you can catch a bus to go there! This is a more touristic place with tons of fresh seafood restaurants and beaches to visit! You will get more of a tourist vibe here but the city is beautiful and worth seeing to do some shopping, eating, and relaxing on the beach.
4. La Campana: this is at the other side of the metro in Limache. This is a must do for any outdoor adventurist! But make sure you plan a full day for this! It takes about 8 hours round trip up and down the mountain. This is a mountain that takes you up about 7 km to the top where you get an amazing view of just country. This is one of the most peaceful and quiet places I’ve been so close to a large city. You are surrounded entirely by nature. This is also physically challenging so there is a way to drive up the mountain too! The first 5 km are not too bad, but the last 2 km to the top be prepared to be crawling up rocks on your hands and knees! By the time you reach the top, you’re looking down on the clouds.
1. Cerro Concepción: Find the little orange cafe with black and white tiles that overlooks all of Valaparaíso! This place is fantastic. Amazing coffee, dinners, desserts, and what a view! This is a frequent visit when I just want to sit back and relax and reflect on that I am actually living here, in Chile, on the ocean.
2. The ascencors in general! They hall have beautiful views and local artwork that lines all of the walls. The stores up there are a little bit more pricey but they seem to be better made products. We had a tour here from the school but it was more fun exploring all the nooks and crannies on my own. There is a ton to discover here for all those art lovers!
3. Puerto- this is the end of the metro and it ends at the harbor. There are again more art shops here and a variety of churros! You can take a boat tour around the shoreline here for really cheap and learn about all of the ships that come in. Make sure you bring a jacket if you go during the winter months, its breezy!
4. Bellavista and Calle Ecuador- this is the heart of Valparaíso with the most activity through the day and night. There are many art vendors here mixed in with every shop that you can imagine. It is also lined with many restaurants and cafes where you can sit down and enjoy Chilean cuisine or a delicious cup of real coffee (a rarity!).
There is so much more than I can explain about these places. They are all filled with cultures and opportunities if you just keep your eyes open. No matter how many times I go back to the same place, I always discover something new!