Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chile Travel: Vina Del Mar Information and Attractions

Viña del Mar is a beach resort located 200 miles (120 km) northwest of Santiago. It is a top Chile travel destination easily accessed from the neighboring city of Valparaiso, which is 9 kilometers distant. The subway service Merval connects the two cities; travel time is approximately 10 minutes by train.
Viña del Mar, referred to simply as Viña, was first inhabited by Spanish inhabitants early in the history of Spanish colonization. The city's name, meaning vineyard by the sea, derives from the vineyard established by a large landowner and which existed until the 19th century. In 1855, a rail line was built to connect Santiago to Valparaiso and an additional stretch completed the route to Viña del Mar. The train station became the center of urban growth in Viña, including Plaza Vergara and the first barrio, Recreo.
Other tourist attractions from the turn of 20th century include constructions built by residents who moved from Valparaiso to Viña following a huge earthquake that devastated the Valpo in 1906. The Castillo Wulff was built by a German merchant in a neo-Tudor style. Palacio Rioja, built in 1907, currently houses an environmental museum. The Casino Municipal, built in an art deco style in 1930, one of the oldest gambling establishments in South America, still remains one of the pillars of tourism to Viña in the present day. Also notable is the summer presidential palace on Cerro Castillo. At the Fronk Museum travelers will find an excellent collection of pre-Columbian artifacts as well as a larger moai, the only one on mainland Chile.
Viña is also distinguished by its rich cultural life. In February, the city hosts the International Song Festival. The festival grounds are at the amphitheater at Quinta Vergara, a large tree-lined park in the middle of the city. This music festival was first celebrated in 1960, it is among the largest, longest-running, and most important in South America. The festival involves a competition in pop and folk song as well as performances by leading Latin American artists. Viña also hosts the International Film Festival; the inaugural meeting in 1967 was the first formal gathering of Latin American filmmakers.
A principal attraction in Viña del Mar is the tranquil white sand beaches, Reñaca and Las Salinas principal among them. In Reñaca, the main beach is known as Long Beach. From the white sand, staircases climb up to residences. The beaches are busiest in the summer months of December, January, and February.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! My wife mentioned something to me recently about Chile travel and how it would be a great experience. I decided I'm definitely planning a getaway for next summer for us. Thank you for sharing this with us!