Our last stop in Chile was Valparaiso. The city rose to prominence as a major stop on the route to California during the 1849 Gold Rush. Today it’s better known for steep hills and street art.
Located just around the bay from Valparaiso is the town of Vina del Mar. Among other things, Vina del Mar is home to a giant Flower Clock built when Vina del Mar was one of the host cities for the 1962 World Cup. for a quick look around we met up with Tours-4-Tips again.
Though the two cities seem to be growing into one, Vina del Mar is an interesting contrast to Valparaiso. While Valparaiso is very bohemian, full of street art and narrow, steep roads, Vina del Mar is much more polished and orderly.
After our tour we had a little lunch at the Sheraton Hotel on the coast where Ella took great pleasure from being in charge of scaring birds away from our table.
On the drive back from Vina del Mar we decided to stop for a little sandboarding.
Just north of Vina del Mar, in a town called Concon, is a large dune field called, not surprisingly, Dunas de Concon. The dunes are located along the coast between the water and the road. This makes for an interesting view on the top with the Pacific coast on one side and a shopping centre on the other.
After looking for a parking lot, we realized that we just needed to stop on the side of the road next to the guy with a stack of sandboards. For about a dollar we had a board and set off up the dune.
Fortunately, in a stroke of genius Katy remembered that we should bring some socks which saved our feet from the burning sand. The ratio of walking to boarding was probably 10:1 but it was still a fun way to spend an hour.
From the dunes we had a quick stop at the beach before heading back to our apartment in Valparaiso and checking out some more graffiti.
Sadly, the end of our time in Valparaiso also means the end of our trip.
On the way to the airport the next day, we did manage to fit in one last treat, with a stop at Casas del Bosque for lunch and a glass of wine.
We really enjoyed our time in Chile. So much so, that I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves back again before we’ve finished visiting the rest of the world. For now, it’s back to Toronto and planning for our next destination.