Viña del Mar, also known as the Garden City, is one of Chile 's most popular beach resorts. Located on central Chile's Pacific Coast, the golden beaches and relaxed decadence of Viña del Mar makes for a great weekend getaway for visitors from Santiago and Valparaiso. The city is divided into a downtown area and the beachfront. The beachfront is a better place for visitors, with hotels, restaurants, and direct beach access. If you have a car for rent in Viña del Mar, then you can move around the city, which has a host of gardens and unique landmarks that are worth seeing, including a flower clock, a horse racing track, and an art deco casino. February is an exciting month to be here, with the Derby and then the Viña del Mar International Song Festival, which is a huge music festival for Chile and the rest of the Americas.
The best thing about the Garden City is that most of the parks and gardens are part of the tourist attractions. Get a car for hire in Viña del Mar and see the Reloj de Flores, which is a flower clock near the beaches. The casino also has a nice garden on its extensive grounds. Palacio Carrasco has a park around it, with a Rodin sculpture, which is now a National Historic Monument, at the entrance. You must also see the Jardín Botánico Nacional on the city's outskirts. The other must-visit attraction on this tour is the Quinta Vergara Park, where the Festival De Viña takes place every year.
The best beach for Viña del Mar visitors is Reñaca Beach, which is a resort about 15 minutes out of the city. Another 10 minutes ahead is Concon, also a resort and just as good as Reñaca Beach. Within the city limits, you have Playa Caleta Abarca near Reloj de Flores. Other beaches that are easily accessible include Playa Los Artistas, Playa Blanca, Playa Los Marineros, Playa Casino, and Playa el Sol.
The top-rated hotel in Viña del Mar is the Hotel del Mar, which is a part of the Casino Resort. The facilities and location are good enough that you may not want to leave at all once you stay here for a few days. The Hotel San Martin and Hotel Monterilla are decent places to stay and more affordable than the Hotel del Mar. The Hotel Montecarlo has a perfect location at the entrance to Reñaca.
You can spend a lifetime on the beaches and seaside resorts near Viña del Mar and Valparaiso without getting bored. But, if you have the time and inclination for a foray inland, the best choice for a day trip is Santiago. Book your car rental in Viña del Mar and head out for a 2.5-hour drive to the capital on Route 68. Possible stops along the way include the Lago Peñuelas National Reserve and the Casablanca Valley, which is part of the scenic Chilean wine country.
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