Valparaiso, Chile

The town’s painted buildings
Viña del Mar beach resort
The Quinta Vergara park

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A waterfall of colours

Of Chile’s 4000km-plus coastline, the brief central strip between Rocas de Santo Domingo and Los Vilos is the most visited and developed. Known as the Litoral Central, this 250km stretch boasts bay after bay lined with gorgeous, white-sand beaches, and a string of coastal resort towns.

Valparaíso and Viña del Mar sit next to each other near the middle of the strip. They are geographical neighbours, but poles apart in appearance and atmosphere. 
Viña is Chile’s largest beach resort and one of its ritziest. With its high-rises, casino, and seafront restaurants, as well as the beaches and clubs in nearby Reñaca, Viña typifies modern hedonism. 
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Valparaíso, on the other hand, has far more personality, with ramshackle, colourful houses spilling chaotically down the hills to the sea (but no decent beaches). “Valpo” is Chile’s principal port and naval base, and also perhaps the country’s liveliest and most vibrant city. The nightlife and excellent seafood attract much of Santiago to its bars and restaurants at the weekend, as does the nearby beach resort of Viña del Mar. For stretches of sand, you’ll need to head south or north. 
Closest to Santiago, via the “Autopista del Sol” (Ruta 78), are the resorts south of Valparaíso, which are busier and more developed. The one spot besides the beaches where you might want to spend some time in Viña del Mar is the lovely Quinta Vergara park, where the manicured grounds are home to a vast array of exotic imported plants. It is located a couple of blocks south of Plaza Vergara behind the Metrotrén Estación Viña, with the futuristic-looking Anfiteatro, home to the annual music festival, as its centrepiece.

Must see places in Valparaiso

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    Lunar Valleys and Glasses of Wine
    Lunar Valleys and Glasses of Wine

    Sandwiched between the snowy white peaks of the Andes and the waves of the Pacific Ocean, Chile is the perfect country for outdoor activities and nature lovers thanks to its stunning national parks and reserves, which protect an incredible variety of plants and animals.

    An MSC World Cruise will take you to the very end of this extremely long country – over 4300 km – from Arica, on the Chile- Peru border, to Punta Arenas, on the border between Chile and Argentina, including everything else on the way! 
    During a cruise you may not get to see the driest desert in the world – the Atacama desert with its fascinating Valley of the Moon –, the high trails in the Parque Nacional Lauca, all at an altitude of between 4000 and 6000 metres, or the volcanic peaks and verdant landscapes of the Región de Los Lagos (very similar to the European Alps), but you will definitely have the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness of Patagonia and the statues carved by the Rapa Nui on Easter Island. 
    An MSC day trip will take you to the capital of Chile, Santiago, which is easily reachable from the colourful port of Valparaiso. The city is located in the country's central valley, near an area that is characterised by its vineyards, for example Colchagua Valley, and ski resorts.