Santiago to Viña del Mar
I woke up decently early to try and get a good start on the day; I knew getting from Santiago to Viña del Mar was going to be a bit of a challenge (navigating the city etc). Surprisingly with the help and advice of Devin, I got there and on the bus without any hiccups.
I picked up a couple medialunas on the way, ready to relax and enjoy the ride with my maté. An older woman settled down in the seat next to me and immediately we started chatting. She was a Chilean from Viña del Mar who had moved to the states when she was 18 (which is totally unheard of here). Now she comes back to Viña for a couple weeks or months every year to see her family and spend sometime near the ocean. During the trip she bought these delicious bread pastries with a yummy filling and coconut on the outside. It was a fun bus ride with great conversation, one of the reasons I had looked forward to traveling alone.
Residencial Jaguar Hostal
Once we got to Viña we split a cab to my hostel/her moms house and parted ways with a kiss and my bag now containing the rest of the delicious pastries. Residencial Jaguar Hostal had buenas ondas even from the outside. A very cute and well decorated hostal with a very helpful woman who checked me in. She gave me a list of things to do in the area and after getting settled I headed out.
Sand Dunes of Concón
I took the bus out of Viña up the coast to Concon, where I was promised an incredible beach and sand dunes. Las dunas were a tad farther so that was my first stop. Unsure of where I was even going I just got off the bus once there were mountains of sand on one side.
When you take that bus ride make sure to sit next to the windows on the left side of the bus, the views are phenomenal.
I took off my shoes and started up the dunes, by the top I was starting to sweat, but the cool sea breeze immediately refreshed me once I reached the crest. What amazing views… It was incredible! So much sand leading down to the ocean. It was spectacular.
A popular activity is to rent sand boards and pretty much “snowboard” down the dunes. Because the rentals were in the opposite direction I was, I decided instead to just run as fast as I could down the dune. I felt like a little kid, but it was so worth it.
I had spotted a rock outcrop out into the ocean where some people were walking on trails. I walked down the dunes until I reached the area then explored this little area, Roca Oceanica. I found a great rock where I could watch the waves crash below me and just tried to take it all in.
This was some of the bluest water I have ever seen, when the waves would crash white foam would sit on the surface making the deep blue water stand out even more. At one point I spotted a seal swimming through the waves.
Reñaca Beach + Empanadas
I then caught the bus heading back towards Viña, jumping off at Reñaca beach. This beautiful long beach was picture perfect and I could only imagine the crowds during the summertime. There were lots of little restaurants and cafes on the water so I stopped at one of the last one to get a coffee and some empanadas. Trying to embrace where I was I got a crab and shrimp empanada, however I have to admit they weren’t the best. I did hear later on there is supposably the best empanada place in Concon, I’ll have to go next time!
Sunset in Viña del Mar
Eventually I took the bus back to Viña and was able to catch the sunset downtown sitting on the rocks. It was so yellow and orange, absolutely stunning.
Back at the hostal the bar was up and running so I had a couple tasty micheladas while getting to know my fellow travelers along with the friends of people working at the hostal. It was nice and relaxing. At some point I decided I should probably eat dinner so after walking a lot and trying to find a good place, I chose a Chinese restaurant. It was expensive and not very tasty, I left a little put off. I do have to say Chile is much more expensive than Argentina… I went to bed fairly early looking forward to trying to get a full day in at Valparaíso the next day.