There are many benefits of arriving in port at least a day early; especially for a cruise that involves a long flight. Rather than join the ship, tired, jetlagged, or just stressed from a delayed flight, it’s easy to arrive early, and begin adjusting to the current time zone. In Vina del Mar, you will be glad you did.
The perfect getaway, it is close enough to port to require only a short taxi ride, but a world away in experience. Only 74 miles from the Santiago airport, your shuttle from the airport passes acres of vineyards frame by mountain ranges in the background. If you plan a private tour you could even tour some local wineries.
When you arrive you find a modern city, but along the waterfront a promenade and a cadre of buildings that would seem more at home in Europe, than South America.
In the afternoon residents siesta, but when night falls, families stroll the promenades and visit the local cafes and restaurants until late. Spend you days exploring the historic buildings or just strolling on the beach. At night, stroll the promenade with them, or just sit and people watch.
We stayed at the Sheraton Miramar Hotel, with an unmatched view of the sea and a dramatic architectural style. Clean, modern and comfortable, it is a perfect local to explore the city, only a short stroll to the busy center, yet quiet and relaxed.
As you stroll along, you will see The Wulff Castle hugging the edge of the sea. Originally owned by Gustavo Wulff, and acquired by the city in 1959, today it is a National Historical Monument, and museum. Entrance is free.
The Fonck Museum is housed what was once the Delano family residence from the early 20th century. Here you will find one of the ancestors or “Moai” from Easter Island as well as many other interesting exhibits, including information on the Rapa Naui people, Chilean life, as well as natural history exhibits.
The Palacio Rioja, is surrounded by beautiful gardens, just inviting you to pause from your exploration. Once open as a museum, it has not reopened since being damaged by the earthquake in 2010.
For those who like to try their luck, the beautiful Vina del Mar Casino is house in another charming building and commands stunning views.
With only five miles separating Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, there is no better place to begin your cruise vacation.