Following a sub-par day in Santiago I was up early in the morning for a 90 minute bus ride to Valparaíso. Much of what I heard of Valparaíso was validated shortly after arriving. It’s a beautiful, small, sea-side city built into the hillside, with colored corrugated tin houses and street art abound.
The first day was spent on a free walking tour recommended by a friend of a friend, if you’re a regular reader of the blog you know this is one of my favorite activities upon arriving in a new city. The tour was a great way to get a sense of what the city had to offer. Following the tour we met up with the friend of a friend and her husband and they took us on an insider tour of Valpo, hopping from a number of different bar/restaurants doing some damage on the abundantly cheap, and very tasty Chilean wine. I was introduced to a couple of new varietals that have made it into my primary wine rotation. Carménère, which was thought to have been an extinct wine from Bordeaux, France, as well as the Carginan varietal.
Since we were in a famous wine producing region it made sense to visit a vineyard, no? We took a morning bus to the town of Casablanca and made our way to Bodegas RE, a small winery that produces some creative types of wine in limited batches. We were given a tour of the winery, and then had a 5 course tasting meal with a wine pairing for ~$60. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the Valparaiso area.
Following a nice mid-day wine buzz we made our way back to Valparaiso. On our walking tour the day before we caught wind of the possibility of sand boarding on these giant dunes on the Pacific Ocean somewhere near Vina Del Mar. So we hopped on a bus and made our way to the dunes, ~30-45 min by bus, but couldn’t find anyone to rent us boards. In my mediocre Spanish I tried asking a gentleman who worked in the grocery store where I could rent a board, between my Spanish and our pantomiming it did not get us very far, but we did walk away with a 6 pack of beers as a consolation prize. We walked all along the dunes for ~30 minutes looking for someone to rent us a board and ended up giving up, ultimately taking a bus back to the hotel.
It was a quick adventure in Valpairasio, as we were off to the next leg of our trip. Rio De Janeiro! I think we got the most out of the 2 days we were there, and I’d highly recommend a trip to Valparaíso if you’re anywhere near Santiago.