We travelled west to the Pacific Ocean to
Valparaíso, the main port of the country.
The route passes the agricultural valleys
of Curacaví and Casablanca, the latter
which is now growing the chardonnay grape.
Valparaíso is surrounded by
42 hills that seem to dive into the ocean.
It was once a flourishing city and the most
important maritime destination of the Pacific
coast before the Strait of Panama was opened
to navigation in 1914.
We visited La Sebastiana Museum, one of the
houses lived in by the famous Chilean writer
and nobel poet Pablo Neruda. He collected
many memorabilia which are on display in
the house, which has been restored to be
as it was when he lived there. Then a walk
in the old downtown district and then a trip
in the funicular lift to see view the harbour.
(There are 27 hills in Valparaiso with funicular
Vina del Mar
Travelling north along the coastline of the
bay we reached the city of Viña del
Mar, the most famous and visited seaside
city of the area, with miles of sandy beach,
its many parks of huge trees and palms that
gave Viña del Mar the name of 'Garden
City'. It is the fourth largest city
in Chile. Lunch was in a restaurant overlooking
the beach. Along the coast we saw the seals,
pelicans, gulls and cormorants.