Are you sold to the vibrant beauty of Valparaíso? Have you decided to spend longer than the couple of days visitors usually allow it? Well done, this is a great decision! Valpo can certainly keep your head spinning for a week or more, with its cultural events and its street life. But if you fancy a day off and into the nature, then what? Then this list of top things to do near Valparaíso, Chile, that’s what!

Viña del mar flower clock

Viña del Mar

Nearby Viña del Mar is literally attached to Valparaíso along the coast; you could go from one to the other without noticing it. Richer, cleaner, with many restaurants, malls and casinos, it presents a stark contrast and was for us a simple day-trip.

We recommend: its long and clean beaches, the botanic gardens and the spectacle of the fishermen (and -women!) at night.

Avenida Libertad, the main street, is lined with many small shops and eating places. The waterfront is populated with strollers and street sellers, especially in the evenings; we particularly enjoyed watching the different fishing techniques there.

What to do there?

  • Sunbathe at El Sol beach
  • Have a walk on the seaside
  • Visit the Botanic Gardens
  • Relax at the Quinta Vergara city park
  • Take a photo of the flower clock that is so famous (for obscure reasons)
  • Observe the fishermen and -women at the Vergara pier in the evening
Vina del mar beach evening
Evening view on Viña del Mar’s beach. Behind, the fishing pier and Valparaíso in the background.

How to get there?

It’s very easy to go from Valparaíso to Viña del Mar. There are frequent buses driving along the coast on Avenida España. You can also take a taxi or an Uber (that works very well in Chile too). But the most convenient way is probably by overground metro. It takes 15 minutes and is very cheap and clean. You will need a top-up transportation card though; but ask first at your accommodation before buying one, they might be able to lend you one.

Laguna Verde

The beaches around Viña del Mar are popular getaways for Santiaguinos (residents of Santiago) and Porteños (residents of Valparaíso) alike. Having said that, we preferred the more quiet and local beaches in the south, for example Laguna Verde.

This small-town beach is only 30 minutes south of Valparaíso and feels immensely relaxing after the tumult of the city. It’s not a wild adventure either, just a smooth escape for a one-day trip. The water is a bit chilly, even in the summertime; but that’s the case anywhere in that region.

If lying on the beach is among your favourite things to do, then don’t miss this one near Valparaíso while you’re in Chile.

What to do there?

  • chill at the beach
  • eat a humita at one of the local restaurants
  • have a stroll along the El Sauce estuary

How to get there?

Take the local bus number 520 in direction of Laguna Verde – Playa Ancha. You can board it from opposite Plaza O’Higgins, along Calle Pedro Montt or Calle Blanco. Make sure you have the top-up card of the city’s transport system.

Las Docas

We loved spending a night wild camping on Las Docas beach! It’s a beloved activity of the Santiago’s youth’s, so you certainly won’t be alone. But a night stroll with the sound of the waves, the shadows of the tents, a couple of dying fires and the voices of people… it’s quite fascinating!

The beach isn’t very large, but you’ll notice another part behind the rocks on the right, where few people go. There is a parking fee but no fee to camp. There are a few shops on the way and one on the beach, but they are a bit pricey so bring your own stuff from Valpo.

Las Docas was our favourite beach in Chile so we had to list it among the things to do near Valparaíso.

What to do there?

  • Fire cook, wild camp and your usual beach fun!
  • Collect seaweed (“cochayuyo“) to cook some Chilean recipes
Las Docas beach things to do near valparaiso
Our little corner of paradise on Las Docas beach, one of the best places near Valparaíso.

How to get there?

There is no public transportation to get to the beach. By car, it’s 30 minutes to Laguna Verde + 30 minutes more on the F-98. We recommend that you use a GPS as there’s no large road to guide you. The way to the beach is steep, curvy and narrow, and has no asphalt, so be careful!

Read more: Wild camping on other shores, in Argentina’s Patagonia

Surf in Concón

If Pichilemu is known as Chile’s surf capital, you don’t need to go that far for the perfect waves. Concón, only 20 km north of Valparaíso, is also reputed. If you’re a beginner, no worries; there’s a handful of schools to help you put your feet on the board…and keep them there!

If you’ve made it until here, have a look at the free Ecological Park La Isla, at the estuary of the Aconcagua River; and time the sunset at the sand dunes just outside of town, to the south.

What to do there?

  • surf
  • bird watching at the estuary
  • sandboarding and sunset at the dunes

How to get there?

Concón is a 1-hour bus ride from the centre of Valparaíso, after Viña del Mar. Catch local bus 602 or 605 from Calle Brazil or Avenida España.

Read more: Our Christmas at the beach, in Chile’s surf capital

Quintay fishing village

Further down, a 50 km south of Valparaíso, lies the gentle village of Quintay. It’s a fishing village, formerly a whaling station and now a pretty alcove where days are slow and long. We also recommend the place if you want to snorkel, there’s an operator at the small beach.

It’s often listed as one of the best things to do and see near Valparaíso, and in Chile in general. Note that the main beach –Playa Grande– is in another part of town, 3 km more north.

What to do there?

  • chill at the beach
  • enjoy the slow-paced village life
  • snorkel
Playa Grande in Quintay. Photo: Pixabay.

How to get there?

As far as we know, there is no public transportation to get to Quintay either. It’s a 1-hour drive by car, taking Route 68 and then turning right on the F-800 at Las Tablas.

Lago Peñuelas National Reserve

This is a beautiful national reserve surrounding a freshwater lake, the one that aliments the taps of Valpo and Viña. It counts with several short and easy trails for everyone to enjoy a day in nature. It’s a nice place to observe a great many birds of the Chilean countryside; out of the 120 species that have been reported, how many can you spot?

Some parts of the reserve can be accessed only with a park ranger through a guided tour; others are freely roamable, so to speak. The entrance fee as of November 2019 is $6,000 CLP (6,81€/$7,50).

What to do there?

  • Hike or ride a bike
  • Bird watching
  • Camp

How to get there?

Besides the usual rented car/hitchhiking business on Route 68 in direction of Santiago, you can take a very normal bus. Take any that goes to Santiago or Casablanca, and get off at km 87.3 of Route 68. If you tell the bus driver that you’re going to Reserva Nacional Lago Peñuelas, they’ll know where to drop you.

Wine tour in the Casablanca valley

Chilean wines are famous worldwide and many of them are produced in this part of the country. There are 3 wine regions scattered around Santiago; and one of them is right next to Valparaíso, in the so-called Casablanca valley. It includes the world’s biggest organic and biodynamic vineyard.

Of course, research well beforehand which vineyards are there, the price of their visits and their opening times. We genuinely think that visiting a vineyard should be on your bucket-list of things to do near Valparaíso or Santiago.

What to do there?

  • visit several vineyards
  • taste several wines
  • get tipsy
  • come back

How to get there?

It’s easy to book a wine tour from one of the agencies downtown. But it’s not much more difficult –and it’s definitely much cheaper– to tour it yourself. For this, just catch an early bus to Casablanca; once there, negotiate a flat day rate with a taxi driver (expect to pay a minimum of $40,000 CLP). Alternatively, you can try to find an Uber from each vineyard to the next one.

chile wine tours are among the best things to do and see near valparaiso
In 2011, there were 339 wineries scattered around Chile. Photo: Pixabay.

We’re sure there are even more wonderful things to do near Valparaíso and that part of Chile is just beautiful. In fact, the whole land is full of stunning landscapes, which are as diverse as the country is stretched. For more inspiration on where to go in Chile, feel free to check our other favourite places:

Santiago, neighbourhood by neighbourhood The many reasons to visit Valle del Elqui The islands of Chiloé, where time has stopped The Atacama Planet and how to visit it with peace of mind

While you’re in Valpo, make sure you also check our whole list of things to do in Valparaíso on a budget.

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Do you know Chile well and can recommend other things to do near Valparaíso? Feel free to tell us in the comments!

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Who am I?

Anthony fell in love with the world, and more particularly with South America. He wants to offer inspirational guides to the curious backpacker, travel stories to the online generation, and incentives for a more responsible and greener way-of-travel for everyone.

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