Viña del Mar: the Chilly Chilean Beach

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How do you know you are on a Chilean beach? It’s easy: most people keep their clothes on. While Brazilians wear bikinis and parade half naked, Chileans are much more modest. They eat on the beach, read the newspaper, chat and occasionally dip their feet in the cold Pacific Ocean but that’s it. They are basically my mom on the beach.

I don’t blame them. The beach in Viña del Mar isn’t that great. The sand is a bit dirty and coarse and giant pieces of seaweed and jellyfishes are scattered here and there, along with some industrial garbage—tires, bolts, etc. There are giant vessels in the horizon and I doubt the water is very clean considering how close the industrial harbour is. The Pacific Ocean is cold and deep here and the waves are huge.

The waters aren’t friendly.

“It’s okay Mark,” I stated the first day. “If we walk along the shore right here, on the dry sand, the water won’t come.”

“How wet are you?” I asked a minute later after a giant wave soaked us both.

“A little bit.”

“Yeah, your pants are wet. Oh well, you can wear my sarong. My fault.”

‘Silly mommy, silly beach!”

Waves are big. I hadn’t seen that one coming.

Since few people play on the beach (there was even a sign stating that playing football was prohibited, which is probably why Brazilians and Argentinians don’t holiday in Viña del Mar), entertainment is on the pavement along the coast. Bouncy castles, playgrounds, craft markets and vendors keep everyone happy. The rest of the city is a cleaner and sterile version of Valparaíso with American fast-food chains, a packed mall and several pedestrian streets.

Last year, I had high expectations for Viña del Mar, I was picturing a Pacific paradise. This year, I knew the beach wasn’t great and it was a bit chilly too, but we still managed to enjoy it. Go figure.

Giant seaweed on the beach in Viña del Mar

Giant seaweed on the beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Beach in Viña del Mar

Do NOT play football

Do NOT play football

The town of Viña del Mar

The town of Viña del Mar

Bakery in Viña del Mar

Bakery in Viña del Mar

Bakery in Viña del Mar

Bakery in Viña del Mar

Funny (?) phone booth

Funny (?) phone booth

When everything else is closed, you eat... fries with sausage, something everyone here apparently loves

When everything else is closed, you eat… fries with sausage, something everyone here apparently loves

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

    • Yep, I do! I forgot how it started. I think when I was pregnant it didn’t fit right on the regular finger, or it bothered me. Can’t remember. I didn’t change it back after! I had no ides Spanish and Germans wore it this way. Do you know why?

      • I’ve been researching for years now an I have no idea why! Wearing it in the left hand makes sense (close to the heart blahblah) but I dunno for the right hand 🙂

  1. One good thing about the cold is that the Zika mosquito can’t survive in Chile or Canada. This must be frightening for pregnant women in the affected countries. Is there much talk of it?

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