You probably won’t have a car when you’re studying abroad in Viña del Mar, but that won’t keep you stationary. Here are a few other options for seeing the beautiful Garden City of Chile!
These public buses are flat-rate fare, and pick up as many passengers as they can hold along their established routes. If you’ve traveled in Latin America before, they won’t be that unique to you, but if you’ve never seen these little buses they are quite fun! Signs in the front of the bus note the destination, but it’s probably still best to ask a local which one to take in order to get to your destination. People in Viña del Mar are very friendly and helpful, and while you’re still learning the city, you can ask the bus driver to let you know when you’ve arrived at your stop (by asking “Me avisa cuando bajar para ir a _____?”). Be sure you have small coins — the price is usually no more than 500 pesos, and the driver may not have change.
If you find yourself on a date in Viña del Mar, or just want a fun and open way to get around, consider taking a Victoria around the streets. These horse-drawn carriages are actually what inspired the naming of Ford’s Crown Victoria (the vehicle had a similar model as the carriage, except with a roof or ‘crown’). Victorias are ideal for groups or families as well, as you can fit a fair number of people in the carriage. Drivers are happy to take tourists around the city, and this can be a relaxing way to sit back and go at a slower pace.
Viña is a surfing hotspot for Chile and South America. It’s not as pricey as some of the other locations on the continent, but you may need a wetsuit because the water can get cold! Surfing in Chile started in the 1970s at the Rotique beach just north of Viña del Mar, and the sport has been exploding for Chileans. There are numerous surf shops in town with reasonable rental and lesson prices. You can also try out skimboarding, surfing in very shallow water. Some call this sport a cross between surfing and skateboarding.
The quintessential student transportation fits right in here. There is a paved oceanside trail that connects Viña del Mar with Valparaiso, and you can ride this from one city to the other. Playa del Sol beach in Viña also offers the same coastal trail, which is a pretty way to see the parks and casino. Several shops offer bike rentals and tours, and most of the roads are safe to bike on.
This is a great way to get around the city and zip from one place to the other. If you want to explore some less-touristy nearby areas, consider scooting to nearby Concón. There are beautiful views of the ocean, including an island filled with sea lions called Isla de Lobos. You can find rental scooters next door to the casino in a large city park called Plaza Columbia. This park also offers pony rides and go-carts, so you could technically find two more unique ways to get around Viña del Mar if you are interested …