A Tour: Reñaca Beach to Viña del Mar
Sometimes we walk to get someplace. Our focus is merely to put one leg in front of the other in order to reach our destination. I find it relaxing to just walk. It helps me clear my mind, organize my thoughts and, of course, it’s good for me.
I also appreciate the visual stimulation. When driving, I have to focus on the road. The scenery slips by quickly, so most of the sights only get a cursory glance; with many being missed altogether. The bus can be slightly better, but then there’s usually distractions on the bus, especially if you like to watch people.
Then there are the walks just to see, feel, sense, dream and let your mind roam. I love these. There are times when I’ll simply want to walk a certain stretch, just to do it and see what’s there. It was on one of these walks that I started taking pictures and sharing with readers. Of course, they’re limited to my experience – so far from perfect. I still have a lot to learn. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this.
For those who are familiar with an area, it’s easy to take such familiarity for granted. You might have driven by an area hundreds of times without recognizing or realizing something about it. So, perhaps, I’ll help you see something from a new angle.
For those who are unfamiliar, it’s a nice introduction. Hopefully it’ll whet your appetite to visit the area. Seeing familiar sights when you’re there in person will help encourage you that you’re in the right place and give some indication of what to expect.
One thing I have learned when walking though – I often forget to take pictures. If I’m just enjoying it, then the camera can be distracting for me. When I stop to take pictures, it usually interrupts my thoughts. So I often take these walks without a camera, at least a few times before bringing one.
This is one of those walks that fulfills everything for me, personally. Right now, it’s my favorite walk. But there is so much more for me to see in this beautiful country that my favorite is bound to change fairly regularly.
For now, join me for what’s really a fairly simple walk, with only a slight grade, along the meandering coastal highway from Reñaca Beach (technically still Viña del Mar) to the park that runs the length of the beach in Viña del Mar. The total distance, as the crow flies, is about 2.15 km (1.35 mi), but is likely closer to 2.25 km or so since you meander along the coast.
I included some pictures of Reñaca Beach in an earlier tour on the walk from Concón to Reñaca. The first picture above is as you approach the south part of Reñaca Beach along the stream that carved out this wonderful little valley. From this point, you’d walk south (left) toward Viña del Mar, or north (right) to walk along the beach toward Concón.
The other two pictures above are from the south bound bus stop along Reñaca beach. I think the next stop isn’t until you get to Salinas, just as you’re getting to the park. The one just above is looking off toward Valparaíso, in the direction of our walk. The rest of the images are views along the way. You should be able to click on each one in order to view a larger picture.
Not all of these were taken on the same day, which accounts for the lighting differences. I waited too long since my last walk there to post these, so they might be slightly out of order. For those familiar with this stretch, feel free to comment below if you can offer names of locations or if you see where an image is out of order.
These first few are as you’re getting away from Reñaca Beach, just as you reach the top of the grade.
There are plenty of places along the route to take a break and take in the views. The path is clear and easy to walk on. Most of the way there’s a designated bike path, but in some places it’s rather obscure and can be a little tight when pedestrians encounter cyclists.
The place up here on the point appears to be for sale, though I’ve not pursued any specifics. You can see the sign in one of the images below. Remember, if you need any help with real estate, we’re ready to help you navigate the property laws of Chile and negotiate a price on your behalf. If you are a foreigner, such assistance can be invaluable – and “simple” mistakes can be quite costly. See our real estate page.
Coming to one of the points along the way, you’ll see this house (apparently abandoned) next to one of our favorite restaurants, The Hotel Oceanic Restaurant. I’ve never stayed in the hotel, but the food is outstanding. The setting is beautiful, with the rocky shore below the large windows in the restaurant.
Gentlemen, you have an opportunity to make some serious points bringing your wives here for a romantic evening. Try to get there about an hour before sunset, so you can enjoy the beautiful views in full light, followed by one of the most spectacular sunsets on the planet. When the sun goes down, the lights of Valparaíso come on, lighting up the city in what appears to be a magnificent electric anthill.
Continuing on, you’ll come across this house, followed by what appears to be a private beach. I’ve never gone down to it, but the entrance appears to be through the property of a resort just before the point. Apparently, there are also cabañas for rent on the south side of the point, with beautiful views of the beach, park and Valpo.
As you come past this last point, you’ll see the park and beach open up to you.
There’s a bus stop here for those who are ready to head back the way they came, or if you’d rather head on to another destination. I have made the walk from the far side of Valparaíso to Reñaca before. it’s really a wonderful walk, but certainly not for those in poor condition, especially on a warm summer day. The sun here can be quite intense at times, even on cooler days. I’ve had the peeling face to prove it.
If you have enough energy left, once you reach the walk along the beach park, you’ll find plenty to do. There are restaurants, kiosks with refreshments, clothes and various trinkets, exercise equipment and more beautiful scenery. But we’ll save that adventure for another day.