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The Sunny Side of Chile

With your own rental car you are flexible and you can discover all the amazing attractions of Chile´s exciting central region independenltly.
Well planned with the right partner, a rental car trip in Chile is safe and uncomplicated.

This sample itinerary is intended for epicures who like to take it easy and go on a slow pace, but can easily be changed to more “action-packed”. The World Heritage City of Valparaíso on the Pacific Coast is the “home base”, from where you can discover something new every day with your rental car.

First of all, a few tips:
The area covered by this sample itinerary is densely populated and well connected. Anyway, you should be well prepared in case of a breakdown. In order to make sure you do not have to worry about emergencies, Car-Rental-Chile offers additional accessories such as emergency kits, extra spare tires, and tools

Do not drive after a wine tasting! In Chile, „Tolerancia 0“ is applied, that means, exactly 0 per mill alcohol is allowed. Please, agree on whose turn it is to drive, before going to a wine tasting or eating out.
It is advisable to book visits to wineries or other guided tours in advance. Most wineries also offer tours in English.

The accommodations in Valparaíso range from simple hostels to extravagant luxury hotels and boutique hotels. There is something for every budget and every need.

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Sample Itinerary for a Rental Car Trip to the Chilean Central Region:

Santiago de Chile – Valparaíso
Pick up your rental car at the airport in Santiago. Please have your drivers license and a credit card ready, since a copy of the card must be deposited as a guarantee. The copy will be erased upon return of the car, if there is no damage.

Take Ruta 68 to Valparaíso, at the Pacific Coast. The city´s nickname is „La Joya del Pacífico“ („The Pearl of the Pacific“). It is Chile´s most important port and therefore has always been a magnet for immigration and trading. Until today, the city preserves its rough portcity charm and is very picturesque with its unique cityscape of multicolored houses looking down on the harbour from the hills that surround the bay. At the same time, Valparaíso has gained a reputation as the creative heart of Chile, due to a renaissance of art and culture. In the many small streets you will find art galleries and fashion design studios, as well as a multitude of other entreprises by creative minds.
The lower and upper parts of the town are connected by inclined elevators, so that you do not have too much struggle with the numerous staircases. They were constructed around 1900 and still do their work day in, day out. Every visitor should at least once dare to drive for a few Pesos with one of them, it´s a real highlight!

Overnight stay in Valparaíso. Distance covered about 110 km on asphalt.

World Heritage Site Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, “The Garden City“
In the morning, explore more parts of Valparaíso or visit the museum “La Sebastiana” – one of the excentric and beautiful houses of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, who was once an important part of Valparaíso´s society. A themed city tour on street art is also highly recommended there, since Valparaíso itself seems to be an open air museum for street art.

In the afternoon, drive to the neighboring town of Viña del Mar. For its many parks and gardens Viña del Mar is also called “Ciudad Jardin” (“Garden City”). Park your rental car and walk through the gardens and parks or take one of the horse carriages waiting on the waterfront before you go relaxing on the beach – be it in one of the many bars or just sitting in the sand …

If you would like to explore a little more, drive with your rental car from Viña del Mar northwards. Right „next door“ there is the popular beach resort of Reñaca and behind it the small town of Concon – known for impressive sand dunes and delicious fried seafood empanadas.

Overnight stay in Valparaíso. Distance covered 19 km (Viña del Mar only), 30 km (Reñaca) or 40 km (Concon) on asphalt.
If you would like to explore “only” Viña del Mar, we recommend to take the Metro train.

Wine tasting in Casablanca Valley and 
Whaling Museum in Quintay
Since you are in a wine country and very close to an outstanding winegrowing area, you should not miss out on a wine tasting. In the nearby Casablanca Valley, the combination of coastal terroir and salty sea air provide the wines with some very particular features.
The excellent wines and very good tourist infrastructure were rewarded in 2013, when the Casablanca Valley was included in the list of „Wine Capitals of the World“. We suggest a visit to a winery with wine tasting for the morning (book in advance!):

A tour on Viña Emiliana introduces you to the method of organic wine growing and wine making.
The small and and exclusive Viña Bodegas Recombines exquisitly tradition and modern spirit, you will be delighted!
The Viña Mar overlooks the valley from a hilltop and offers a special flair due to the unusual Mediterranean architecture.

After visiting the winery drive back to the west, to the picturesque fishing village of Quintay. If you have not already had lunch on the winery, Quintay is a perfect spot to eat with a sea view in one of the simple but good fish restaurants.
If you like, you can have some diving lessons in the small bay. Did you know that only a few decades ago, Quintay was a whaling base? The foundation ”Fundacion Quintay” runs a simple, yet interesting museum on the original site and tells the history of local whaling via exposition, videos and pictures.
Before you drive your rental car back to Valparaíso, have a look around the next hill – you might want to let this interesting day fade out on the beautiful natural beach Playa Grande de Quintay.

Overnight stay in Valparaíso. Distance covered about 130 km, mostly on asphalt.

Neruda’s House Isla Negra and Pacific Beach
Today, take your rental car and go on following the traces of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda in the coastal village of Isla Negra. Neruda is the most famous of Chilean poets and one of the most widely translated poets of the last century. During his lifetime, he held various diplomatic posts. Overlooking the sea, Isla Negra was an escape and a writing retreat as well as his place to entertain friends and have his famous parties.

The house is a museum today and contains many personal things – such as collections of nautical figureheads, antique bottles, and indigenous masks. Neruda and his wife Matilda are buried in front of the house looking out over the Pacific.

After the visit to the museum, enjoy the rest of the day on the beach – either in Isla Negra or in one of the surrounding coastal villages of El Tabo, El Quisco or Algarrobo. By the way, in Algarrobo, there is the world´s largest swimming pool in a beach resort.

Overnight stay in Valparaíso. Distance covered about 180-200 km, mostly on asphalt.

Valparaíso – Santiago de Chile
Drive back from Valparaíso to Santiago Airport via Ruta 68. Drop off your rental car in Santiago de Chile and take your return flight. Distance covered about 120 km on asphalt.

In order to discover the multiple attractions of Chile´s capital as well, plan some extra days there. No rental car is necessary to explore Santiago.