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Christmastime in Santiago/Valparaiso - what to do, where to stay

Christmastime in Santiago/Valparaiso - what to do, where to stay

Old Nov 29th, 2016, 07:02 AM
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Christmastime in Santiago/Valparaiso - what to do, where to stay

We are cruising from Ft. Lauderdale to Chile next month and will end up in Valparaiso on Christmas eve. We'll be there for 4 nights and then fly out of Santiago. We are wondering about:

1) whether we should stay in Valparaiso a night or two

2) how's the best way (safest, easiest) to get from Valp to Santiago. Should we just arrange something through the cruise (Celebrity)?

3) where to stay

4) what to do while we're there. We like culture and nature. My wife has MS so gets tired with too much walking; generally if we have an active day we need to follow it with a rest day (thus, the cruise, which is perfect for her).

Thanks so much!
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 10:05 AM
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Christmas in S. America is celebrated on the evening of the 24th. In Chile, the 25th is an obligatory holiday. That means that few things are allowed to stay open. Restaurants are a grey area and some choose to open, but your choices will be more limited. Things will close early. It is a good day for walking in a city where walking is the way to go, there are good walking tours, but your wife will not enjoy that much. There will be public transport between Valparaiso (never Valp, btw) and Santiago on the 24th but crowded and I would not recommend it because of your wife.

If staying in Valparaiso, look for somewhere on Cerro Alegre or Cerro Concepcion. That is where the majority of restaurants are located and many of the best lodging possibilities. Stay through the 25th if thinking of going on to Santiago. I would book private transport. If you look at your ship's roster on Cruise Critic you will find many people looking to share transport immediately after the cruise or a day or so later.

Santiago also has good walking tours but the hop on/off bus run by Turistik is probably a better option. If you go straight to Santiago, I believe they run even on the 25th.

There are so many good hotels in Santiago now that it is difficult to recommend one in particular. Your price range would narrow that down a bit. The Cumbres hotel in Lastarria is good with many restaurants on the doorstep (as well as its own) and will have a lift (elevator) which many of the smaller boutique hotels in the area do not. It is walking distance from some sights or a short taxi ride.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 10:23 AM
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Wow. That was very helpful, Huenteto. A couple more Qs come to mind:

1) What's your opinion on Valparaiso? Nice city to visit, or better to move on? I've read that it can be less-than-safe.

2) How far is it to the Andes? Are there cool/fun things to see in the mountains there? Would a stay there be worthwhile?

3) Are there any natural areas nearby that would be worth a visit? We love nature and wildlife and such

My wife can still walk fine, she gets tired quickly, so if there are good walking tours that aren't more than an hour or two, she should be okay.

Hotel price range... hmm. Well, we have to stay somewhere until our flight leaves on the 28th, so I guess we'll pay what the market will bear. But do you think $150 or so a night will do?

Again, thanks very much.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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1) Valparaiso goes through ups and downs but is reasonably safe if you stick to the more visited areas. Around Cerro Alegre is fine. I think a night in Valparaiso would be nice. Good restaurants.

2) Not much snow except on the highest peaks at that time of year. In the summer there are condor spotting tours to what are ski slopes in winter. About 1.5 hr from Santiago.

3) There are a lot of hiking opportunities around Santiago but getting to them without a car can be difficult. The Parque Metropolitano is right in the city and is on a huge hill with many trails, a funicular and bubble cars, a public pool and a zoo. Good views of the city.

Most walking tours are 4 hours with a rest for a drink and sandwich in the middle. But you can go for as long as you are comfortable and then just leave. The good ones are free + a tip, usually US$10 pp. Free Walking Tour Santiago and Tours4Tips. T4T also does a tour in Valparaiso.
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Old Dec 1st, 2016, 02:11 PM
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The hill neighborhoods that are ok inlcude Alegre and Concepcion. In Valpo you might look at Hotel Fauna in Cerro Alegre, or another option is the Ibis.. which is quite inexpensive and located in the flats near the port. Toutd4tips starts at the square a few blocks from the Ibis. If you go with them on the afternoon tour that includes the graffitti. Valparaiso is an arts city... I enjoyed it. They may be closed on the holiday but there are also museums and the Neruda house. Riding the asencors is fun too..and Tours4tips inlcudes at least one ride (depending on which are open).
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