|Viņa Del Mar, Chile
Viņa Del Mar, Chile's most luxurious resort town, attracts an eclectic mix of visitors from all over the world. Some come for Viņa Del Mar 's languorous tropical ambiance--its grand avenues lined with palms and banana trees, its vast, soft stretches of white sand beach, and its sybaritic plenitude of gourmet restaurants. While Viņa's celebrity has brought it any number of sleek, modern buildings, the character of the town is set by its many charming colonial houses. Perhaps the most romantic way to tour Viņa Del Mar 's tranquil streets is via Victoria, the region's traditional horse-drawn carriage.
Viņa's high season is during the summer months of January and February, when it attracts holiday vacationers from Santiago (only an hour-and-half away). During those months the city's cultural life, which is always lively, becomes particularly vibrant--exhibits, concerts, and festivities of all sorts abound. The town's discos remain open, and lively, until dawn, and the Casino Municipal offers world-class gaming. Shopping is also a very popular pastime here, as Viņa is home to many of Chile's finest boutiques.
The resort is also is known for its beautiful parks, including the Quinta Vergara. In the midst of the Quinta's carefully-landscaped grounds is the Museo de Bellas Artes, housed in a turn-of-the-century mansion. Also worth a visit is the 61-hectacre Jardėn Botānico Nacional, home to an enormous variety of native and exotic plants and flowers.
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