Getting Around Valparaíso and Viña del Mar: 5 Essential Tips

by Matt Steiner
updated on August 24, 2015

Chile Getting Around

So you’re studying abroad in Chile? Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are two twin cities on the Chilean coast, but it’s incredibly easy to get around. Here’s a list of transportation methods for getting around La Joya del Pacífico. So keep this list in mind to maximize your exploration efforts:

1. Colectivos

They’re cheaper than taxis, but the routes they take are limited. Colectivos are taxis that take several different passengers for a flat rate on a fixed route. The price is usually $0.40-$0.50 USD for local routes within Valparaiso, and $0.90- $1.10 USD for routes between Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. The routes are similar to those of the buses. Routes and neighborhoods are indicated by the sign on top of the car.

2. Micros

These are the city buses. They’re the cheapest mode of transportation in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. You may also use your student I.D. card or carnet (semester students only) to receive a discount on certain routes during the work week. You will quickly learn the micro numbers that travel your daily routes. Your host family and resident director can also help familiarize you with this system.

Chile study abroad

3. Metro

Metro Valparaíso (also called “Merval”) is the metro system serving the urban conglomeration of Gran Valparaiso, Chile. The metro connects the cities of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué, Villa Alemana and Limache. Between the stations of Puerto and Recreo, the train runs at street level, bordering the Pacific coast and offering breathtaking views. The trains then descend into a tunnel below Viana and Álvarez Avenues, with four underground stations. The train exits the underground in the industrial sector of El Salto, and continues along a winding path to the inner metropolitan area.

4. Ascensores

Ascensores are cable cars that reach hilltop neighborhoods. Although some buses have routes that go up the hills, most do not reach the highest points in the city. Residents in neighborhoods inaccessible by bus, and who do not wish to walk several miles up hill, use the ascensores. These also offer spectacular lookout points across the city. Don’t miss the beautiful view from Ascensor Concepción or Artillería!

5. “A Pie”

When all else fails, the shoestring express is there. Chileans walk everywhere as you will quickly learn. This is the best method to explore the city in depth and take in the fresh ocean breeze. Often, you can catch a micro or colectivo into the city from the neighborhoods or cerros, and then walk to your final destination.


Learn the in’s and out’s of transportation in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar during a semester abroad. 

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.