Went on a cruise out of Valparaiso but stayed in Vina Del Mar from March 10, 2010 until March 14, 2010 at the Sheraton. Great hotel. Minimal damage from the huge earthquake - pretty much aesthetic. We were in the Santiago airport during the 7.2 earthquake. Roads were very easily traveled from Santiago to Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar. We had to take a taxi instead of the car rental we had reserved as after the earthquake all the rental agents left their stations. Turned out to cost us less to take the taxi and rent a car in Vina Del Mar for 2 days than to pay for a car rental for 3 days. Had a great time. People were very friendly. Town is clean, food is good. We drove to the El Cuadro Ranch/Winery in Casablanca region between Vina and Santiago (about an hour drive). An absolutely beautiful winery on 7,000 acres. We took their tour and lunch package for $80 U.S. At first thought it was alot until we experienced it. Started with wine tasting and appetizers, then a rodeo exhibition, followed by a horse driven carriage tour of the winery. Next was an explanation of about 36 different grape vines that are experimental. They are trying to see which ones will grow best in their climate and which need more "work" and which will not grow at all. Then a tour of their museum, followed by a fabulous lunch with unlimited wine. The food was incredible (we chose the Chilean 3 course lunch). The wine was outstanding!! The people working in this winery are exceptional. We bought 3 cases of wine and are currently working with American Airlines to deliver our wine that they lost a case, and made us leave 2 cases at their check in counter (long story). We would recommend both the cities and the winery/ranch.
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