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Chile: Viña del Mar

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: In the Balance

Score: 60

Stately old mansions and sleek new condominiums skirt the palm-lined boulevards of this fashionable beach city. Viña del Mar remains attractive and historically interesting, but overbuilding has damaged the ecology of its beaches, and peak-season crowds and traffic are poorly handled.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"Viña is one of Chile's most popular beach destinations. This means that the coast, from an environmental perspective, is rather fragile. There are also serious beach access problems. To get to the sea, all traffic has to pass straight through the city."

"Nice European-style beach resort just north of the big seaport of Valparaiso. A little overbuilt; perhaps not as quaint as it used to be. But still a pretty resort."

"Other coastal parts of Chile, both north and south, do not suffer from the same pollution, overcrowding and traffic that Viña del Mar coast experiences. An authentic destination, nonetheless. Full of interesting history and culture."

"Overbuilt but has good character."

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