Reñaca

This seaside resort is part of the Viña del Mar coastline, located 7 km. north of the city. The busy holiday season in the summer justifies the assertion that the town now has a life of its own. It has a strong infrastructure with hotels and restaurants, and there are also houses and flats available for let. Reñaca is the most popular part of this stretch of coast. The beach is 1.3 km. long and is bordered by a beautiful promenade. It is a meeting point for thousands of young people and other visitors from many origins during the summer season. Life does not stop at night since there is a wealth of entertainment in places such as discotheques, bars and coffee bars.

From Reñaca you can visit the resort of Concón, Playa Cocha beach, Caleta Higuerilla and Playa Amarilla beach.

History of Reñaca: the origins of Reñaca go back to 1905 when the heir of the Estate at Viña, Salvador Vergara Álvarez, formed a property company called Montemar to urbanize the area, but it was only in 1912 that the plan was approved, and it included only the flat area immediately surrounding the mouth of the stream. Not long afterwards the first houses were built along Vicuña Mackenna and Balmaceda streets, both parallel to  the stream. These were houses built by people from Viña del Mar, on plots of 5,000 m2 or more, and all as far as possible from the beach which was held to be a windy and inhospitable stretch of sand. At the head of the ravine, behind a high wall, could be made out a magnificent park with a central pavilion. This was created by Agustín Edwards Maclure, the founder of the newspaper: El Mercurio de Santiago, and he would come from his residence in Viña del Mar to spend the day there.

The coastal road was extended to Concón in 1917 but the beach at Reñaca remained deserted. It was only around 1940 that building started along the straight road behind the beach, and before long it was filled with the summer residences of holiday-makers from Santiago, today all replaced by modern blocks. However the wide beach of Reñaca continued deserted – nobody would bathe in the sea there as it was thought to be too dangerous. It was a place for family football games, occasional picnics, horse-riding, and races in jeeps and on motorbikes.

The fashionable beach frequented by society, sheltered and with gentle waves, was Cochoa a little way north. Only in 1965 did Reñaca begin to become transformed into the most important centre for summer holiday-makers. As the beach was urbanized it became a fashionable spot. There was a dizzying wave of construction in which recently built houses were swept away to make room for the spectacular blocks which climb the hillside. The entire sea front was reconstructed on land thought to be the most expensive in the country, even the tops of dunes were built over. In 1980, a big residential project called Jardín del Mar appeared to the south of the Reñaca stream, and within a decade was covered with houses and blocks of apartments, transforming Reñaca into the nucleus of the greatest urban development of the whole coastline. Today the beach is a centre for young people and a meeting point in summer for thousands of visitors.

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