Santiago’s biggest advantage is that it’s central to everything: vineyards spread out in each direction and several winter ski resorts lie within 150 kilometres of the city’s Downtown area. The coast is a 90-minute drive in the opposite direction and we motor out through the Casablanca Valley en route to Valparaiso, stopping first at the Bodegas RE and Casas Del Bosque wineries.Valparaiso, once the richest city in South America was hit by an earthquake in 1906 which, together with the resultant tsunami, killed 500 people and hastened the city’s demise. The opening of the Panama Canal followed in 1914, diminishing its importance as a port. Today, Valparaiso is a compact city spread over 40-something hills linked by a series of funiculars. Thirty-six funiculars were installed during the 19th century and a number of them still operate today with more undergoing restoration.