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Reñaca is at the northernmost extreme of the city of Viña del Mar and has been incorporated by it. To the north, along the coast road, is the area of Cochoa and then the town of Concón. It is known mostly as a summer vacation area and receives a very large influx of tourists during the summer months (December–February). The tourist part of town is clustered around the main beach, which is referred to locally as "long beach" and is divided non-physically into five sectors (1-5). The lower part of the hill overlooking the beach is covered with somewhat unique staircase residential buildings that sprawl up the hillside. These apartments are mostly owned by outsiders and remain empty during the off-season (March–November). The town also extends eastwards up the valley through which the Estero de Reñaca flows, it is here that the majority of the year-round population lives. The town has reached its housing capacity in the valley and has grown up the hillsides into the neighborhoods of Los Almendros and Jardin del Mar.
Reñaca has grown slowly but steadily over the years, from a very small community to a more self-sufficient town which lacks few of the commodities of a proper city. As expected of a summer resort town, there is a great gama of wonderful hotels, apartment rentals, lively nightlife activities and excellent seafood and international cuisine restaurants.
It is the home of The Mackay School, the first British school in Chile and one of the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is an all-boys school. The Sagrado Corazon school is also a long-time resident and was a girls only school until 2007. Both schools arrived in Reñaca around 1965 and were the only schools in the town until the early nineties when a group of already established schools moved from Viña del Mar to the upper reaches of the north side of town. The Universidad del Mar also recently built a very large campus on the northern side of the stream valley.
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