I was in Santiago for a month, and from Santiago, Valparaiso is surely a must visit. So, decided to take a day trip to this beautiful place.
It’s located right on the coast and is well known for its colorful houses and graffeti. We never get tired of wandering the maze-like narrow streets of Cerro Alegre and looking at the scenic terrace overlooking the harbor.
The best way to explore Valparaiso is hitting the streets, so the road is what we took and we were amazed by the colorful houses, dilapidated buildings, Admiring picturesque architecture, graffiti on the walls and the harbor. We walked up and down hills, past creative street art and carefully restored town houses. Valparaiso has a lot of hills, some of which are home to viewpoints where you can gaze out over the city and the ocean.
You can also take the cable car up to two of these hills, Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Cordillera. Cerro Concepcion is popular place for tourists in Valparaiso. It’s full of cafes, restaurants and stalls selling “Valparaiso” t-shirts and wallets. The quaint, colourful buildings and laid-back atmosphere make it a great place to hang out.
Tip: The stairs are often unexpectedly long. If you want to save some of your walking energy, take an ascensor (elevator) up to the top of the cerro and then wander back down. You’ll be able to enjoy more of the sights that way. Also, There are lots of shops in Valparaíso but many of them are closed on the weekends, especially on Sundays. So, Plan your trip on weekdays or Saturday.
Also, There is a street art tour, which you can take. The GraFREEti tour starts 3:30 PM and meets in Plaza Anibal Pinto, right in front of the Neptune Statue. The tour takes place every day except for Sunday.
PABLO NERUDA’S HOUSE (LA SEBASTIANA)
Valparaiso’s most famous (former) resident, Pablo Neruda, created this living space in the 1960s and today it serves as a way for us to get to know the writer. The view is also amazing and the massive windows he put in take full advantage of it. You can see his passion for collecting things– the house is full of bits and pieces of art and furniture picked picked up from all over the world. Unfortunately you can’t take photos inside his house, but you can poke your camera out of the window to capture those views.
With sprawling views over the city and harbor below, you’re free to explore all 3 levels of Neruda’s hilltop home, getting an inside look at some of the writer’s personal belongings, historic 1950’s style and sources of inspiration.
I recommend getting to La Sebastiana in the morning as entry works on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Also, keep in mind that the Sebastiana house is closed on Mondays.
Entry costs $7,000 CLP per person
Valparaiso became an important port in the 1800s. Ships passed through on their way around Cape Horn, which was the main route connecting the two sides of the Americas. Immigrants from all over Europe flocked to the bustling port city, but that would all change with the completion of the Panama Canal. Valparaiso was suddenly a long way from key shipping routes and fell into decline during the 1900s. Valparaiso was also hit by major earthquakes in 1822, 1906 and 2010.
You will see lots of locals eating in the rundown looking fish restaurants on the other side of the main square in old town, and the prices and quality are not bad. There is also a little boat tour of the harbour near the big square in the old town that is fairly reasonable, and you get to see some sea lions lounging on the buoys
Main Square/Plaza Sotomayor
It is named after Rafael Sotomayor. The square is lined by buildings occupying full block-fronts of the streets that flank it. This is also the most congested area in town. Cars, bused, taxis, people..
Reach there from Santiago: Tur-bus or Pullman both have daily buses going to/from Valparaiso, leaving every half-hour or so. The ride is approximately 1.5 hour.
Getting around, You can also take the Valpo metro which is incredibly easy to take, but could be quite pricey. There’s only one line that runs parallel to the ocean, going from the far end of Valparaiso to Vina del Mar.
If you want to head to the beach, you can take the Valparaíso Metro into Viña del Mar and beyond or you can take a bus into Viña del Mar, Reñaca, Concón and the beaches beyond.
We loved the place, hope you’ll love it too.
Already visited the place ? Let us know about your experience in the comments section.
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