Wanderlist Discover: Valparaiso, Chile
The colourful and vibrant town of Valparaiso has something new to show you every corner that you turn or every narrow alley you enter. You can expect almost anything in this bohemian town, from the youthful excitement of a carnival, panoramic views that take your breath away or even the wild architecture of this World Heritage City. Known as the ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, Valparaiso is brought alive by its brightly coloured street art and murals, that dominate the cityscape as much as the historic architecture. Take a stroll along the narrow lanes of the city, or ride its funicular elevators to get to one of the numerous vantage points that give a brilliant view of the town. Or just head down to the ocean-front wharf to experience the fiesty fisherman’s market. There are many ways to keep yourself occupied all day in this bustling town, that has been an inspiration to poets and writers, including Chile’s very own Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Pablo Neruda.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- Cerro Alegre : Valparaiso is a maze of hills, or cerros, and Cerro Alegre is one of the biggest cultural icons of the town. A melting pot of culture and art, here you will see people performing music, dance and even juggling on the streets.
- La Sebastiana : Pablo Neruda, spent a considerable part of his life in Valparaiso and loved the gritty, wild streak of the city so much that he wrote an Ode to the city. His home Le Sebastiana is now a museum that documents his life in the city, and is a must visit for all Neruda fans.
- Visit a 116 year old bar : Cinzano has been welcoming ‘parishioners and guests’ - their term for their visitors - for over 100 years, with great Creole food, great wine and hot Latin American music. If you are in the mood for something more modern, head to Bar La Playa, which plays some great music by emerging bands.
Best Time To Go: EARLY MARCH & EARLY NOVEMBER
Early March and early November are the best weeks to visit Valparaiso, as the weather is excellent, and the streets are not flooded with tourists. The New Year is also a good time to visit, as the city has some spectacular fireworks displays to bring in the new year.
Where in the world:
Valparaiso is located on the Pacific Coast, in Chile, and lies about 120 kms west of the Chilean capital, Santiago de Chile.
Fun Fact: Valparaiso, or Valpo as its commonly known as, is filled with artists and their influence on the social fabric of the city is seen almost everywhere in the form of street art everywhere. The walls of buildings and city structures have become a free, ever-changing canvas for artists to showcase their creativity. You can either take an organised street art tour, or just appreciate the artwork as you walk down the streets of the town.
- Language : Spanish, Chilean
- Currency : Chilean Peso
- Get Around : Black taxis with yellow tops are quite a common mode of transport within Valaparaiso. Metro and local buses are also a good travel option. To climb the cerros (hills) and reach the higher levels of the city, you can use the elevated funicular, although they may seem old and creaky.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.