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Valparaiso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its hilly streets, amazing murals, and bohemian atmosphere. Riding the city's funiculars is the perfect way to enjoy the hills and the sights over the Pacific Ocean.
This used to be one of the main Chilean ports, and the port is still one of the busiest areas of the city. You can go people watching on the pier, watch the ships, or shop for fresh seafood.
Valparaiso will surprise you with its intricate streets, brightly hued houses, and rich naval history. The city also hosts many artistic events and is an ideal spot for nightlife and for food enthusiasts.
Tourists flock to Valparaiso during the last week of the year for the Carnival. A different country is celebrated each year in a series of musical performances and plays before the Carnival ends with an impressive firework display.
Valparaiso is built on 45 hills, which gives the city its sloping architecture. You can ride several funicular lines to go up and down the hills and enjoy the amazing sights on the rest of the city or on the ocean. The Ascensor Reina Victoria and Ascensor El Peral are the most popular ones and date back to 1902.
You will come across several houses with vibrant facades because metal used to be torn from shipping containers to build houses. Make sure you visit La Sebastiana, the former home of Pablo Neruda, and take a walk through the many residential areas to discover murals and admire the brilliant houses.
Discover traditional art at the Galería Municipal de Arte or head to Templeman Street on Cerro Alegre to admire the street art. You will also find an open air museum with graffiti and murals in the Bellavista area.
Valparaiso's atmosphere is truly one of a kind, with its narrow and colorful streets that attract artists. Head to the Feria Internacional de la Artesanía if you want to shop for handmade crafts, or see some artistic performances and go people watching at the Mercado Cardonal.
Planning your visit to Valparaiso between October and March is ideal since the climate is milder. Visit the area between June and August if you want to go to the nearby mountains to ski. Keep in mind that the city is extremely crowded towards the end of December because of the popular Carnival.
The nearest airport is the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago de Chile. The airport is 80 miles away from Valparaiso. You can head to the bus terminal to catch a minibus to Valparaiso for COL$650, take a taxi for approximately COL$77,000 or book a private shuttle for COL$85,000. You can also drive to Valparaiso yourself by following Ruta 68.
You can usually reach Valparaiso by following different well-maintained highways. Take Ruta 68 if you come from Casablanca or another southern location. Ruta 64 connects Valparaiso with different northern cities and Rute 60 connects Valparaiso with Quilpué to the east.
Several bus routes will take you to Valparaiso but keep in mind that some of these routes are extremely busy, especially during the Carnival. Bus fare between Viña del Mar and Valparaiso should only be COL$350. You can take a bus between Santiago de Chile and Valparaiso for COL$6,400, travel between La Serena and Valparaiso for COL$19,200, or take a bus between Mendoza and Valparaiso for COL$25,700. The main bus terminal is on Avenida Pedro Montt near Ruta 68. A taxi to the downtown area from the bus station is around COL$3,000.
The Hotel Ibis Valparaiso is a very affordable option if you want to have a view on the Ocean. You will find more boutique hotels in the Cerros, including the Hotel Boutique 17, Hotel Fauna, and Zerohotel.
Cerro Bellavista - this is a residential area on a hill with a lively vibe. Go for a walk in the Cerro Bellavista area to enjoy the murals, the art installations, and the colorful houses.
Cerro Alegre & Cerro Concepción - this is where you will find the Café del Poeta, a popular cafe and eatery where guests can browse through an impressive collection of books. Palacio Baburizza, an art nouveau house with a museum inside, is also in this area.
Puerto - the port is always busy and is the perfect place to shop for fresh seafood, buy souvenirs from street vendors, or to simply watch the boats.
Purchase a travel card when you get to Valparaiso so you can ride the bus and subway lines. The subway system is called the Merval and runs along the coast. Fare ranges from COL$200 to COL$1,000 depending on where you are going and on the time of day. There is also an extensive bus network. City buses are called Micros and riding a local route should cost you COL$250, but you will have to spend COL$380 if you are going to a different area of the city. Make sure you ride the funiculars or ascensores at least once during your trip. Fare costs COL$300, and this is the perfect way to experience the hilly streets of Valparaiso.
You will easily find colectivos around the city. Taking a colectivo to nearby Viña del Mar should only cost COL$640 and a local route should cost COL$100. Regular taxis can be found by heading to the Plaza Aníbal Pinto or by calling one of these services. Expect to pay COL$300 for a trip within Valparaiso but prices are negotiable.
You can rent a vehicle at the Europcar agency in Valparaiso or use the Sixt agency at the Santiago airport. Renting a vehicle should cost a little under COL$20,000 a day, and you will have to pay an additional COL$9000 a day for insurance.
You won't find many shopping malls and department stores in Valparaiso. Head to nearby Viña del Mar if you want more shopping options. The only place where you can shop for clothes and accessories in Valparaiso is on Avenida Brasil. However, the street markets are excellent places to shop for souvenirs, handcrafts, home decor, and traditional clothes.
The street markets are the best place to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables as well as seafood. You will find different small grocery stores throughout the Cerros, including Mayorista, Express de Lider, and the Supermercado Unimarc near the port. Expect to spend COL$660 for a quart of milk, COL$1,500 for a dozen of eggs, and COL$600 for a loaf of bread.
You absolutely have to try chorrillana during your trip to Valparaiso, a traditional food made with French fries covered in steak, onions, and eggs. J Cruz is the best spot to try chorrillana and other traditional fare. Restaurant El Pimentón is another good option for traditional Chilean fare and a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. Head to the port to find seafood restaurants such as Porto Viejo. Mains generally cost COL$1,900, and you can eat at an upscale seafood place for COL$16,000.