The colourful city of Valparisio won us over pretty quickly. Within the first day of being there we knew this city had a charm that was irresistible. Valparaiso herself, originally known as Valle del Paraiso (Valley of Paradise), has a wealth of historical importance, incredible beauty with picturesque views from the hills and her unique architecture featuring 19th Century housing inspiration. Due to all this Valparaiso was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
Walking around Valparaiso you will see various Tsunami evacuation signs, somewhat alarming so I looked into it. Turns out Valparaiso regularly experiences earthquakes that are of low magnitude and thus nothing comes from them. However, in 1906 Valparaiso was devastated by an earthquake that was estimated to be 8.5 magnitude and killed approximately 3882 people. Tsunamis are somewhat common after earthquakes and Valparaiso has experienced the devastation of Tsunamis in the past. Thankfully we didn’t experience this (Phew).
When in Valparaiso there are a range of things to explored. Our hostel’s reception gave us a map and some suggestions of things to see and do. This included areas to steer clear of at night due to them being a bit more risky in terms of pretty crimes.
There is a free walking tour available, which is also available in Santiago but we didn’t get to take part in that one. So this time we joined some other hostel travellers in the free walking tour of Valparaiso. The tour took part down in the main square close to the hostel and takes you up the funicular to Cerro Conception. The tour go through the history of Valparaiso and set your sights on some amazing, colourful street art. You also get to stop for delicious empanadas and a shot of Pisco Sour (the national drink). The tour, although is advertised is free, is a tip based tour. The recommended tip is 5000 CLP per person. This is only recommended and if you love it you can pay more and if not pay less. Thankfully, we had a tour guide that was engaging and insightful in the history of Valparaiso so we had an enjoyable time and he received his tip.
During our stay we also visited the famous Poeta Pablo Neruto’s house, on top of the hill, known as La Sebastiana. The house has been turned into a museum for the general public. After you pay the 5000CLP fee you enter the house and are given a device that plays the history of each area of the house through video recording. As you enter each room of the house you press the corresponding number on the recorder to hear the history. No photos are allowed inside the house but you can take pictures of the view through the windows. The house has views of the whole of Valparaiso and has five stories. The house is so beautiful and the view is just stunning that living in this house would be so amazing.
Other than these two main tourist adventures we also did some walking around the different areas of Valparaiso including the various hills of Valparaiso and visiting the Port. We also tried to find good coffee which is talked about in In Search of Good Coffee Chile and found some delicious food, outside of the average food we have experienced so far, at La Caprichosa – Restaurant, Café and Bar. We also become a bit addicted to Pan Leche which is custard inside sweet bread. On the last day we also discovered Pan Manjar which is like Caramel inside sweet bread. Thankfully we did enough walking to work these babies off.
Valparaiso is one of the most beautiful places we visited due to its colourful architecture. The only downfall would be the litter and the dog poop on most paths through the city. Unfortunately, litter and dog poop is not uncommon as many litter in throughout Chile and there are various street dogs, which are very well looked after, but do expel themselves all over the streets. I guess they have to do it somewhere. It did seem like Valparaiso was trying to clean itself up but this is definitely a work in progress. Nonetheless, we would still come back to Valparaiso when/if in Chile again.
Time spent in Valparaiso: 7 nights, 8 days
Mode of Transport: Bus from Santiago (Turbus) to Valparaiso then walked all around
Accommodation: Hostel Verde De Limon, Private Room with Shared Bathroom, $39.48 AUD per night.