Valparaiso is located a 30-60 minute bus-ride from Santiago, the capital city of Chile, making it extremely accessible from one of the main transport hubs in South America.
With a population just under 300,000, Valparaiso has a small city feel. However, located right on the Pacific Ocean, the city was built upon dozens of hillsides which makes walking Valparaiso a very arduous task.
Thankfully the city is equipped with a number of funiculars – allowing the population to traverse onto upper levels of the city without breaking too much of a sweat.
From the upper level, the city provides spectacular views of the Ocean and Valparaiso is even nicknamed ‘The Jewel of the Pacific’!
- Subject to some harsh weather conditions, here is a view of a storm rolling in over the city.
Traditionally a massive shipping port, Valparaiso took a major hit with the creation of the Panama Canal (Panama City, Panama) in 1914. Over the past few decades, the port has experienced a bit of a renaissance while mainly importing fruit products and accepting ships that do not fit through the Canal.
- It’s pretty remarkable to see the mass amount of containers ready to be shipped off.
In 2003, Valparaiso was named the cultural capital of Chile, and it’s easy to see why when walking the magnificent graffiti filled streets!
The city has made a concerted effort to encourage artists the freedom to create murals, apparent on almost every corner.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Valparaiso when wandering around the beautifully re-done alleyways. In my opinion, it contains an ideal ratio of grittiness to impressive street art. AND to top things off, you can always find a pack of stray dogs roaming the streets, looking for scraps ; )
One of my favourite cities I visited in South America, I have nothing but good things to say about Valparaiso. While it’s still rough and can be pretty dangerous in parts, it’s a city that needs to be added to your bucket list if you’re venturing in the area of Santiago.