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Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaíso is a city on the Pacific coast of Central Chile. Frequently referred to as simply Valpo, it is located approximately 120km west of the capital, Santiago de Chile. The city is widely known for its bohemian culture, brightly colored houses, and beautiful seaside views.
  • The city's main economic activities are shipping, the naval dockyards, and tourism.
  • Valparaiso was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
  • Visiting Valparaíso has less to do with touring specific sites than it is about roaming the chaotic, hilly streets, and taking in the views and ambiance. There is also an active nightlife and a constantly changing variety of artistic events.

Climate

Valparaíso has a very mild Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb). The summer is essentially dry, but the city is affected by fogs from the Humboldt Current during most of the year.... Read more

Valparaiso, Chile

Destination:
Valparaíso is a city on the Pacific coast of Central Chile. Frequently referred to as simply Valpo, it is located approximately 120km west of the capital, Santiago de Chile. The city is widely known for its bohemian culture, brightly colored houses, and beautiful seaside views.
  • The city's main economic activities are shipping, the naval dockyards, and tourism.
  • Valparaiso was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
  • Visiting Valparaíso has less to do with touring specific sites than it is about roaming the chaotic, hilly streets, and taking in the views and ambiance. There is also an active nightlife and a constantly changing variety of artistic events.

Climate

Valparaíso has a very mild Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb). The summer is essentially dry, but the city is affected by fogs from the Humboldt Current during most of the year. In the winter, rainfall can occasionally be extremely heavy when a powerful frontal system crosses central Chile, but the frequency of such rains varies greatly from year to year. Snowfall occurs rarely in the highest parts of the city. In winter, strong winds can make the thermal sensation drop below the freezing.

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Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Valparaiso, Chile: Port Information


Cruise liners dock at the pier. You can find a visitor center nearby.
Free shuttle bus is available from the pier to the Cruise Terminal Muelle Prat.
The town is within walking distance. Taxis are also available.

Get around Valparaiso, Chile


The city micros are run by Transporte Metropolitano Valparaíso. 

Colectivos are taxis painted in black with yellow roofs that run fixed routes and are a very common mode of transport between (and within) Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and other surrounding areas. The cost of the trip is a little more expensive than the bus or metro and depends upon the distance being traveled following a system of zones. There are also normal taxis that do custom rides, but they are less common and more expensive. This type of taxis often congregates in the area around the Plaza Anibal Pinto.

The recently completed light-rail system, Metro Valparaíso or Merval, runs along the coast. It starts at Valparaíso's port and heads into Viña del Mar and then along the chain of town heading inland towards the Aconcagua valley. The metro provides quick access to major places of interest and is only slightly more expensive than taking public buses.

Ascensores, funiculars, ply between El Plan, or the coastal strip, with the cerros, or hillside communities. They are for the most part old and creaky, but generally reliable. The ascensors are an unusual mode of transportation in Valparaíso and offer gorgeous views of the cityscape, port, and the Pacific Ocean.

What to see in Valparaiso, Chile


  • Cerros Alegre and Concepción
  • Plaza Echaurren – Serrano Street
  • Cerro Bellavista: residential area & artistic hill with colorful murals
  • Museo a cielo abierto: 20 murals spread throughout cerro Bellavista
  • Ascensor & Cerro Polanco: The only verticle "elevator" ascensor in the city. The hill held the first Latin American graffiti festival in October 2012 and now boasts over 70 murals and graffiti pieces
  • Cerro Cordillera
  • Prat Street - Old financial district known as the "Wallstreet Porteño"
  • Paseo 21 de Mayo (Cerro Artilleria)
  • La Matriz Church and surroundings
  • Ascensores (inclines)
  • La Sebastiana, one of three homes of poet Pablo Neruda (cerro Bellavista)
  • Ex Cárcel, a former jail turned cultural center and concert venue
  • Museo Naval y Maritimo (Naval and Maritime Museum), Paseo 21 de Mayo 45, at top of Ascensor Artillería, 56 32 2437651. Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. This museum is dedicated to military naval exploits and battles and puts a large focus on the Chilean victory against Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific.
  • Museo del Tren Más Lento del Mundo - The world's slowest train is a battered, rusted, smelly and endlessly charming old train-turned-café parked (or, rather, dumped) on the stretch of the beach closest to Viña. Its decoration is a showcase of absurdities and the coffee is pretty good at fair prices.

What to do in Valparaiso, Chile


Going to Valparaíso and not going on the ascensores (inclines) is like going to Venice and not taking a ride on a Gondola. They are also of practical use as they help many local people get to the higher parts of town, saving them from having to walk otherwise long and steep pedestrian routes.
During the last week in the year, Valparaíso holds an annual carnival that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Each year the festival centers around a different country, from which performers and artists are invited to come and represent their culture and their work in theater, music, and the performance arts. Most activities are free and are held outdoors. The celebration culminates with a New Year firework display that within five of the most beautiful in the planet. Oops, but get ready in time because the city's population triples on those dates. I recommend visiting the Mirador del Cerro Artilleria, panoramic view of the city of Vina del Mar, Reñaca, Con Con and more ... It reaches through the "lift" Artilleria, in operation since 1893 (ask for Customs plaza area), on the first floor is the Mirador "Walk May 21," (delivered to the community in the year 1911) in which impossible not to enjoy the restaurant "Calaufquen", typical dishes of fresh seafood, with a fair value or restaurant cafe postal, 20 metres up the hill - sit outside on the deck (up a flight of stairs), best fish in town and medium priced. There is also a large a Craft Fair in which they sell winter clothing made from alpaca(ponchos, Ruan, scarves, socks, gloves, wool hats), souvenir of the most varied models and prices, up figures and jewelry from lapis lazuli (blue stone semi-precious which is only found in Chile and Afghanistan), by price and quality of the stone, I recommend the last local - Renee is the owner. Also, visit the Naval Museum".
A good half-day trip is going to the dunes of Concón. On clear days you can see the dunes across the bay from Valparaíso and it's just a half-hour busride on any micro going to Reñaca. The dunes are just big enough that you can forget that a world outside of this micro desert exists, and they offer great views of the Pacific sunset.
  • The German Pirate (myvalparaiso.cl). Amazing tour by a German man who's lived in Valparaiso for years. He seems to know everything and everyone about the place. He speaks Spanish, English, and German. Discounts for groups. You're unlikely to find a more immersive tour of Valparaiso.
  • Tours 4 Tips, Plaza Sotomayor, 56 322 -3148700. Every Day at 10 am and 3 pm. Award-winning walking tours that leave from Valparaiso's main square Plaza Sotomayor every day at 10 am and 3 pm. The guides are dressed like Waldo/Wally from the children's book "Where's Waldo /Wally," and give great tours on the basis of tips. The tour takes you around the port, the historic hills, and includes public transportation and many surprises en route. A must do for those interested in the graffiti, history, architecture, culture, and gastronomy of Valparaiso.
  • Chilean Cuisine Cooking Classes includes a full cooking class and market tour for ingredients with the chef. In English, German or Spanish. Great fun and recommended.

What to eat and drink in Valparaiso, Chile


Eat

The most traditional food in Valparaiso is the Chorrillana, a heaping mound of french fries topped with steak, onion, and fried eggs. You can eat this in several places, but the most famous one is the traditional restaurant, J Cruz. The city´s two most attractive hills, Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion, have seen a great many new restaurants open in recent years, and most visitors tend to stick to these as they are a short, safe walk from hostals.
Fresh seafood is readily available in many small restaurants around the city, especially around the muelle (wharf) areas, and is considered a must for any seafood lover. Neighboring Viña del Mar features a much larger (and more expensive) variety of international cuisines, including Thai, Mexican, and Argentine.
There are also some restaurants which specialize in different seafood dishes near Mercado Puerto, which is near the last metro station. The more the customers dining inside the restaurants, the better the dishes you'll be likely to get.
Bakeries are located on nearly every block, and produce quite delicious breads that can be had warm and right out of the oven at almost any time throughout the day. They are best enjoyed smothered with palta, which are grown en masse in Chile (palta is the Chilean word for avocado, known in most other Spanish-speaking countries as aguacate). In addition to the many types of bread, another widely available snack to keep you settled as you walk the streets are empanadas, a flaky pastry, almost like a croissant, filled with meat or cheese.

Budget
On the second floor of the Mercado Cardonal (cnr Ave Brasil and Uruguay), there are a few excellent, cheap and midrange restaurants serving lunch.
  • Allegretto, Pilcomayo 529, Cerro Concepcion (Opposite the Anglican church in Cerro Concepcion). A relaxed and good value pizza restaurant with gnocchi and risotto too. Great pizza, great draught beer, an old vinyl jukebox and a football table upstairs, ensure that Allegretto is always popular.
  • Chile - Suecia, Calle Bellavista (Just off the square). Open even on Sundays. Good sandwiches, hot dogs and set menus.
  • El Valenciano, Avenida Colon 3110, +56 32 225 1619. Delicious chicken, good sandwiches and good value meals.  
  • Estación Cielo Amierto, Ferrari 68 (Cerro Bellavista). A cute cafe on the Cerro Bellavista which has juices, smoothies, and sandwiches.
  • Los Portenos II, (at the corner of Valdivia and Cochrane), 225 19 15. Delicious seafood dishes and many local people choose this restaurant at weekends.
  • Cafe del Poeta, Plaza Anibal Pinto (Opposite the statue of A. Pinto). Good place for a sweet treat. Try truffa de chocolate.
Mid-range
  • Bijoux (Bijoux Restobar), Abtao 561-A, Cerro Concepcion, 56 9 9548 2321 (bijoux.valpo@gmail.com). Beautiful little Restaurant in the heart of Cerro Concepciòn. Instead of a menu card, the chef and owner comes to you and according to the daily market specialties and your wishes he creates an individual menu just for you. The food is always fresh, delicious and offers a unique experience in Chile.
  • Le Filou Montpellier Almte Montt 382. Great French-run restaurant in Cerro Concepciòn.
  • Epif Calle Dr. Grossi 268, Cerro Alegre. Tastey vegetarian food and drinks at reasonable prices. Cozy cafe environment with great music and service.
  • Delicatessen Emporio, Urriola 383, C. Concepcion (Head north (and up) from the Armada main building - two blocks), +56-32-2339373. Beautiful food in a small, romantic setting. Carpaccio with oysters was exquisite, Garbanzo soup was flavorful (read: spicey), fresh and probably the best I've ever had.
  • La Concepción Papudo 541, Cerro Concepción. Voted best restaurant in Valparaiso in many magazines and on TripAdvisor. They serve everything from daily fresh fish to classic Chilean dishes with a modern presentation.
Splurge
Cafe Turri Paseo Gervasoni (by the ascensor conception) great views and good food.

Drink

On weekends, the time to go out for a drink (Chilean people call it "salir de carrete") starts no earlier than midnight, though somewhat earlier during the week. The pubs and clubs close at 5 AM on weekends, and 4 AM on weekdays.
Drinking alcohol in the streets is not allowed and 18 years is the minimum age for drinking alcohol, though enforcement of these rules is somewhat lax. If you are under 18, you may not be allowed entry into some pubs.
Chile is a major wine-producing country.

Nightlife
  • La Terazza MIMI
  • La Torre - offers inexpensive drinks, and is frequented by university students
  • Balmaceda
  • Barcelona
  • La Piedra Feliz - a more expensive and touristy club that often features salsa dancing, mostly for the older crowds
  • Club El Cielo
  • Club Stockolmo
  • Club El Huevo - one of the largest dance clubs in Valparaiso which usually features a young crowd.
  • Bar La Playa
  • Pagano - very popular gay club. Has two floors and an eclectic mix of electronic, pop, indie-rock, etc. Also does shows.
  • Mascara - caters to an artsy and gay/lesbian crowd
Many clubs and bars are also found in Viña del Mar. Public transportation and taxis continue to run throughout the night, making it entirely feasible to have accommodations in one city while going out for the night in the other.

Coffee
  • Puro Cafe, Calle Edwards, 301, Valparaiso, + 56 9 96380239. One of the very few places in Chile to have real espresso, not instant coffee. The cafe has beautiful and comfortable furniture, making probably the best place in Valparaiso for coffee.
  • Café Sello Verde, Subida Ferrari 570, Cerro Bellavista, Valparaíso, +56 (9) 9 2133324. One block down from Pablo Neruda Museum in the Bellavista hill. Contemporary food, great coffee, fresh lunches, delicious cakes. Open views from the café balcony.
  • Café Trabalengua, Artillería 67, Valparaiso, + 56 9 82292759. A dedicated community space, open Thursday through Sunday with live music, a concentration on arts, and delicious homemade food. They concentrate on non-espresso, non-drip forms of coffee.

Shopping in Valparaiso, Chile


Valparaiso, to its charm, is not a city of malls and department stores. While several large grocery stores are present, most other shopping is done in smaller, non-chain stores tucked in along crowded city streets, or with street vendors; larger chain stores (and more upscale goods) are more commonly found in nearby Viña del Mar. A large shopping center, however, is found on the eastern end of Avenida Brasil.

Safety in Valparaiso, Chile


In the context of Chile being a relatively safe country, Valparaiso is among its more dangerous locales, like many harbor cities around the world. Mainly, watch out for pickpockets, for instance, avoid hanging your purse or bag in the back of your chair when seated, because it may get stolen. Violent crime is very uncommon, but normal precautionary measures should be taken; while in the street, do not display expensive jewelry. The port area (called "Puerto") is generally considered to be dangerous even during the day.

Language spoken in Valparaiso, Chile


The majority of the population speaks only Spanish. Just a few people, especially tourist guides, engineers and businessmen can speak fluent English. Nevertheless, many young people understand some simple English phrases and can start basic conversations since English has been more prioritized in the national curriculum in the last few years.

LOCAL TIME

11:16 am
October 22, 2019
America/Santiago

CURRENT WEATHER

17.36 °C / 63.248 °F
scattered clouds
Wed

14.99 °C/59 °F
overcast clouds
Thu

21.77 °C/71 °F
sky is clear
Fri

23.1 °C/74 °F
overcast clouds
Sat

18.24 °C/65 °F
overcast clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

CLP

1 USD = 0 CLP
1 EUR = 0 CLP
1 GBP = 0 CLP
1 AUD = 0 CLP
1 CAD = 0 CLP

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