The eclectic and colorful city of Valparaiso, also known as the “Cultural Capital of Chile” and “Little San Francisco” is a vibrant jewel in South America that is my latest obsession. The cultural haven is filled with bright, towering mansions stacked along steep hills on the pacific coast of Chile. A taxi can only get you so far as you navigate through tiny cobblestone alleyways and stairwells brightened with rainbows of street art and murals.
No two steps look alike in this quirky place. It seems every inch of architecture has been claimed by peculiarity. And did I mention the view at night? The city dazzles when the sun goes down and lights turn on. Romantic is truly an understatement.
Stay in the heart and soul of Valparaiso in Cerro (hill) Concepcion. From here you are walking distance to everything with insanely gorgeous view overlooking the city against the sky blue water. We stayed at the artsy and eclectic PazZHotel – a spot I highly recommend if you are looking for a unique stay and breathtaking rooftop. The hotel has a great restaurant on the roof and a raging bar on the first floor– so if you don’t plan to go out I recommend earplugs or staying elsewhere! :)
Getting around Valparaiso is easy! The bus and train systems are quick and cheap. Definitely take at least one of the famous “Ascensores” (elevator/funicular) to get up the steep hills and check out more view spots.
Allow a few days in the city to see all the great sights and explore! That way you can also do a day trip to Vino de Mar, a nearby beach you can reach by subway or bus. I only wish I could have stayed longer! Until then I will be dreaming of Valparaiso's authentic beauty.
Getting there: The best way to get to Valparaiso is via charter bus from Santiago. The inexpensive Tur Bus (about $9 USD one way) is a quick 2 hours from the University of Santiago station in Santiago. From Rodoviara, the stop in Valparaiso, hop in a cab to the city center – this should take about 5 minutes and only costs ~$6 USD.