Chile is a country of different flavors: from the raw nature of Patagonia to the vibrant streets of Santiago, there is much to be explored. But after three weeks in the country, a brief 24 hours in Valparaiso was the highlight.
The unquestionable highlight of Valparaiso is the street art. By far the most colorful city I have ever seen, just walking in this city will be enough entertainment for several days, let alone the 24 hours we spent. In particular, take a look at Pablo Neruda’s house and aimlessly stroll through Cerro Concepcion, my favorite area of the city. If you have extra time and the weather is good, take the 10-15 minute taxi ride ($10-$15 USD) or few metro stops ($2 USD per person) to Vina del Mar, one of the most popular beaches in Chile.
Where To Stay
A popular saying in Valparaiso is “more than meets the eye.” This is most often true with accommodations, as the hectic street art will often conceal very nice hotels and hostels. Here, more than anything, location matters more than luxury and Cerro Concepcion has several options. We stayed at the PazZHOtel, a relatively new hotel that I recommend. The unique hotel serves as a restaurant, art shop and bar and each room is different. One note: make sure to follow up with the hotel to confirm your booking (even with a booking service, like Booking.com).
How to Get There
Situated along the Pacific Ocean about an hour-and-a-half ride from Santiago, Valparaiso is most often trafficked by cruise ship passengers. If you aren’t arriving by ship, you must first fly into Santiago, Chile (SCL) and then have a range of options: private car ($100-$150 USD one-way), bus ($8 per person) or train ($2-$4 per person). Of these, I recommend the bus, of which there are two companies: Tur Bus and Pullman. Both depart from the Terminal Alameda, accessible via the University of Santiago metro station. Tickets can be bought in-person on the day of travel, often within minutes of departure. A tip to avoid the lines is to book using the adjacent kiosk stands.
24 hours in Valparaiso was enough to make it a “must-return” on my travel bucket list. For those traveling through Patagonia, Easter Island or simply through Santiago, I would highly recommend you make the journey and save at least a full day to walking and night to soak in the atmosphere. And since a one-way economy flight requires just 30,000 American Airlines miles, Valparaiso has never been closer.