The heart and soul of Chile and a welcome relief from the chaos of Santiago, Valparaiso is the beachside city we all dream of. There’s plenty here to keep you occupied during both the day and night but it never makes you feel overwhelmed. A tour to Valparaiso captures Chile at its best with its bright and colourful buildings and eclectic array of dining options. It is impossible not to fall in love with this place.
- Visit La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda’s old house and spend some time admiring the quirky décor as you discover what inspired the Nobel prize-winning poet.
- No trip to Valparaiso is complete without wandering through Cerro Alegro and Cerro Concepción and checking out the cool street art.
- Go sandboarding at the giant sand dunes in Concon or just climb up them and admire the views of the sea from the top.
- Treat yourself to an empanada or two from one of the many street vendors or little empanada bakeries – it shouldn’t set you back more than about 1,000 pesos ($1.50)
- Go to the ex-carcel – a prison that has now been converted into a cultural centre. They always have performances and exhibitions going on.
- Valparaiso is easy to cover by foot but if you need go a bit further afield, hop on a micro (bus) as they are incredibly cheap and run like clockwork.
- Don’t miss out on chorrillana – the ultimate Chilean carnivore meal consisting of meat, chips, eggs and caramelised onions.
- Even if you know a bit of Spanish you probably won’t have ever heard it spoken like a Chilean. The accent is tough to understand and they use a lot of slang so don’t be put off if you have no idea what anyone is saying at first.
- A holiday in Valparaiso is generally pretty safe but take care when walking around alone at night and don’t flash your valuables.
- If you are on a budget, consider eating in picadas (small, cheap local restaurants).
- Tipping is generally expected and the usual amount is about 10%. You should also tip the people who bag your groceries.
- Valparaiso is a tsunami zone so make yourself aware of the nearest evacuation route from your accommodation. They are rare but its always better safe than sorry.
If you are based in Santiago, getting to Valparaiso is a fairly easy and quick journey.