Take a trip to Valparaiso
Mythical port of the Pacific coast, Valparaíso was for centuries an obligatory stopover for sailors returning or leaving for Cape Horn. Forgotten during the 20th century after the opening of new maritime routes and the construction of the Panama Canal, it is now reborn from its ashes. Since 2003, Valparaíso has been partially classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since then there has been a real tourist craze. Affectionately called “Valpo” by its inhabitants, the city is made up of nearly 45 hills surrounding the bay and its port. This singular topography makes it a particularly photogenic place at any time of the day and any time of the year. Today, considered the South American capital of Street Art, Valparaiso continues to attract travelers and artists from all over the world. Come and discover these urban and colorful works that mix humor and political claims echoing the dark years of the country, the Pinochet dictatorship of the 90s.
Tour guides in Valparaiso
Five ideas for guided tours in Valparaiso
Walking and funicular tour of the historic heart
Since 2003, three neighborhoods of Valparaíso have been classified as UNESCO sites and today constitute the historical and tourist heart of the city.
The first one is the port district, also called El Plan, the economic heart of the city. The port of Valparaíso was the gateway to Chile for centuries and was the wealth of the country until the 19th century. Today, the district contains vestiges of this precious past, mansions, trolleybuses and the famous elevators (= funiculars) that allow access to the first hills of the city. A real trip back in time…
The second are the Concepcion and Alegre hills. First hills of the city overlooking the bay, they were invested in the 19th century by European immigrants. They are endowed with a chaotic, colorful and singular architecture mixing English or German styles and materials such as wood and sheet metal. You can best appreciate the narrow, cobbled streets on foot and take the funicular from one hill to the other.
Cerro Polanco & Atelier Graff
Of all the hills of the city, Cerro Polanco is certainly the most interesting and atypical to discover the local Street Art. A poor and popular neighborhood, it is most often accompanied by a local guide that one reaches the heights of the hill via an atypical funicular, the Polanco. A vertical funicular, similar to an elevator, classified national monument. It is while descending this hill that one appreciates the grandiose mural works by their sizes but also by their messages. All these works were realized by local and international artists who came to participate in a festival organized by the inhabitants of the district and aiming at rehabilitating it.
Would you like to go even further in the discovery of this urban art? In this case, we invite you to meet a local artist who will explain some of his works and introduce you to the art of spray painting on canvas or on a real wall of the city. Contact Valentin, a private guide in Valparaiso who will organize for you an extraordinary visit to discover the most beautiful street art spots in the city.
Ceviche and Pisco Sour Workshops
True emblems of Chilean gastronomy, come and concoct Ceviche and Pisco Sour with the help of a local chef from the terrace of a porteño, a local resident of the port. A typical dish made of raw fish marinated in lemon, Ceviche is best enjoyed with a glass of local Sauvignon Blanc… But first, go to the Portales fish market to buy your Merluza, Reineta or Lenguado, all of which are succulent fish typical of the region. On your way back, don’t forget to pass by El Cardonal, the covered market where you will find all the vegetables and fruits you need. The national cocktail, the Pisco Sour, combines the acidity of lemon juice with the bitterness of a grape liqueur. Remember to drink it very cool at sunset facing the bay of Valparaíso.
The surroundings of Valparaíso
Don’t hesitate to extend your stopover in Valparaiso for more than a day! Indeed, this port is the ideal starting point to visit the region. Discover the northern coast and the villages of Concon, Horcon and Zapallar. These are ideal places to observe the marine fauna, sea lions and pelicans among others. We also invite you to discover the south coast and in particular the Isla Negra, the famous house of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda with a detour to the village of Quintay, an old whaling port. Valparaíso is also an ideal starting point to discover Chilean wines and especially those of the Casablanca Valley. A recent wine-growing area, exploited for only about thirty years, it is a region known for its production of white wines and Pinot Noir. Many of the grape varieties are French, but the know-how is Chilean.
Don’t leave Valparaíso without admiring the different panoramas and viewpoints that the city offers on its port and bay. Take the Micro “O”, a small local bus that takes you to the Avenida Allemania, the only avenue that connects several hills together from the top. From there, admire the view of the port, the bay with the sand dunes of Concon in the background and sometimes, when the weather allows it, the Andes Mountains. It’s impossible to see the hills of Valpo at a glance from the shore! Embark on a small fisherman’s boat that will take you to the bay of Valparaíso. It’s the only place where you’ll have enough distance to see the whole city. As a bonus, you will certainly have the chance to see up close all the marine animals that call the bay home.