Valparaíso

Destination - Costa central - Valparaíso

Valparaíso

Valparaíso is unique; a city that defies all logic. Never built to any plan, sacked by pirates, rocked by earthquake, the city rears up from the sea in a haphazzard multi-coloured splendour that has been both magnet and muse to poets and artists the world over.

Valparaíso is a city in two parts. Below is the bustling working port and university town. At weekends people flock here from the capital to enjoy the bohemian nightlife, with live music and even the occasional poetry reading in bars unchanged in a century. Above are 42 hills or cerros.

With their historic high-ceilinged mansions, Cerros Alegre and Concepción are a UNESCO World heritage site. Only 5 minutes’ walk from the centre, this is a different world, peaceful and almost village-like.

Everyone knows each other and street barbeques shared by neighbors are a common sight in summer. Here you will find art galleries, boutiques and workshops, bars and cafés. Take a walk along one of the promenades overlooking the bay or eat in one of the neighborhood’s innovative restaurants.

A walk along the hills takes you to La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda’s town house, while if you want a sea-view of Valparaíso you can take a boat trip around the bay or even hire a sea kayak.Next to Valparaíso is its twin city, Viña del Mar, whose beaches, parks and casino are only 20 minutes away by bus, while nearby are fishing villages where you can enjoy Chile’s freshest seafood while watching horses drag colorful fishing boats up the beach, or even go diving among old wrecks.

Further up the coast you can gallop on horseback across country, giant sand-dunes, wetlands and beach in an unforgettable day, while to the south, Isla Negra offers a day of culture and beaches. Inland is wine country, while the Campana national park offers one of the finest views in all of Chile: the Andes strech as far as the eyes can see to the east, while to the west the coast is often visible and on good days you can even see the ships in Valparaíso bay.

Valparaíso has direct bus connections with the north and south of Chile as well as with Santiago and Mendoza.

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