Chile travel blog by Mark Berman -
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A Day Trip from Santiago
Valparaiso is not a place to go and see specific sites, it is a place to explore the whole city from head to toe. From the port up into the chaotic and
sometimes ramshackle neighborhoods in the hills. It's an artists and art lovers paradise, sure there are galleries but I'm not talking about those. I'm
talking about vibrant streets with walls, alleys and houses painted in a kaleidoscope of bright eye catching colors - murals, street art and then some!
1hr 25mins from Santiago
By bus from Santiago
it took only 1hr and 25mins to get here but it can take up to 2hrs sometimes, depending on the traffic. It's 109kms between the 2
cities. I spent close to 8hrs walking around Valparaiso on a day trip from Santiago and I saw a lot. I walked from the bus terminal for 15mins into the
center of town.
I visited the plaza, saw historical buildings and took in views of the waterfront, port and train from a street overbridge above the road
and tracks. The central area is quite nice with lots of leafy green trees around. From here I explored some of the streets in the hills but not in the
most touristy areas at first. Sometimes I would see a horse and cart trot by. I really enjoy these kinds of neighborhoods, they could never exist at home
in my country (NZ) - too many laws prohibting freedom of expression. The facades in this area range from historical down to a little bit derelict in places,
but murals always look fantastic on any wall, especially old ones!
Parks and Streets
Valparaiso has some nice parks throughout the city with many people enjoying them and
with a lot of activity going on around. There are churches scattered about amongst the maze of old streets and buildings. There is a park and walking area
all the way along Brazil Street, this is an area with tons of monuments and statues. At the end of this strip are the markets Mercado Cardonal del Almendral.
I picked up a packet of dried fruit and nuts which are popular in Chile and sold on the sidewalk everywhere.
Into the Hills
I headed back towards the center of town along
some of the backstreets to look for the main tourist draw of Valparaiso being the hills of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion above the port. This area is
well and truly a wonderland of steep streets, alleyways, cobblestone, staircases, color, abtract shapes, odd combinations, art and of course wall murals!
The streets lined with clapboard architecture have many restaurants, bars, hotels, hostels and art galleries.
Views of the Port and City
The views from up on the hills of the harbor
and city are stunning and a great place to watch the sun come down at days end. The sun sets behind the hills so this is a good time for photos toward the
sea, city and port. I look forward to returning to Valparaiso next time I am in Santiago
. I'm sure I didn't quite see it all!