Speak to a travel expert: +1-877-240-4770

Valparaiso
Travel Guide


Plan for Valparaiso with Local Expertise

Get a Quote

Valparaiso at a glance

Valparaiso is awash with colour, art, character and charm. It is Chile’s sixth biggest city, but has the second biggest metropolitan region after the capital Santiago. Valparaiso is also known as “The Jewel of the Pacific”, owing to its enviable location halfway down the long stretch of Chilean territory on the Pacific coast. Valparaiso is home to one of the South Pacific’s major seaports, and this has been a factor in its multicultural development, as ships trading between the Atlantic and Pacific in the 19th century used to stop here before traveling through the Straits of Magellan, bringing exotic influences with them. Valparaiso could well be considered the cultural capital of Chile, given that is has long been home to artists, writers, intellectuals and poets, who have been inspired by the city’s idiosyncratic geography and architecture, which have helped shape its identity. Valparaiso is a maze of hilly streets that delight visitors as much as confuse them. The hills can be scaled by the city’s endless sets of staircases, or historic funicular elevators which afford passengers panoramic views out over the city as they ride up towards one of Valparaiso’s many viewpoints. Cerro Concepcion is one of the most popular high points of the city, so put this on your must-see list.

Experiences around Valparaiso

What not to miss

Valparaiso oozes a bohemian spirit, and this can be seen in the many murals that adorn the city’s streets, in the tiny art galleries that can be discovered at every turn, in the colourful facades of the houses that march up the many hills, in the performance pieces that occur sporadically in the streets and in the cute cafes that are some of the best places for people watching. You are sure to spot many murals and stunning graffiti just wandering the streets, but there are also street art tours for people who want to find out a bit more about Valpo’s (as the locals call it) public art culture. Literary buffs will no doubt be fascinated by immersing themselves in the some-time home of revered Chilean poet and statesman Pablo Neruda. Visitors can take a trip to Neruda’s former residence, La Sebastiana on Cerro Bellavista, and from the grounds you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the city and the ocean. This World Heritage City also has numerous sites to explore, such as the fishing wharves and the port, or the historic buildings of the Chilean Congress and the navy headquarters. There is something for everyone in this quirky, engaging coastal enclave.

City Tour Top

Spread over an amphitheater of hills encircling a wide bay, Valparaíso is the most intriguing and distinctive city in Chile. Its most striking feature is the array of houses – a mad, colorful tangle of them tumbling down the hills to a narrow shelf of land below. Few roads make it up these gradients and most people get up and down on the city’s ascensores (lifts), ancient-looking funiculars that slowly haul you up to incredible viewpoints. Among the city’s highlights is Pablo Neruda’s famous house ‘La Sebastiana’ and incredible viewpoints such as Cerro Alegre and Concepcion Hill, where you will notice a strong Anglosaxon influence in the buildings and the streets. We will then proceed to the 21 de Mayo Promenade, a natural window that provides spectacular views of the sprawling Valparaiso. The tour will end with a bus ride to view the historic center of the city along the Prat Street, Victoria square, Pedro Montt Avenue and the splendid buildings of the National Congress.

Walking Tour Top

Explore the colorful, chaotic and poetic city of Valparaiso on this 3-hour private walking tour. After being picked up from your hotel, your private guide will lead you to discover the main highlights of this gorgeous seaside town along with some hidden hotspots. The walk begins at the Sotomayor Square, home to the Iquique Heroe´s Monument and some of the most important buildings in the city. You’ll then hop onto the El Peral Funicular, one of five funiculars still zipping up and down the city. Here, you’ll take some time to explore the Yugoslavean Promenade and the traditional area of Alegre Hill before zigzagging through the streets up to Conception Hill to the bohemian Gervasoni and Atkinson Promenades. The tour then continues back to the downtown area of Valparaiso. After wandering around the charming Aduana square, you’ll take the Artilleria Funicular to 21 de Mayo Promenade, with panoramic views over Valparaiso Bay and Viña del Mar. It’s a brilliant way to get your bearings in Valpo, and your private guide will fill you in on the local history every step of the way.

Culinary Class Top

Our exciting and demanding Chilean Cuisine Cooking Classes will enlighten you on Chilean gastronomy and will provide you with many tips for preparing food at home. You will prepare a delicious meal with the help of a Chilean chef, so that you may recreate these dishes to share some tasty Chilean cuisine with your friends and family after returning home. You will have a say on the menu of the day that will consist primarily of traditional Chilean dishes, the class begins at either 10 or 10.30am and finishes at about 3.30 or 4pm. We also offer evening classes, beginning at either 4 or 5pm and finishing at 8 or 9. The morning class includes a visit to the fresh food markets at Mercado Cardonal that is reached by ascensor. In the afternoons the market is closed.

Fast Facts on Santiago de Chile

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Valparaiso.

When to go

Valparaiso has a mild climate, with temperatures rarely climbing higher than 30 degrees celsius in summer. However, the winds from the Pacific ocean can mean that the city experiences a coastal climate that keeps the temperature feeling low, and this is felt particularly keenly in the evenings. Winters can be wet, so it is better to visit Valparaiso in spring, summer and autumn between November and March. December is the busiest month in the city, with crowds coming in over summer vacation and attending Carnival. There is often a dense fog covering the city because of certain climatic conditions relating to the Humboldt Current, making the climate similar to that of San Francisco in the US.

How to get there

Valparaiso is only an hour away from Santiago, and the capital has the closest airport to Valparaiso. Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport receives international, domestic and regional flights, and all internal flights and transfers will be organised for you as part of your itinerary. There are many buses that run from Santiago to Valparaiso, but we can organise a private transfer for you if you wish to arrive in the most hassle-free manner. The best way to get around the city is by foot or by one of the historic funiculares that scale the steep hills that the city is built. Most are closed, but there are still some that are operational.   

Infrastructure

Valparaiso’s bohemian identity is reflected in the quality of its urban environment. Anyone looking for a pristine, well kept city should go elsewhere, as the pavements, buildings and hills are often slightly dilapidated. Anyone who has issues walking should take great care while exploring, as the pavements are often uneven and there are a lot of stairs. While Valparaiso is generally safe, it is advisable to leave your valuables at home, and to take cabs if you are out late at night. Given its coastal location, the city is famous for its seafood, which can be sampled at any of the fine-dining restaurants that dot the hills. Art buffs will delight in the many galleries to be found in the city, but most shops are closed at weekends, on Sundays in particular.

Tour Packages connections with Valparaiso

Class Adventure Travel gets you the best Latin America has to offer!