Valparaiso is one of those towns in which you can spend hours and even days, just wandering around adjusting to the laid back lifestyle that the locals live. There seems to be something cute or beautiful around every corner and down every alley.
Your goal is to discover them all.
If you make your way to Valparaiso (and you should!) we recommend having no strict itinerary and just going with the proverbial flow. Along our flowy way we came across some quirky ways of spending our days, mostly browsing the streets and sampling sweet treats in the myriad of cafés.
There are dozens of cerros (hill or neighbourhood) to choose from. Once you have ascended to your cerro of choice the next step is to get totally lost admiring the artwork and murals on the walls and multi-coloured staircases which turn the neighbourhoods into a labyrinth.
If you are lucky enough you may come across this place… I don’t think you can get more cute and laid back than this. A man sells delicious alfajors (two biscuits stuck together with a delicious chocolate cream filling) from his house. Just ring the doorbell (seriously) and he will come out and hand you one (or several) for a mere CH$200/0.20p each!
Valparaiso doesn’t judge you. Where else do you know where it is acceptable to slide your way to your destination? Yes that’s right, when did you last go down a slide? Head to the top of Reina Victoria Acensor and live your inner child. And trust me, it’s pretty fast if you are wearing leggings – so be careful! It’s all well and good being playful but bruised knees aren’t very chic.
If you’re short on time, the areas you must visit are Cerro Concepcion, Cerro Belavista and Cerro Alegre. A great way to see the city by foot in a short period of time and to familiarise yourself with your surroundings is to go on the free walking tour ‘Tours 4 Tips’.
If you’re enjoying Valparaiso’s street art, ‘The Outdoor Museum’ in Cerro Bellavista is a widespread collection of graffiti murals. Such a unique idea and it makes exploring the neighbourhood even more scintillating..
Still can’t get enough of the colourful artwork? The whole city, shabby-chic architecture and all, is covered in vibrant street art for you to take in. Add to this the ever-shifting port population of sailors, dockworkers and prostitutes and it makes for a truly unusual place!
Speaking of sailors…one tip for the ladies; head to Plaza Justicia and hover outside the Navy Headquaters to see all the men in uniform with their aviators on.
Now you need a drink to cool down, hey? How about sampling some local brews?
Head to Casa Cervezeria Altamira Artisinal Beer Company where you can get a tasting tray or a large locally brewed beer served in an elegant large wine shaped glass.
For food we recommend having a fresh catch of the day. Serrano and Cochrane streets by the main Plaza Sotomayor have many locally run restaurants and fish markets to choose from.
But, my number one tip and pastime for Valparaiso is to take your time; wander around and have coffee and cake in many of the cute and quirky cafés and watch the cute and quirky life in Valparaiso pass you by.
We could have spent a lot longer than 3 days in this dynamic, unique and beautiful place. But if, like us, 3 days in Valparaiso is all you have then make sure you make the most of it!