Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, Chile


Valparaiso is located on the coast of Chile, just a hop, skip, and jump away from Santiago and definitely worth a day trip. It’s a city built on steep inclines feeding down to the ocean, and within two minutes there I felt like I was back in San Francisco – huffing and puffing up and down ridiculously steep hills seems to be unavoidable in both places.IMG_4983IMG_4988

Valparaiso is a city for your inner art lover. Filled to the brim with local artisan shops, street art, Crayola colored houses, and Colonial architecture, it’s an intriguing mish-mash of styles and periods. The population grew so fast in the 19th century that streets did not have names, let alone house numbers – colors were used instead to identify the home.

Along with the vibrant buildings, most wall space is occupied by funky and amazing graffiti and street art pieces – something I have grown to love more and more since taking a street art tour in Buenos Aires. The artists seamlessly meld, or purposely contradict, their work with the surroundings, making the city an art gallery in itself.IMG_4985IMG_4979IMG_4977

We stopped for a coffee at the local haunt El Desayunador before wandering around the delightfully colorful streets and strolling along Paseo Dimalow. The city architecture is fascinating – gorgeous colonial style buildings now a bit rough around the edges, but thoughtfully painted by talented artists and filled with smiling shopkeepers and tenants. Charming and unique.  IMG_4966IMG_4970IMG_4972IMG_4993IMG_4997IMG_5002IMG_5007

Another unique element of this city is the funiculars. With 22 total, providing transport from the high hills down to the historical seaside port area, they are a great and slightly rickety way to get a view of the surroundings. The El Peral funicular, built in 1902, has ancient old wooden compartments to carry you from A to B. IMG_5008IMG_5011IMG_5012We landed down in the seaside port area, dilapidated and sun soaked with all kinds of people out to enjoy some rays.

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The lovely sky blue Armada de Chile building.

Hotel: The Mm450 Hotel and Restaurant has a lovely terrace and back patio for enjoying a coffee or glass of wine. Very Pinterest-ready shots. IMG_4989IMG_4992

With limited time left to explore, we headed to the neighboring Vina del Mar – modern and sleek in comparison. Beautiful beaches lie in easy access to the apartment buildings populating the city – prime location to say the least! IMG_5027IMG_5017IMG_5018IMG_5025

Refueling with fancy water, super salads, and sea breezes, we were ready to head back to Santiago and onward to the next adventure. IMG_5021IMG_5023

Valparaiso is an eclectic, unique, and artsy city, offering something totally different from Santiago. It’s the perfect place to satisfy your need for a little funk and fun. I will certainly be back for a street art tour and more exploring!

Categories: Cities & Culture, Sand & Sunshine, Weekend EscapesTags: , , ,

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