Valparaiso is a port city of medium size, located 120 kilometers from the capital of Santiago. The Spaniards landed here in 1536 and began the development of the southern part of Latin America. Accordingly, at first they founded Valparaiso and five years later - Santiago.
Very strong earthquake of 1906 caused great destructions. Since this year, new houses have started to be built and now they became the historcal center.
Although the situation is not so bad. If you like intricate streets, colored houses and lots of graffiti, then you will like the place.
The city is very chaotic, it was difficult for us to navigate here. The streets are located on the hills and even a map can not help you. The center is the Plaza Sotomayor square. There located underground parking, a large shopping center with a supermarket, Puerto metro station and a funicular Ascensor El Peral.
Of course, there are cultural sites in the city, which appeared mostly after the efforts of the immigrants from Britain, Germany and Italy, during the "golden age" in 1848-1914. But in the second half of the 20th century almost all wealthy families left Valparaiso and by the beginning of the 90s most of the cultural heritage was in ruins.
Therefore, despite the fact that since 2003 Valparaiso is the cultural capital of the country, at the moment the city is not ready for tourists who like museums and theaters. Here you just have to walk, take photos and selfie. Chile is not a poor country and nowadays many enthusiasts are trying to implement projects to turn Valparaiso into a touristic city. You just need to wait.
The historical part of the city is highlighted on the next map. It is located on the two hills: Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción.
There are 16 funiculars in the city, however at least half are already abandoned, although they are marked on the tourist maps.
On the Plaza Sotomayor Square there is a funicular Ascensor El Peral, we used it. It is located in a minute from the hotel, where we spent the night - Hostal Los Poetas (booking.com). It is more a guest house than a hotel, but is located in the center, relatively inexpensive and has its own small parking.
For us Valparaiso is a reference graffiti-city and we always compare it to other similar places. In most large cities there are streets with graffiti. In some cities, for example in Marseilles, there are whole quarters. And in Valparaiso the entire historical center is painted, despite the fact that it is listed in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
In addition to the historical center, we visited two other places. Got on the hill Cerro Bellavista to the Maritime Museum by the most beautiful funicular Ascensor Bellavista (S 33 02.033 W 71 37.805). The viewpoint on the top offers a good view of the city.
Valparaiso is the largest port in Chile, as well as a military base. Because of this, the city can not be considered as completely touristic. The port doesn't allow to feel yourself comfortable and secure. In addition, it completely blocks the exit to the sea.
From Miramar station continue on foot towards the casino (S 33 01.127 W 71 33.703). There is already no port, no metro line along the coast, everything is well-groomed, clean and looks like on the Cote d'Azur coast in Italy-France. A great place to walk along the sea in good weather.
Getting there: There is an excellent motorway from Santiago to Valparaiso, but it's not realistic to drive by car inside the city. Coordinates of underground parking in the very center is S 33 02.280 W 71 37.675. Buses from Santiago run from the Pajaritos metro station, travel time is 1.5 hours (schedule).