Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Valparaiso, Chile - Day Tour

Valparaiso is an interesting little hillside city. About an hour and a half (depending on Santiago traffic) northwest of Santiago - Valparaiso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cruise ship port.
Founded in 1543 Valparaiso was at one time the Pacific’s greatest port. Unfortunately as one gentleman told me, “She has gone from a Grand Dame to a faded silent film star.”
What an interesting analogy! For some reason what this man told me put thoughts of Acapulco from the 1960s in my head. Images of high-rise hotels, fashionable people lounging on the beach as waiters in khakis and white shoes served fruity and tropical drinks from little trays.
Well, Valparaiso certainly is not Acapulco from the 1960s. It is the opposite of that ideal. So upon first sight I was confused, and if I had been on my own I would have been reluctant to spend much time there.
Luckily we had enlisted the guidance of Vivian from ABC Tour. His passion and understanding of this faded Grand Dame certainly turned what could have been a disappointing day into one of the best days of our trip. He showed us the past and the present of this once mighty shipping port and even speculated on its future. Right from the beginning it was apparent that this transplanted Frenchman has found his soul mate in Chile and especially Valparaiso. If you plan on visiting Valparaiso be sure to contact Vivian if you want the inside tour and not the tourist route.
We began the tour at the top of the hillside city and worked our way down. At the top you take in the locals and you get to see how they live. The top is the heart of Valparaiso. It’s where you live and take care of your family. Down the hill into the port is where you work - it seems the locals prefer to be up on the hill.


One of the many homeless dogs that are adopted by the locals. He seems happy!



If you are a port city then you need a Naval Museum!
I am absolutely thrilled to say that I have seen the Pacific Ocean from two different continents! 
This was by far the most unexpected part of the tour. Usually when somebody suggests we go visit the cemetery, 'I say thanks but no thanks.' However this time I really am glad somebody took me to the local cemetery.What an absolute display of joy and color-complete with the flags of the local football team!
 For me  - my absolute favorite part of Valparaiso was the amazing street art!  


  1. Lovely photos! Specially those of the street art! And if you enjoyed that colourful cemetery, be sure to go visit one in Mexico if ever you're there! Particularly around Todos Santos (Day of the Dead, Nov.1)

    I'd heard that Valparaiso was a lovely place! I'm glad you found someone who helped you enjoy it! Did he mention anything about Isabel Allende's novels? I have this vague memory that several of her older novels take place in Valparaiso...

    I'd love to visit Chile someday!

    PS: I'm coming in via that article you wrote comparing Elementary to Sherlock on I don't remember which website! :p I love to travel and share my tales as well... so was nice to discover your blog! I'll probably slowly make my way through it and flood your inbox with comments. Apologies in advance! ;o)

  2. Hello! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! The website you found me through was and lovely go-to-place for all things British! So glad you are flooding the inbox. I always love to hear from fellow travelers. And you are a fellow blogger as well!I will be popping over to your blog soon and can't wait to check it out!

  3. Anglotopia, right! Thanks for the reminder! A friend of mine in the US frequently links to articles of theirs on Facebook. Lots of interesting stuff!

    I love discovering fellow travellers as well! :o)