In Spanish, Valparaíso means “Paradise Valley”. It was named by Juan de Saavedra after the Spanish town Valparaíso de Arriba. The city is located less than two hour drive from Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Every time we told someone that we’re going to Valparaíso, we heard: “ooh, Valparaíso! It’s beautiful!”
It is beautiful indeed, but maybe it would’ve had more of a wow-factor on us if we haven’t visited Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro earlier on our trip. Unfortunately, when you travel, many things are influenced by what you’ve seen, where you’ve been, how you feel and more. For us, Valparaíso just wasn’t a highlight. But make sure you check out this article by Jackie and Justin from Life Of Doing – they shared how amazing their time in Valparaíso was.
The “cute” and “colourful” part of Valparaíso is located on the hill. It’s filled with murals, tags and graffiti, just like Santa Teresa. One thing the city is lacking is a beach front. It is located next to the water, but its port is an important industry for Chile, so it’s not the place to go and relax on the beach, unless you take a bus or taxi and go to Reñaca or Viña del Mar, which, to be honest, is very close.
One thing we recommed to try in Valparaíso is to take a walking tour with the guys from Tour for Tips. T4T do great tours, which are free. We encourage you to tip in the end of the tour if you liked it, because this is how guides get their salaries. On the T4T tour you learn about history of the city and Chile, about the street art and learn some words in “Chilean”. Try taking some of the local buses, micros – it’s an experience of its own.
In general, Valparaíso is welcoming and vivid, but I wouldn’t spend too many days there. Head to Viña del Mar, Reñaca or La Serena to continue exploring Chilean coast!