- For other places with the same name, see Valparaíso (disambiguation).
Valparaíso is a city of around 300,000 on the Pacific coast of Central Chile. Frequently referred to as simply Valpo, it is located approximately 120km west of the capital, Santiago de Chile. The city is widely known for its bohemian culture, brightly coloured houses, and beautiful seaside views.
View on one of the city hills
Ascensores connecting the harbour area to the hills.
- The city's main economic activities are shipping, the naval dockyards and tourism.
- Valparaiso was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
- Visiting Valparaíso has less to do with touring specific sites than it is about roaming the chaotic, hilly streets, and taking in the views and ambiance. There is also an active nightlife and a constantly changing variety of artistic events.
Valparaiso does not have its own airport. The closest airport with commercial service is Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) near Santiago (known to Chileans as Pudahuel after the local district) 115km from Valparaiso, which offers extensive domestic and international service.
To to get to Valparaíso from Santiago's airport, you will catch a bus heading to Pajaritos outside of the airport terminal. This will drop you off at the North side of "Pajaritos" a bus/metro station on the outskirts of Santiago, cross to the South side of the Metro station to get to the Bus Platform. From here, buses leave frequently for Valparaiso and other destinations; you may also take the Metro into Santiago. It is generally not necessary to have a bus ticket before arriving at Pajaritos, since there are ticket booths right next to the Bus Platform: you can go up to them and purchase the ticket right there, and if you're lucky, hop into the bus itself less than five minutes later.
Alternately, there are many transfer service companies at the airport, a minibus for max 8 people is around 85.000CLP.
Also, there are many car hire companies at the airport. By car from the airport to Valparaíso is only 1 hour.
The Metro Valparaíso or Merval runs between Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, as well as surrounding communities. It runs from 6.00am to 11.30pm, and is new, clean and fast. Adult fares range from Ch$204 to Ch$1080 depending on the time of day and the distance travelled, but value cards of a minimum of Ch$1200 must be used; single tickets are not sold.
While Valparaíso itself can be a bit of a difficult city in which to drive, the area's road system is generally of good quality. Note that there are often tolls on Motorways, even within the city of Santiago.
Buses from a wide variety of destinations within Chile have scheduled service to Valparaíso, in addition to service to the Argentine city of Mendoza. The bus terminal is located close to the National Congress building.
Approximate bus travel times to/from Valparaíso:
- 1.5 hours: Santiago de Chile (many times every hour). If you come from Santiago, there may be a shortage of bus tickets sometimes, specially in national holidays and summer vacation; in that case take a bus to the nearby city of Quilpue and then take a taxi or the Metro de Valparaíso. Here the schedules: Santiago de Chile Val Paraiso Bus Schedules
- 7 hours: La Serena (every other hour)
- 12 hours: Mendoza, Argentina (the road may be closed in winter due to bad weather)
Local buses also ply between Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, taking about 15 minutes each way. Fares range from Ch$350 to Ch$400.
Some cruise ships dock in Valparaíso, mostly as part of a long South American itinerary. Also possible is a Freighter Cruise from Mexico, taking two weeks and making several stops along the way.
The city micros are run by Transporte Metropolitano Valparaíso. Exact routes and fares can be found under "Empresas" on the website, and single journeys cost about Ch$250 for local routes and Ch$380 for routes running between El Plano and the hills.
Colectivos are taxis painted in black with yellow roofs that run fixed routes, and are a very common mode of transport between (and within) Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and other surrounding areas. The cost of the trip, is a little more expensive than the bus or metro and depends upon the distance being traveled following a system of zones. There are also normal taxis that do custom rides, but they are less common and more expensive. This type of taxis often congregate in the area around the Plaza Anibal Pinto.
The recently completed light-rail system, Metro Valparaíso or Merval, runs along the coast. It starts at Valparaíso's port and heads into Viña del Mar and then along the chain of town heading inland towards the Aconcagua valley. The metro provides quick access to major places of interest, and is only slightly more expensive than taking public buses. Adult fares range from Ch$204 to Ch$1080 depending on the time of day and the distance travelled, but value cards of a minimum of Ch$1200 must be used; single tickets are not sold.
Ascensores, funiculars, ply between El Plan, or the coastal strip, with the cerros, or hillside communitiies. They are for the most part old and creaky, but generally reliable. The fare may sometimes differ between going up and going down, but cost about Ch$300 each way. The ascensors are an unusual mode of transportation in Valparaíso, and offer gorgeous views of the cityscape, port, and the Pacific Ocean.
- Cerros Alegre and Concepción
- Plaza Echaurren – Serrano Street
- Cerro Bellavista: residential area & artistic hill with colorful murals
- Museo a cielo abierto: 20 murals spread throughout cerro Bellavista
- Ascensor & Cerro Polanco: The only verticle "elevator" ascensor in the city. The hill held the first latin american graffitti festival in October 2012 and now boasts over 70 murals and graffitti pieces
- Cerro Cordillera
- Prat Street- Old financial district known as the "Wallstreet Porteño"
- Paseo 21 de Mayo (Cerro Artilleria)
- La Matriz Church and surroundings
- Ascensores (inclines)
- La Sebastiana, one of three homes of poet Pablo Neruda (cerro Bellavista)
- Ex Cárcel, a former jail turned cultural center and concert venue
- Museo del Tren Más Lento del Mundo - The world's slowest train is a battered, rusted, smelly and endlessly charming old train-turned-café parked (or, rather, dumped) on the stretch of the beach closest to Viña. It's decoration is a showcase of absurdities and the coffee is pretty good at fair prices.
Going to Valparaíso and not going on the ascensores (inclines) is like going to Venice and not taking a ride on a Gondola, only that the ascensores cost as little as 300 Chilean Pesos (around 55 US cents). They are also of practical use as they help many local people get to the higher parts of town, saving them from having to walk otherwise long and steep pedestrian routes.
During the last week in the year, Valparaíso holds an annual carnival that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Each year the festival centers around a different country, from which performers and artists are invited to come and represent their culture and their work in theater, music, and the performance arts. Most activities are free and are held outdoors. The celebration culminates with a New Year firework display that within five of the most beautiful in the planet. Oops, but get ready in time because the city's population triples on those dates. I recommend visiting the Mirador del Cerro Artilleria, panoramic view of the city of Vina del Mar, Reñaca, Con Con and more ... It reaches through the "lift" Artilleria, in operation since 1893 (ask for Customs plaza area), its current value is 300 Chilean pesos, on the first floor is the Mirador "Walk May 21," (delivered to the community in the year 1911) in which impossible not to enjoy the restaurant "Calaufquen", typical dishes of fresh seafood, with a fair value or restuarant cafe postal, 20 metres up the hill - sit outside on the deck (up a flight of stairs), best fish in town and medium priced. There is also a large a Craft Fair in which they sell winter clothing made from alpaca(ponchos, Ruan, scarves, socks, gloves, wool hats), souvenir of the most varied models and prices, up figures and jewelry from lapis lazuli (blue stone semi-precious which is only found in Chile and Afghanistan), by price and quality of the stone, I recommend the last local - Renee is the owner. Also visit the Naval Museum "(500 Chilean pesos).
A good half-day trip is going to the dunes of Concón. On clear days you can see the dunes across the bay from Valparaíso and it's just a half-hour busride on any micro going to Reñaca. The dunes are just big enough that you can forget that a world outside of this micro desert exists, and they offer great views of the pacific sunset.
- The German Pirate (myvalparaiso.cl), . Amazing tour by a German man who's lived in Valparaiso for years. He seems to know everything and everyone about the place. He speaks Spanish, English and German. Discounts for groups. You're unlikely to find a more immersive tour of Valparaiso.
- Tours 4 Tips (www.tours4tips.com), Plaza Sotomayor, ☎ 56 322 -3148700, . Every Day at 10am and 3pm. Award winning walking tours that leave from Valparaiso's main square Plaza Sotomayor every day at 10 am and 3pm. The guides are dressed like Waldo/Wally from the children's book "Where's Waldo /Wally," and give great tours on the basis of tips. The tour takes you around the port, the historic hills, and includes public transportation and many surprises en route. A must do for those interested in the graffiti, history, architecture, culture and gastronomy of Valparaiso
- Chilean Cuisine Cooking Classes [www.cookingclasseschile.cl] includes a full cooking class and market tour for ingredients with the chef. In english, german or spanish. Great fun and recommended.
The universities of Valparaiso are:
- 'University Federico Santamaria' 
- 'University of Valparaíso' 
- 'University of Playa Ancha' 
- 'Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso'
Many international students study at the Catholic University and the University of Valparaíso.
Valparaiso, to its charm, is not a city of malls and department stores. While several large grocery stores are present, most other shopping is done in smaller, non-chain stores tucked in along crowded city streets, or with street vendors; larger chain stores (and more upscale goods) are more commonly found in nearby Viña del Mar. A large shopping center, however, is found on the eastern end of Avenida Brasil.
The most traditional food in Valparaiso is the Chorrillana, a heaping mound of French fries topped with steak stripes, fried onion, and fried eggs - and also large enough to feed at least two people. You can eat this in several places, but the most famous one is the traditional restaurant J Cruz. The city´s two most attractive hills, Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion, have seen a great many new restaurants open in recent years, and most visitors tend to stick to these as they are a short, safe walk from hostals.
Fresh seafood is readily available in many small restaurants around the city, especially around the muelle (wharf) areas, and is considered a must for any seafood lover. Neighboring Viña del Mar features a much larger (and more expensive) variety of international cuisines, including Thai, Mexican, and Argentine.
There are also some restaurants which specialize in different seafood dishes near Mercado Puerto, which is near the last metro station. The more the customers dining inside the restaurants, the better the dishes you'll be likely to get.
Bakeries are located on nearly every block, and produce quite delicious breads that can be had warm and right out of the oven at almost any time throughout the day. They are best enjoyed smothered with palta, which are grown en masse in Chile (palta is the Chilean word for avocado, known in most other Spanish-speaking countries as aguacate). In addition to the many types of bread, another widely available snack to keep you settled as you walk the streets are empanadas, a flaky pastry, almost like a croissant, filled with "pino" (fried minced meat, black olives, boiled egg, raisins) or cheese.
On the second floor of the Mercado Cardonal (cnr Ave Brasil and Uruguay) there are a few excellent, cheap and midrange restaurants serving lunch.
- Allegretto, Pilcomayo 529, Cerro Concepcion (Opposite the Anglican church in Cerro Concepcion). A relaxed and good value pizza restaurant with gnocchi and risotto too. Great pizza, great draught beer, an old vinyl jukebox and a football table upstairs, ensure that Allegretto is always popular.
- Chile - Suecia, Calle Bellavista (Just off the square). Open even on Sundays. Good sandwiches, hot dogs and set menus at $2500.
- El Valenciano, Avenida Colon 3110, ☎ +56 32 225 1619. Delicious chicken, good sandwiches and good value meals.
- Estación Cielo Amierto, Ferrari 68 (Cerro Bellavista). A cute cafe on the Cerro Bellavista which has juices, smoothies, and sandwiches.
- Los Portenos II, (at the corner of Valdivia and Cochrane), ☎ 225 19 15. Delicious seafood dishes and many local people choose this restaurant at weekends.
- Cafe del Poeta, Plaza Anibal Pinto (Opposite the statue of A. Pinto). Good place for a sweat treat. Try the truffa de chocolate.
- Bijoux (Bijoux Restobar), Abtao 561-A, Cerro Concepcion, ☎ 56 9 9548 2321 ([email protected]). Beautiful little Restaurant in the heart of Cerro Concepciòn. Instead of a menu card, the chef and owner comes to you and according to the daily market specialities and your wishes he creates an individual menu just for you.The food is always fresh, delicious and offers an unique experience in Chile. cl$7900.
- Le Filou Montpellier Almte Montt 382. Great French-run restaurant in Cerro Concepciòn.
- Epif Calle Dr. Grossi 268, Cerro Alegre. Tastey vegetarian food and drinks at reasonable prices. Cozy cafe environment with great music and service.
- Delicatessen Emporio, Urriola 383, C. Concepcion (Head north (and up) from the Armada main buiding - two blocks), ☎ +56-32-2339373, . Beautiful food in a small, romantic setting. Carpaccio with oysters was exquisite, Garbanzo soup was flavorful (read: spicey), fresh and probably the best I've ever had. 7,500 for a full lunch.
- La Concepción Papudo 541, Cerro Concepción. Voted best restaurant in Valparaiso in many magazines and on TripAdvisor. They serve everything from daily fresh fish to classic Chilean dishes with a modern presentation.
Cafe Turri Paseo Gervasoni (by the ascensor conception) great views and good food
On weekends, the time to go out for a drink (Chilean people call it "salir de carrete") starts no earlier than midnight, though somewhat earlier during the week. The pubs and clubs close at 5 AM on weekends, and 4 AM on weekdays.
Drinking alcohol in the streets is not allowed and 18 years is the minimum age for drinking alcohol, though enforcement of these rules is somewhat lax. If you are under 18, you may not be allowed entry into some pubs.
Chile is a major wine-producing country, and bottles of fairly tasty wines can be had for slightly more than US$1.
- La Terazza MIMI -The best night club in valpo!
- La Torre - offers inexpensive drinks, and is frequented by university students
- La Piedra Feliz - a more expensive and touristy club that often features salsa dancing, mostly for the older crowds
- Club El Cielo
- Club Stockolmo
- Club El Huevo - one of the largest dance clubs in Valparaiso which usually features a young crowd 
- Bar La Playa
- Pagano - very popular gay club. Has two floors and an eclectic mix of electronic, pop, indie-rock etc. Also does shows.
- Mascara - caters to an artsy and gay/lesbian crowd
Many clubs and bars are also found in Viña del Mar. Public transportation and taxis continue to run throughout the night, making it entirely feasible to have accommodations in one city while going out for the night in the other.
- Puro Cafe, Calle Edwards, 301, Valparaiso, ☎ + 56 9 96380239. One of the very few places in Chile to have real espresso, not instant coffee. The cafe has beautiful and comfortable furniture, making probably the best place in Valparaiso for coffee.
- Café Sello Verde, Subida Ferrari 570, Cerro Bellavista, Valparaíso, +56 (9) 9 2133324. One block down from Pablo Neruda Museum in the Bellavista hill. Contemporary food, great coffee, fresh lunches, delicious cakes. Open views from the café balcony.
- Café Trabalengua, Artillería 67, Valparaiso, ☎ + 56 9 82292759, . A dedicated community space, open Thursday through Sunday with live music, a concentration on arts, and delicious homemade food. They concentrate on non-espresso, non-drip forms of coffee.
There are many hostels around the Cerro Concepcion.
- Hostel Casa Verde Limón  Cumming 198, (56) (32) 2121699, nice living room where you can meet people, very helpful staff, dorms from $7500
- Angel Hostal  Cumming 160 Cerro Carcel, (56)(32) 2126940. Dorm room 7000 per person. Double room 8000 per person, matrimonial and single beds. Good breakfast, decent rooms, friendly helpful staff, good place to meet people, free internet and some tickets to nightlife bohemian experience.
- Hostal Casa Valparaiso Budget hostal in the heart of Cerro Concepcion,friendly owners and young social atmosphere.
- Hostel Mítico  Cumming 190, (56) (32) 3201385, has both dorms and private rooms. Very nice staff. Otherwise basic and overpriced hostel. Some rooms have bedbugs. Dorms from $9000 (Feb 2016), basic breakfast included. Better options around.
- HOSTAL CERRO ALEGRE, Cerro Alegre, Urriola 562, Valparaiso, Chile. Tel.+56 32 3270374, emailto : [email protected]alcerroalegre.com, . Cerro Alegre Hostel Valparaiso is located on Cerro Alegre hill, the most historical and central area of Valparaiso, within walking distance of all major attractions and restaurants in the area. This beautifully renovated house takes hostel art to a whole new level. Each room has been meticulously decorated by local artists. All of them will provide our guests with supreme comfort and security during their stay.
- APARTMENTS Valparaiso Experience, Pasaje Santa Margarita, Cerro BELLAVISTA, Valparaíso, Chile (Strategic central location on residential and artistic hill Bellavista, boasting great views over The Pacific ocean and coastline), ☎ (+56 9) 88308764, . Valparaiso Experience offers fully furnished ocean view apartments on residential cerro (hill) Bellavista. A new building with 4 comfortable luxury ECCO duplex apartments (4 persons per unit), each provided with solar panels, double glazing windows, central heating, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, full kitchen, bright living room, ample deck terraces with panoramic ocean views. A remodelled historic building with 3 apartments: Queen Mary Duplex - 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, ample living room and kitchen and 2 large sun deck terraces with panoramic views - sleeps 8 persons. Pablo Neruda Apartment with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, living room, kitchen, patio with bbc, sleeps 5-6. Bellavista Cottage - 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen, living room and garden with deck terrace and a couple of generous peach trees.
- The Mirador Bed and Breakfast, 251 Levarte, . A very comfortable hospedaje in the Playa Ancha sector of the city, with several rooms, small apartments, and a balcony with a great view of the city and port. Internet and Wi-Fi. A nice kitchen to use. Parking. Marisol, the owner, is wonderful and very helpful.
- The Yellow House, Capitán Muñoz Gamero 91, Cerro Artillería, Valparaíso, Chile (The Yellow House is easily reached by using the Ascensor Artilleria, on foot, by public transport or by car.), ☎ (56) 32 2339435, . The Yellow House has 7 comfortable guest rooms. Most rooms as well as the homes two galleries, living and dining areas offer wonderful views of the port and harbour and on a clear day extend as far as the AndesMountains separating Chile and Argentina. The Yellow House also has a book exchange, WiFi, cable TV and a selection of board games. The house was built in the late 1800s and has been fully restored. The "Ocean View" room, as the name indicates, has the best view and is really worth it.
- Residencia en El Cerro, Pasaje Pierre Lotti 51, Conceptione, Valparaíso, Chile (Pierre Lotti 51 is easily reached by using the Ascensor Concepcion.). For absolute quietness, except for the creaking floors, try Residencia en El Cerro, Pasaje Pierre Lotti 51. Next door at 43 there is also accommodation. This Hostal is on an alley where no traffic get and the gardens add a little attractive colour. A twin room costs 30,000 a night. Breakfast is just OK with coffee/tea, bread, butter and jam. The place is in its original 1880`s decor - maybe. Wi-fi, TV.
- ALLEGRETTO BED & BREAKFAST, Lautaro Rosas 540, Cerro Alegre, Valparaiso, Chile. Tel. +56 32 296 8517, emailto : [email protected], . Allegretto Bed & Breakfast is a cosy, English-owned hostal, mostly targeting travelling couples and families, with some space for single travelers too in shared rooms. Prices are very reasonable for the quality of the rooms and the location, which is absolutely ideal. Additionally the living room has a great jukebox stacked with old rock and roll records and there is a football table.
In the context of Chile being a relatively safe country, Valparaíso is amongst its more dangerous locales, like many harbour cities around the world. Mainly, watch out for pickpockets, for instance avoid hanging your purse or bag in the back of your chair when seated, because it may get stolen. Violent crime is very uncommon, but normal precautionary measures should be taken; while in the street, do not display expensive jewelry. The port area (called "Puerto") is generally considered to be dangerous even during the day.
- There is a laundry in the mall of Hotel Prat. 5kg $3700.
- Greece, Arlegui 263, of. 302, Viña del Mar, ☎ +563 2268-7460 ([email protected], fax: "="+563).
- Viña del Mar, - an upscale beach resort town close to Santiago de Chile, is only ten minutes by train from Valparaíso, and slightly longer by bus. Many mininuses go between Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, like the 215, 216, 603 etc. If you take bus 612 from Plaza Echaurren you will get a full tour of the Valpo hills, and you can jump off at La Sebastiana.
- The idyllic village of Quintay is 45 minutes to the south by car. Take a colectivo from Calle 12 de Feberero, behind the bus terminal, 'they leave as soon as they fill up. $1400.
- There are direct buses from Valparaiso many destinations, e.g. in the south Telmuco, Pucon...
- Direct overnight bus to Pucon: different options around 9pm. From 10.400 pp (March 2016).
Wikipedia article on Valparaíso