Santiago, Chile is a fairly clean, pleasant big city, but to be brutally honest, I just didn’t find it terribly interesting on any level. It was a lovely sharp contrast to roll into Valparaiso, just a short bus ride away, and experience the beautiful, intense street art that covers a large part of this city.
Valparaiso could be done as a day trip from Santiago, but to be honest, I regret not spending at least one night in this fabulous city. The area around Muelle Prat and the main square are frankly completely uninteresting, unless you are interested in watching a working port, which honestly isn’t my cup of tea. The area in the east of the city where the buses arrive (Terminal Rodivario) is also just any other generic city area, with some parts ranging on sketchy. But as you make your way towards the main tourist area, which we accessed using Ascensor Reina Victoria, but there are several points of entry, you will just be overwhelmed by what an incredible project has been undertaken. The area is large, with so many different types of art, some for more aesthetic purposes, some to serve more political messages, but all of it, just amazing. So take your time and enjoy it and the beautiful, colorful buildings in this area. Don’t rush, you really, truly don’t know what is around the next corner. An abandoned house whose skeleton has been turned into a living piece of art? Murals depicting the end of the world? Who really knows.
I didn’t know what to expect when coming to Valparaiso, but let’s just say, what I found far exceeded my expectations. Not to mention there are so many wonderful places to eat, grab a cup of coffee, buy something unique, or take in yet another amazing view. Even this jaded traveler recommends a couple of days here. You can also access the beach town of Vina del Mar by taking a subway ride for just 10-15 minutes north, but again, in my quest to be honest, I found it to be just any other non-distinctive beach town in the world. Enjoy some of my photos from my time in Valparaiso.
Tips: Buses do get sold out. We were advised to buy return tickets as the return journeys were almost sold out, meaning we could’ve ended up stuck in that area. Getting a taxi outside of Terminal Rodivario is a pain since there really isn’t a dedicated spot for them – the parking attendant can help. Uber was present in Vina del Mar so this made things a ltitle easier.