After 5 days of the wilderness and living in a tent (see Patagonia), we really needed a break. But as cheap students, we booked ourselves on the 2am flight out of Punta Arenas, arriving in Santiago airport around 5am. I have never been so unhappy to land early in my life. We hired a driver at the airport to transport us from the airport to Valparaiso (~1.5hour drive), onward to our Airbnb. Which would not be available until 11am.
We make wonderful decisions.
Valparaiso (March 2016)
Scene 1: 7am outside our Airbnb, tired and hungry
I’m one of those skittish travelers who gets really nervous in new places, even though I love going to them. Valparaiso is definitely one those places that made me pretty uncomfortable. Graffiti covered everything, the buildings looked run down, and nothing was open at 7am.
The city was beautiful from the mountain, especially the lights combined with the rising sun. I just wish I had appreciated it a bit more, but we were exhausted and really wanted a shower & bed. There is a very long story of how we wandered around the city, were followed by mentally deranged people near the bus station… but we’ll skip that!
Scene 2: After taking a wonderful nap and shower, we set out to explore the city.
First up, lunch! Our Airbnb host (super friendly people, with a really nice house!) suggested that we go to Caleta Portales for lunch. It was by the beach, albeit a bit of a walk. It seems to have mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, but we really enjoyed our lunch. And the copious amounts of pisco sour that we ordered. First we started with the wine (we were right next to the wine valley), then we moved onto pisco sour… and finally, margaritas!
It was a delightful, tipsy lunch with way too much food. We ordered a combination of ceviche, shrimp, mixed seafood stew.
Scene 3: Food coma and tipsy
Proceeding on our merrily tipsy way, we meandered back into the historical area of the city on the Valparaiso Metro. The metro sits above ground and drives along the coast, with cute views along the way. Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre are two of the key historical neighborhoods in the city. As most of Valparaiso is on slopes (see first photo!), there are several escalators (we took Ascensor Reina Victoria) in the area to help people move up and down. They also serve tourists well, particularly for photography and seeing the city.
Valparaiso has an incredible amount of art on the streets. Not just by the mural street, but also along the entire historical neighborhood. Wandering around slightly tipsy was definitely a looser way to appreciate the city.
Scene 4: In search of drinks & dinner
For drinks / dinner, we stopped by several places. The nightlife in Valparaiso hops! Rooftop bars galore, delicious drinks paired with delicious snacks and more food. Streets in Valparaiso literally bustle.
Best of all, there is uber in Valparaiso! As complete strangers to the city, especially strangers who don’t speak a word of Spanish, Uber = lifesaver. With a couple clicks, a car pulled up and we were on our way home. Thus ended our whirlwind 24 hours in Valparaiso. All things considered, the 12 hours we spent in the streets were a colorful, happy blur, and an awesome way to recuperate from Patagonia. The next morning, a pre-arranged driver picked us up at 9am and we proceeded to the Casablanca Wine Valley.