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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 120 km west of the capital, Santiago de Chile. The city is widely known for its bohemian culture, brightly colored houses, and beautiful seaside views.
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Points of Interest in Valparaiso
- Cerros Alegre and Concepción
- Plaza Echaurren – Serrano Street
- Cerro Cordillera
- Banking area - Prat Street
- Paseo 21 de Mayo (Cerro Artilleria)
- La Matriz Church and surroundings
- Ascensores (inclines)
- La Sebastiana, one of three homes of poet Pablo Neruda
- Ex Cárcel, a former jail turned cultural center and concert venue
- Museo Naval y Maritimo (Naval and Maritime Museum), Paseo 21 de Mayo 45, at top of Ascensor Artillería, ☎ 56 32 2437651. Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 6.00pm. This museum is dedicated to military naval exploits and battles, and puts a large focus on the Chilean victory against Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific.
- The city's principal economic activities are shipping and tourism.
- Valparaiso was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
- Visiting Valparaiso 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.
- While there are some really attractive areas of Valparaiso, unfortunately the overall impression when one leaves them, is one of grubbiness and smells of urine. The potential is there to bring this city, or much of it, back to its former attractiveness.
Going to Valparaiso 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 100 Chilean Pesos (around 20 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, Valparaiso 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 Artillery, panoramic view of the city of Viña del Mar, Reñaca, Concón and more ... It reaches through the "lift" Artillery, in operation since 1893 (ask for Customs plaza area), its current value is 250 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 "Calafquén", typical dishes of fresh seafood, with a fair value. We are here with a Craft Fair in which they can buy from winter clothing (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 in Chile and Afghanistan), by price and quality of the stone, I recommend the last local. Also visit the Naval Museum "(500 Chilean pesos) whose income is in the midst of the Paseo.
- 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.
The most traditional food for tourists in Valparaiso is the Chorrillana, a heaping mound of french fries topped with steak, onion, and eggs. You can eat this in the traditional restaurant J Cruz. Fresh seafood is readily available in many restaurants around the city, especially around the muelle (wharf) areas, and is considered a must for any seafood lover.
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 and Argentinian word for what is known the anglo world like "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 french croissant, filled with meat 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.
- 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.
- Bijoux (Bijoux Restobar), Abtao 561-A, Cerro Concepcion, ☎ 56 9 9548 2321, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 Torre - offers inexpensive drinks, and is frequented by university students
- La Piedra Feliz - a more expensive and touristy club that often features salsa dancing, mosty for the older crowds
- Club El Cielo
- Club Stockolmo
- Club El Huevo - one of the largest dance clubs in Valparaiso
- Bar La Playa
- Mascara - caters to an artsy and gay/lesbian crowd
- El Huevo - very large (five floors), diverse music, and a rooftop bar
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.
Valparaiso has larger chain department stores like Ripley, located in front of Victoria square, and Falabella on Independencia street, and large supermarket chains like Líder on Pedro Montt and Brasil streets; Santa Isabel on Pedro Montt, Brasil and Uruguay streets, as other small and non-chain supermarkets. There are other small or non-chain and specialized stores on Esmeralda, Condell, Pedro Montt, Independencia and Chacabuco streets, most other shopping is done in small stores on the hills, or with street vendors. There is a large shoping centre on the eastern end of Avenida Brasil.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Valparaíso on Wikivoyage.