We had a choice to make for our last few days in Chile. Do we head straight down to Santiago, to explore the capital city, or do we take the opportunity to head down the coast and explore the nearby port of Valparaíso? A good friend back home talks about Valparaíso as being the other side of the coin to Santiago: artistic, bohemian, funky and more than a little grungy. That appealed more to us than spending more time in a big city – especially as if we come back through Chile, at some point, we’ll almost certainly be passing through Santiago; it being the major Chilean hub for international flights (and of course the airport from which we’re flying to Easter Island, in this case a domestic flight) – so we decided to try Valparaíso instead.
We booked another Airbnb, which turned out to be a great find: a little up from the town – and just a few blocks from the bus station – we had a fantastic view over Valparaíso. Certainly the best value we’ve had at an apartment in Chile, and perhaps during the whole of our South American leg. It took us the best part of another day to get here from La Serena by bus, but at least we knew this was the last major chunk of the journey to Santiago – it’s just a few hours from Valparaíso to Santiago, thankfully.
Here’s the view we had across from our flat, by day and by night.
There are a few things to note about Valparaíso: it has some really cool old buses, some fantastic funiculars and the town is covered with amazing street art. You can see two out of three with this view from the other side of our flat:
And here’s the other one:
We spent most of our day in Valparaíso wandering around the streets, enjoying the street art. Here are a number of photos we took, in no particular order.
Aside from the art, we did get the chance to take one of the funiculars:
The best art in Valparaíso is in the upper parts of the town. Which also meant the views across were often spectacular.
Towards the end of our walk, we stopped by Pablo Neruda’s house in Valparaíso, La Sebastiana. There was a huge amount of security present, as it turns out we timed our visit to coincide with one by Princess Kiko of Japan. We did get to see the princess walk by, surrounded by bodyguards, but we chose not to take any pictures of the event.
Here is the house, though:
One other handy aspect of the Airbnb we chose was its proximity to a large supermarket: something we haven’t enjoyed since Salta. It meant we could stock up a little on non-perishable provisions before heading on to two much more remote (and therefore expensive) destinations: Easter Island and Tahiti.
After Valparaíso we took our last Tur Bus to Santiago, from where we jumped in a cab to get to our airport hotel. We’re now taking it easy ahead of our early flight tomorrow morning. Easter Island is one of the big ticket locations on our itinerary, so we’re really excited about this one!
By the way… if you’ve enjoyed these photos, you can see more (and more regularly) via our Instagram page.