Valparaiso, Chile 🇨🇱 February 2020
Valparaíso is a beautiful city right on the coast of Chile. It’s about 1.5hrs from Santiago. I took the bus and there was a beautiful sunrise that peaked in through the bus windows. I had to take a super early bus in order to get to the city tour by 10am. 615am wake up call ahhhhhh.
It was a good 35 minute walk to the tour from the bus station, and it was full of street art and beautiful artwork. It was also full of messages and written protests about the current political situation. But it felt like a sleepy town with everyone just rolling out of bed with their merchandise and glittery souvenirs to sell. The architecture was fascinating though, large colonial buildings with the paint chipping off, and strange, mechanical decorations. Once I got to the downtown area, I found a large market that was setup on the main square with vendors selling colorful clocks, yummy sweets and sparkly jewelry. There were doors painted with many types of cats, and pictures of eyes in each window of the large office buildings in protest of rubber bullets recklessly being used by police.
The pier was close and I enjoyed hearing the whirrrrr of the water and bobbing boats. There was a rather underrated and terrifying “Tsunami” sign, with info on where to go in case a tsunami was imminent, and some wooden figures, which seemed to be hand carved.
￼ I got to my free walking tour and it was great! I was glad that I got to this early one, because the guide was great! We took the bus allllll the way up the hill and it was an experience! Palm trees, colorful houses, friendly puppies wearing bandanas and the beautiful water off in the distance. (These hills are no joke btw. It felt like San Francisco, holy guacamole!)
I didn’t realize that the buses are actually privately owned and that they drive all day until they make enough money to feed their families. He said that the drivers get soooo happy when they see a tour group coming their way, as there are usually around 20 people taking the tour.
On the top of the mountain! The entire way down was covered with beautiful street art that made almost all of us trip as we were walking down the stairs. Chile, you so pretty! 🇨🇱
The early tour led us to the highest points of the city, which was so cool! Another nice solo gal and I had lunch in the middle of the main touristy street. This was where I smelled tear gas in the street. I was shocked that the police would spray (at all of course, but also) in a main touristy area. I suddenly realized how sheltered I was and how lucky that I didn’t automatically recognize that smell.
My second tour wasn’t nearly as enrapturing as the first. The tour guide was really pretty and very chatty – her English was amaaaazing – but she had a LOT of information that might have been interesting for her, but perhaps not so much for the rest of us. Any who, she took us to the street art area (I thought we’d already found it – NOPE!) and we explored all the murals and talked about the similar drawings and important artist. I loved this piano staircase!!!
That, of course, was an insta-model’s dream, but we managed to get some pictures on it before the bright, skin tight dresses returned from fixing their hair and makeup. There were such cute little kids around, also! Another stunning place was the park with mosaic tiles and mirrors, decorating this tiny part of one of the hills. Hearts and rainbows were everywhere, Lisa Frank would have been so proud.
My last bit of Valparaíso, Chile. It was so beautiful there and I had some delicious pastries from a local baker that was two cookies with caramel in the middle entirely covered in milk chocolate. It was soooo good and apparently something they eat everyday in these hills. I’m jealous and I want to move in 🤣 On the way down the hills, there were beautiful murals on every building. Our guide said that they were usually hired artists bc bright and inspiring murals were less likely to be spray painted over by local teenagers, and a heck of a lot less likely to be spray painted than a blank white wall.
Our 3 hour tour went 45 mins longer than expected, so that ended up being a realllllly long tour, but we saw the beautiful insta-fab red door, which was a door to a local cooking class location, but everyone only knows it as the red door of Valparaíso haha. This area had cool sidewalks, clearly lower so that the rain had somewhere to go, but it was such an interesting look. Street art was everywhere, large beautiful faves with poofy hair and bright colors, usually posed in romantic situations – smooching on a bench or enraptured in an enchanting mystical hug. Often, their faces were bright blue or green. The street art here is in a whole other level. 😍
A local older guy with long, wavy hair was playing guitar on the dusty, touristy path. He played a traditional song and our whole group laughed and clapped along. On the way down the mountain, I passed two floofy kitties guarding one of the big fancy houses, and when a dog approached, both kitties hissed and defended their bright green lawn. The doggie retreated. There were also cats on every windowsill. It was comforting.
I got to the bus with 9 minutes to spare, and grabbed a veggie burrito with garlic aioli and it was freaking delicious for the 1.5hr ride back to Santiago.