Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are the cultural heart of Chile. Valparaíso sits on the Chilean coast, rising up from the harbor like an amphitheater. It’s the third-largest metropolitan area in Chile. The city is only 75 miles northwest of the Chilean capital of Santiago. Before the Panama Canal was built in 1914, Valparaïso was a major port of call and with its history, art, food, and a great beach for swimming, everyone can find something to do in the city. Chile is, of course, in the southern hemisphere so their seasons are reversed.
The city’s dramatic hills can be climbed on foot or enjoyed via one of the many funiculars which were originally built between 1883 and 1916, but in the city nowadays there are only 8 that are still in use. It’s the easiest and fastest way to move between many Cerros (hills) even though they may seem a bit scary. Most famous funiculars in the city are Ascensor Espiritu Santo, Ascensor Concepcion, and Ascensor El Peral.
Valparaiso has been called one large street art museum with hundreds of murals, mosaics, and sculptures. Spend a day roaming along intimate cobblestone streets discovering colorful and groovy murals. The historic center of Valparaíso is filled with murals and art installations. Valparaíso is considered one of South America’s graffiti capitals with neighborhoods like Cerro Bellavista or Beautiful View Hill, which are known as the best locations.
Valparaíso has its own Caleta Portales, a fishing town where you can go to taste the delicious dishes prepared in the restaurants that surround it. Or spend a day touring Viña del Mar and lounging on the beaches of Playa el Sol or Playa de los Cañones in Viña, play volleyball, read and enjoy a quick plunge in the cold water of the Pacific.
Take a wine tour Casablanca Valley which is thirty minutes to the south. It is now the fastest-growing wine region in the entire country. Its proximity to the ocean ensures cooler nights and hotter days. Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are widely regarded as being the best in Chile. Pino noir and syrah, in particular, are worthy of a sample in the higher sections of the valley. The excellent in-house restaurant is a great place to line the stomach before hitting the other vineyards.