With a blue collar population of over 300,000, Valparaiso is Chile’s oldest city. Sometimes referred to as “Little San Francisco” due to its hilly streets, the city was once a popular stopover for ships traversing the Straits of Magellan between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its strong architectural and cultural history.
How to Get to Valparaiso
Your cruise ship will dock at Muelle Prat, which is within easy walking distance of town. If you prefer not to walk, you can catch a train to the city from the nearby Baron Train Station or grab a metered taxi.
One Day in Valparaiso
A visit to Valparaiso is more about soaking up the ambiance than it is about visiting any particular sites. Go at a relaxed pace and don’t be afraid to wander and get a little lost in this bohemian seaside town.
You can start your visit by riding the funicular up Valparaiso’s steep hills to Paseo 21 de Mayo to enjoy sweeping views of the city and the port. If you have an interest in naval history, don’t miss the Naval Maritime Museum while you’re up there. Spend some time gazing at murals painted by notable Chilean artists in the Cielo Abierto Museum, and then head back down to the center.
Explore the old section of Valparaiso, taking in the colonial mansions and churches, particularly along Serrano Street. After lunch, take the train to Valparaiso’s sister city, Vina del Mar. There, relax on the beach, stroll along the boardwalk or check out the town’s chic boutiques or lively crafts fair.
Be sure to save some time to explore the markets surrounding the pier in Valparaiso on your way back to your ship in the evening.
The official language of Chile is Spanish, but Portuguese is commonly spoken around Valparaiso. The currency is the Chilean peso. Opened just a few years ago, the modern port facility offers a variety of services ranging from conference facilities to shops and cafes.