When people talk about Valparaiso, or Valpo as the locals call the town, people talk about the hills. The architecture is mostly colonial, but there’re also more modern houses mixed with shacks, where the poorest live, there’re gorgeous renovated, colorful houses next to worn down buildings. Hostels and boutique hotels, luxurious restaurants with an amazing view and small typical chilean fast food places, there’s something for everyone. And of course, it’s public space take over heaven! The hills are covered in murals and art, Valparaiso has a tradition of painting houses in bright colors, something that lately has translated into an amazing mix of traditional murals, graff, street art and everything in between!
If you’re staying in the Valparaiso flats you need to take an elevator to get up the hills. They only cost 100 pesos, one way, and you can easily walk down. In fact, you should walk down, slowly covering all the small alleys and streets to get the full Valparaiso experience! A good starting point could be the elevator (ascensor) El Peral, it’s two block from Plaza Sotomayor and it gets you about halfway up Cerro Alegre.
Other elevators that are functioning are Ascensor San Agustín on Calle Tómas Ramos, Ascensor Concepcion that gets you to Cerro Concepcion and Ascensor Barón on the other end of Valpo. The Ascensor Espiritu Santo on the street Aldunate is supposed to be great but it was closed for repairs when I visited.
Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion are pretty much the same, only divided by name on the map, you can walk between them, and you should, because it’s breathtaking! Don’t miss the Plazuela San Luis, Avenida Alemania, Paseo Yugoslavo or the street Almirante Montt. For food I recommend the Almacen Nacional on Almirante Monnt 402, charming restaurant with really good food. They open for almuerzo (lunch) and dinner, but are closed in-between. A little more pricey than the simpler places downtown but so worth it!
If you’r in to that sort of thing, check out the cemeteries. The Cementerio Disidientes gives you an amazing view of Valparaiso and all the street art and graff on the sides of the hills!
The street Templeman is also a must see, maybe the most charming place in all of Valpo! On Templeman 645 is a cozy hostel/café called Casa Kultour, don’t miss it! All over the hills in Valpo you’ll find hostels, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafés, you’ll never go hungry here. People are super friendly, and they will help you with everything you need if you are as friendly back, even if they don’t speak perfect english they’ll always try. One more proof of the positive vibe that oozes in Chile, enjoy!