Valparaiso is a small town about 100 km from Santiago. While the distance is not much, the vibe of the city is absolutely different from Santiago. Valparaiso is much more artsy & laid back. While many people choose to stay here for a night or two, we opted to do a day trip from Santiago. In my opinion, day trip is perfect for this city and you would be able to do justice to the attractions by spending about 5-7 hours here.
How to reach Valparaiso
There are almost 2 dozen bus departures from Santiago to Valparaiso. In the morning, we just walked down to Central bus station and bought 2 return tickets on TurBus. As in rest of Latin America, buses are comfortable and have all the amenities you need (On-board Toilet, footrest, AC, WiFi at times!!) It’s a two hour ride on the express way. Keep your eyes open as there are few lovely vineyards on the way. At Valparaiso, the bus station is in city center only, and one can walk to pretty much everywhere in the town.
What to Do at Valparaiso
We were lucky that we undertook this journey on a Sunday. There was a carnival going on in the city and main avenues were blocked off for vehicular traffic. The whole town was in a party mode. Street competitions, acrobatics, food trucks etc. were out on the roads.
By the time we reached city centre, we were famished. When in Valparaiso, do not miss the awesome culinary concoction called ‘Chorrillana’. It is a huge bed of fries topped with pork sausages, strips of beef & pork , fried onions and couple of fried eggs to top it all off. We shared a plate of Chorrillana and were all set for the cobbled & hilly Valparaiso.
As the city is built on hills, there is a system called Acensors across the city. Acensors are nothing but passenger trolleys in operation since late 1800s to ferry people up the steep slopes. It’s the main attraction of this city. We walked till Ascensor Concepcion,the main one here and took a one way ride. Costing only INR 30 one way it is one hell of a deal. Once we got off, we were smack in the middle of street art of Valparaiso. We criss-crossed the cobbled slopes and kept on discovering graffiti at every turn & corner. The amateur photographer in us went berserk. After spending couple of hours and burning all the calories of Chorrillana, we descended and took a long walk at the water front on our way back to bus station.
We finally took the 5 pm bus back to Santiago and reached apartment at 7:30 p.m.
- No need to pre book bus tickets from Santiago. There is enough availability
- While we did a day trip, there are enough options to stay at Valparaiso.
- Have a light breakfast and gorge on Chorrillana. But order for one person only as portion size is huge
- There is a beautiful coastal town of Vina Del Mar, next to Valparaiso. Direct train connectivity from Valparaiso is there. Can spend a day or two there.
- If your itinerary permits, plan this day trip on Sunday and enjoy the town carnival as well.