Valparaíso

Valpo

A few days in Santiago began to eat into our budget so we packed up and headed 120km northwest of the city to Valparaíso.  A Unesco World Heritage Site and the cultural capital of Chile, Valparaíso is beautiful from a distance.  An old port city built on the edge of the water with hills of brightly painted houses running right into the ocean.  Up close the city is slightly less attractive with tangled wires, debris and a congested center detracting from it’s charm.grafitti 1  Valparaíso has fifteen funiculars, or wooden elevators, that connect the residential hills to the lower downtown area.  Built between 1883-1914 they are still in use today.  Graffiti is everywhere, some of it very impressive.  Our second day in Valparaíso we walked 9km along the coast to the beach resort of Viña del Mar.  A popular summer and weekend destination for Santiago residents, Viña del Mar’s palm-fringed boulevards, manicured gardens, grand mansions and high-rise buildings contrast sharply with neighboring Valparaíso.

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