Valparaiso is one of those places that literally went for decades as a relatively unnoticed city on the planet, even by its own country’s residents. A coastal city in central Chile and the capital of the Valparaiso Region, Valparaiso has actually been a fairly important political center for years because of its housing the National Congress, despite Santiago being the official capital, but it has only been in recent years that the city has expanded its horizons and transformed into a major destination for travelers from around the globe, as well as for Chilean residents. Perhaps it was the designation of the city as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, or perhaps it was the increasing economic importance of the city due to its location on the coast and as a harbor, or perhaps it is the surrounding countryside that earned the city its literal name, which translates to “Paradise Valley”. All that really matters is that Valparaiso is now one of the most vibrant hotspots in Chile, and definitely a must-see destination.
Valparaiso has been described by international sailors as both “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific” in its day, and while its importance as a port was drastically reduced with the introduction of the Panama Canal, its former glory days are finally beginning to return. One of the most unique aspects of the city itself is the cable cars which connect the harbor to the city build on the hills surrounding, built right up the steep inclines of the hills, and from the picturesque hills that rise sharply behind the city to form a backdrop against the ocean to the unique architecture and the veritable labyrinth of cobblestone streets and alleys to the culture of its people, Valparaiso is unlike any other place on Earth. Between the breathtaking vistas offered from the hills themselves to the cultural immersion wandering the streets of the city or simply basking in the sun on one of the beaches, Valparaiso is the perfect Chilean destination.
Located just north of Valparaiso, Vina del Mar is a beach resort town with Chilean coastal character. Littered with restaurants and bars, this rocky Pacific coast town seems to say - casual …