We decided to take a day trip out to the seaside and visit the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar.
Valparaiso is known for its colourful clifftop houses which cling to the numerous ‘cerros’ (hills) that make up the city. The town is also know for its bohemian atmosphere, street art, numerous steep hillside funiculars and its popularity with famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Vine Del Mar is very different by contrast – more affluent, very flat, modern and popular in the summer with Chilean day trippers. It is also the 4th largest city in Chile!
We looked forward to seeing their contrasts and to see some Chilean life outside the country’s capital city.
First stop Valparaiso!
In such beautiful surroundings the most fun things was taking a (very scary) funicular up to the top of Cerro Concepcion and ambling through the jumbled, maze-like streets.
The transport around the city felt like you had stepped back in time. Beautiful but we did fear for our lives more than once!
Probably the most notable thing about Valapariso though is its fantastic array of street art. This is very popular in Santiago as well, but the quality and quantity of the art – especially on the cerros – was mindblowing in Valparaiso. Here is a very small selection!
We then caught a coastal light railway further north to Vina Del Mar. It certainly was a contrast! Highrises by the sea and even an area called ‘Benidorm’! The wide boulevards and modern buildings and transport a real contrast to Vina Del Mar’s nearby neighbour.
However, Vine Del Mar did provide us with some great views of some pretty prehistoric looking birdlife!
After an interesting but increasingly cold Pacific walk there was time for a quick Chilean beer and to watch some Chilean surfers brave the cold waves before heading back to Santiago.