Valparaiso was recommended to me by Nhat whom I met in La Paz. It is only 2 hours from Santiago de Chile, located by the coast. The city principle economic activities are shipping, petroleum refining and tourism. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. I was surprised by the beauty of this town.
My host-Rodrigo and his family were extremely friendly, his parent lives by the central and when I arrived I was welcome with a delicious lunch. His mom made Cazuela de pollo, a typical Chilean soup with potato, rice, chicken, a piece of corn, and a slice of lime.
I met another couchsurfer-Sergio from Santiago de Chile who was visiting Valparaiso for the day. We had a great time together, visiting the weekend antique market, taking the wooden lift or “ascensor” up the hill, walking through all the small street and admiring all the graffiti on the wall and steps, enjoying a beer by the balcony overseeing the town and sea, had a delicious seafood lunch at the market and took a boat ride in the bay. I took tons of photos of graffiti on the wall, really like them maybe because it is rare in Malaysia or Singapore, everyone was unique and colorful.
I also visited Vina del Mar, a beach town 20mins from Valparaiso. The beach is packed with summer holidayers and umbrellas. Not pretty at all. Here it has a different vibe, a modem town with condos and stretch of restaurants by the sea, looks more classy and expensive.
I was planning to go to Pucon from Valparaiso but Sergio told me about this Salsa school in Santiago de Chile which I couldn’t resist so I went back to Santiago for another day. Sergio hosted me and we had fun dancing salsa and celebrating his birthday.
After Santiago, I left for Pucon, a beautiful town by Lake Villarrica and Volcan Villarrica.
Bus from Valparaiso to Santiago de Chile – P4000
Cable car – P300 one way