Our next stop after Santa Cruz was Valparaiso. There is no direct bus from Santa Cruz to Valparaiso so you must change buses in Santiago. From Santiago’s bus terminal, we purchased tickets to Valparaiso on TUR-BUS for two tickets at 8,000 pesos for 2 tickets, or ~$13 USD. The ride was approximately 2 hours and buses run throughout the day. The return ticket was 7,200 pesos, or ~$12 USD. Shop around! Prices at each booth vary slightly in price.
Valparaiso grew on us in the short time we were there. Unfortunately, we heard several times that if you venture beyond the tourist areas, it could be quite dangerous. So most people spend their days within the upper hills area, including Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre. Surprisingly, in two days, we found quite a few places to take in and enjoy this artsy, quirky city. We have some good recommendations to share.
We stayed at Hostal Museo Puerta Escondida, which was more of a bed and breakfast. We highly recommend this accommodation due to its really nice breakfast, clean modern rooms, and excellent location. We paid $77 USD per night.
Since our accommodations here were slightly pricey, it helped that one of the best ways to take in the city was a free walking tour (tips suggested). Tours 4 Tips is the number one activity on Trip Advisor. The four hour tour was nice because it brings to life all the quirky tourist points of the city. It also helps to enter some of the less touristy areas safely with a large group of people. We were provided the history of the plazas and port. You can ride a few of the funiculars and the old electric trolley free as part of the tour. Visitors can get the stories behind the murals and artwork that literally blanket the city. Solo travelers can also have an opportunity to meet and mingle with some fellow travelers too.
🍴We visited two restaurants for dinner. La Concepcion and Fauna. We tried La Concepcion for the view of the ocean and port. Although it was expensive fine dining, we were not happy with our overall experience. Since we didn’t have a reservation, they seated us at a crummy table and we sat in the corner as all the tables with a view went unused until late in the evening. The waiter was also rudely commanding that we drink a bottle of Pinto Noir from a chiller even though it was quite a cool evening. Not recommended.
However, we enjoyed the more budget friendly Fauna. We ordered Pisco sours made from Chilean Pisco at 2,500 pesos ($ 4 USD) and beers at 2,200 each ($3.50 USD). You can grab some great ceviche or a sandwich for around $12-15 USD each and the views of the hills are possibly even more magical than the port.
💰Best Kept Budget Savvy Secret?
Antonia Wine Boutique is a hidden gem. Continue walking past Fauna Restaurant, and head down the stairs. The kids at heart will opt to take the mural slide down. For 3,000 pesos ($5 USD) per glass, the staff asks your wine preferences, allows you to sample, then pours you a hearty glass of wine. Jazz plays in the background and the outdoor seating has a spectacular view of the twinkling lights of the city. The best part of all? We were served a large complimentary cheese and nut platter.
Valparaiso was a great city to conclude our time in South America. Two nights was definitely enough to explore the city.
We made the day a little more fun by challenging one another in or own photo competition. (It was a great way to show some photos with our followers!)