If you love street art, you will lose your mind over Valparaiso Chile. This small port city on the route of many cruise lines touring South America is worth a couple night’s stay (or at least a shore excursion). This is exactly what my husband and I did at the conclusion of out 2016 South American cruise.
This city is gritty. Aside from the picturesque colorful houses on the hill and its prolific street art, I can’t think of a reason to visit the city often referred to as simply Valpo. However, it apparently does have some extremely beautiful beach communities just outside the city, but we didn’t get there. Despite its lack of culture and in my opinion unexciting food, I still really enjoyed it. I would go back again for the art alone. If you enjoy public art, I think you will love it too.Valparaiso Chile is amazing if you love street art and grit!! Click To Tweet
Take a Tour
Artwork is everywhere you look. Some of it quite impressive. Some not much more than mere vandalism. But I say, “take the good with the bad.” There are some good walking tours (great for a shore excursion) of the street art. We did one with Tours4Tips. As the name implies you pay only what you think the tour is worth in the form of a tip. Our guide was Ignacio. I thought he did an excellent tour and he knew graffiti started in Philadelphia Pennsylvania near where I grew up. He gets bonus points for this. In addition, he provided other information not related to art and provided context.
If you choose not to take a formalized tour I recommend you begin your exploration at the top of the hill near Pablo Neruda’s home, La Sebastiana Museo de Pablo Neruda. One good reason for this is you will be walking down the hill rather than up it. This is also a good reference point. Additionally, I recommend a visit to La Sebastiana. It’s pretty quirky.
From here head down Hector Calvo past the Parroquia (Parrish. A big church on the right). Continue on to the Abierto Cielo (this is the open-air art museum). Keep your eyes open and a map handy because it is easy to miss among all the other artwork. Street art spreads beyond this area, I mention it and give you directions because you will find a higher concentration of it in this area than anywhere else in Valpo.
Wherever you start, I promise, you won’t know where to look first. There is so much eye-candy along the way it is overwhelming.