Chile and Patagonia 2016 – Valparaiso

Date Explored: January 29th

This was our third day with Antonio from Private Tours Chile. After our wine tour ended on the 28th, he drove us to Valparaiso on the Pacific Ocean. About seventy miles from Santiago, Valparaiso is a popular embarkation point for cruise ships traveling around South America. Valparaiso is one of those cool cities you could get lost in for days. We had one full night and morning of exploring the twisty narrow streets on the hillside before proceeding to Vina del Mar and then winding up back in Santiago for our next leg to Easter Island.

In Valparaiso, we stayed at The Fauna, a funky boutique hotel in a fantastic location for walking around. No air conditioning, but if you pack earplugs and open the windows you’ll be fine. The staff was great about allowing us to move our luggage from two rooms into one in the morning until we returned from our walking tour.

Valparaiso has a LOT of street art. It’s one of the city’s charms. It’s a vibrant, colorful place worth a longer visit than one night. I took so many pictures and have found it difficult paring them down, so I’m posting over two days. My pictures are great (if I do say so myself), but for an overall impression of the city do a browser search for Valparaiso “images.” You’ll see more fantastic examples of the graffiti.

Valpar_1

I snapped this mural from the open window of our room. My husband and I had a room directly across from the reception desk. I can’t remember the room number, but it was large and had amazing views. Our companions were in a room the same size on the lowest level. The Fauna only has a couple of rooms per floor.

After settling in our rooms, we walked around on our own and pretty quickly came across this graffiti.

After settling in our rooms the previous night, we walked around on our own and pretty quickly came across this graffiti. I love how this mural curves with the building.

A funky doorway.

A funky doorway.

We didn't know what we were doing. So it was cool to pop around a corner and see kids and moms sliding down these ramps.

We didn’t know what we were doing. So it was cool to pop around a corner and see kids and moms sliding down these ramps.

We didn’t “dine out” in Valparaiso. We pretty much snacked in the touring van and then ate upon our return to Santiago. But we did search for bank machines in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. The Canadian dollar was in the toilet during our trip, improving a little bit while we were there, but overall our experience was that Chile was pretty darn expensive for tourists. Our bank at home has a presence in Chile. We did find a branch in Vina del Mar on the 29th, but it was closed until 3 p.m. and we had to get moving.

Travel Tip! We took $1000 CDN in Chilean pesos purchased before the trip per couple and figured we’d handle the rest of our withdrawals through ABMs. I would suggest, if you are comfortable doing so, to take more Chilean pesos bought from your bank at home than you think necessary (remember, Canadian dollar in the toilet). And charge to your credit card when you can. I say this because, unless we happened upon a bank in our bank’s network (and in four weeks we came across ONE), our bank at home charged us $5 per transaction. That sounds acceptable, but the Chilean banks (those which accepted our cards, like Santander–the more local the bank, the less chance we could even use our cards) not only limited withdrawals to an amount approximating $200 CDN per transaction but then charged a tax on top that went to the Chilean government. Between Canadian bank charges and the Chilean tax on small withdrawals, we wound up paying $10-$15 CDN every time we took out money (it was even worse in Argentina, because the withdrawal threshold there was even lower).

But we were on holiday and felt lucky that some banks accepted our cards at all. Any money is better than no money, after all (which was our experience in Ecuador four years ago when only one of the four of us had a bank card that was permitted to withdraw).

More Valparaiso street art next post!

2 Responses to “Chile and Patagonia 2016 – Valparaiso”

  1. Dawn Robirtis Says:

    Love your pictures of the graffiti Cindy. Artists are everywhere in every way.

  2. Cindy Says:

    Thank you. I totally agree!