Don’t mind the stench of urine on the streets… or the littered beer cans and wine bottles… or the fact that the place is a virtual ghost town. This is January 1st: the aftermath of ringing in the New Year with one of Latin America’s biggest fireworks shows and all-night partying (no kidding because the parties didn’t start hopping until 3am). Unfortunately (or fortunately?), we didn’t get to experience the excitement for ourselves. Hostel rates were through the roof for New Year’s Eve in Valparaiso, so we spent the night in Santiago and bused in the next morning.
Valparaiso, or Valpo as it’s affectionately nicknamed, is a historically significant seaport town and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003. It’s known for its bohemian culture, brightly colored houses and beautiful street art. There aren’t any specific tourist attractions per se, other than poet Pablo Neurda’s house, but the draw is to blissfully wander the erratic maze of hilly streets and soak in the ambiance. We undeniably loved our four days in Valpo! The food here was also fantastic, joining the ranks of Krakow and Puerto Varas as one of our favorite cities to eat out.
If you’re planning a visit here, we highly recommend staying at Hostal Kairos. The family of four who run this place were oh so warm and hospitable. We even had a room that evoked feelings of being in a charming flat in Paris (minus any views of the Eiffel Tower, of course).