Dramatic and at times chaotic but always colourful and exciting, Valparaiso - often called Valpo - spreads over a hilly seaside landscape. The small flat area is home to many of the city's shops and restaurants, and from there funiculars (ascensores) and steep, winding paths and roads transport visitors and residents amongst the bright houses and bohemian neighbourhoods. It is a place that charms with its quirkiness and offers surprises around every corner.
Whether you're just passing through on your way to the ship or sticking around for a few days, there are a few things you shouldn't miss while in Valparaiso. The Ascensor ConcepciÃ³n is one of these, the city's oldest elevator, along with the Mirador Diego Portales viewpoint for spectacular views over the colourful hills and the â€œMuseo a Cielo Abiertoâ€ or open-air museum, consisting of 20 gorgeous murals dotted throughout the lower slopes of the cerro Bellavista.
Valparaiso cruise lines and destinations
There is plenty of choice for anyone thinking of a cruise out of Valparaiso. It's not just the biggest mainstream lines such as Royal Caribbean and Princess which cruise from there - you can also experience the luxurious service and amenities of the premium Celebrity Cruises, or the traditional and low-key atmosphere of a Holland America Line cruise. The P&O cruise line and Carnival cruise line also pass through the area every so often.
Many of the cruises departing Valparaiso head south towards Punta Arenas and around Cape Horn, some visiting the beautiful Chilean Fjords along the way - they then continue up the eastern coast of South America to finish in Argentina or Brazil. Some leave Valparaiso and go north, visiting more ports in Chile as well as some in Peru and Ecuador. These may continue on to Mexico and the United States or pass through the Panama Canal into the Caribbean.
Valparaiso cruise port
Cruise ships visiting or departing from Valparaiso dock in the port and passengers are transferred to the Terminale de Pasajeros (Passenger Terminal) two kilometres away in shuttle buses. The terminal has facilities including bathrooms, waiting areas, computer terminals, payphones and a cafeteria.
The terminal is within walking distance of town, in the flat waterfront area. The sister city of Vina del Mar is a short cab ride away. The major city and travel hub of Santiago is about 90 minutes away, and there are many public buses between the two places, as well as transfers arrangeable through the cruise lines and private companies.