4 awesome things you can only see in Valparaiso

Valparaiso is the most colorful city of Chile's coast. It has magnificent graffiti art. Here are 4 reasons to put Valparaiso on top of your bucket list.

Valparaiso, the colorful pearl of the Chilean coast. It is famous for its magnificent graffiti street art and poetic atmosphere. With only a two hour busride from Santiago to Valparaiso, this laidback city makes an excellent daytrip. Dotted with hipster bars, packed with arts and craft shops and overlooking the Chilean coast. Excited to visit this wonderful place? We’ll seduce you even more with these 4 reasons to put Valparaiso immediately on top of your bucket list.

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See the first washing machine ever used in the city

Pay tribute to the first washing machine ever used in the city! It certainly is prove that the people of Valparaiso were very inventive. The first washing machine they used was actually situated in the middle of the streets. When you see a steep alley with stairs and a slide next to it, pay attention, because you are looking at the ancient washing machine of  Valparaiso. Water was running down from the top of the stairs all the way down. Women gathered here, had a seat and washed their laundry by sharing the water that ran down from the top. Really a perfect example of the social atmosphere this city breathes.

Tip: Make sure you sit at the top of the staircase if you want clean clothes. The more you are at the bottom, the more the water is already dirty from people’s clothes above you.

Graffiti as freedom of speech

Valparaiso is a giant canvas, and graffiti is the art form.

Valparaiso is famous for its beautiful graffiti and street art. It’s a very colorful city and that’s due to their open minded views about street art and graffiti. In Valparaiso you don’t need a license to paint your graffiti art on buildings. Whereas in most countries it is forbidden by law to paint on walls, in Valparaiso the only thing you need is the permission of the owner. If you have the house owner backing you up, no government or law can hold you back.

4 awesome things to do in Valparaiso Chile - Hippies and happies graffiti
We are not hippies, we are happies (by ART + BELIEVE)

That’s why the city is so lively and interesting. You never know what gem you’ll find around the corner.

The artwork and its simple beauty speaks for itself. According to the artists it captivates the colour, vibrancy and the philosophy of the Chilean people today, now free of dictatorship.

Where to find it? Next to Casa Partimonio, at Templeman 672.

Many graffiti paintings in Valparaiso have a political or social meaning

Valparaiso was originally established as a harbour city. The fishing industry really thrived here during the 20th century. For the citizens fishing was their most important economic income. But as always, big multinationals wanted a share of the revenue. Big fishing boats tried to claim their territory on the seafront of Valparaiso. And unfortunately, this had a huge impact on the ecosystem of the sea. Luckily, Valparaiso’s government and local fishermen fought back. They managed to enforce a law that only 1/3th of the sea could be used by big multinationals. This artwork illustrates this law: All the fish managed to escape the nets and exploitation of big fishing boats.

blog photo valparaiso graffiti political
Graffiti with political statements in the streets of Valparaiso

Add two famous artist to your graffiti knowledge

Inti Castro

Inti castro (street artist biography) is famous for his huge paintings. He was born in Valparaiso and is now decorating big cities walls all over the world. Even the Chinese government asked him to paint some buildings in big metropolitan cities. But how can you recognise that it is an “Inti castro” painting? Inti always uses bright colours with a warm orange glow, the murals often contain themes of life, death, ancient religion and Christianity.

Mural graffiti art of Inti Castro in Chile Valparaiso
Graffiti art of Inti Castro in Valparaiso

So next time you are wandering around the streets of Valparaiso you certainly can impress your friends by identifying some of his paintings.

Un Kolor Distinto

The city hall hired this crew to pay tribute to the artist Lukas. Lukas took chilean sayings and expressions and drew them. Cynthia and Sammy, the couple that forms Un Kolor Distinto decorated a parc and made a tribute to the artist by turning the drawings of his book into streetart. The paintings of Un Kolor Distinto are very similar to the original illustrations of Lukas.

Want more information on Valpo street art? Travel blogger Lauren did an excellent job on summarizing the top murals in Valparaiso. Complete with descriptions and a map to fuel your artsy wanderlust.

Red bull valparaíso cerro abajo (Downhill BMX festival Valparaiso)

Once in a year BMX fanatics gather to show their skills at the hills of Valparaiso. A really spectacular and thrilling sighting. Participating in this competition needs some craziness in our opinion, because the streets in Valpo can be really steep. We would recommend just to go and watch the others going down.

We haven’t seen it by our own eyes but we heard it’s an amazing and exciting festival. The highlight of the race is always the finish. They take out a window of a building so the BMX racers can finish with a jump through the building and land on the main square. Simply spectacular. Next year they will add a ring of fire to the end… just kidding!

Mil Tambores, celebrate the start of spring

If you’re visiting Valparaiso at the beginning of October, then you’re in for a treat. The first weekend of October transforms the city in a crazy festival, called “Mil Tambores”. It symbolizes the transition from winter to spring. In European countries festivities would be food trucks, concerts and markets. But not in Valparaiso.

The city turns into a crazy and energetic carnival with lusty dancers, lots of drinks and painted bodies. Time to shake your clothes off and wave to the sun if you ask the Chileans!

Where to stay in Valparaiso?

Below we give you our favorite places to stay in Valparaiso.

Casa California Guesthouse

The wonderful Casa California Guesthouse offers tasteful rooms, some have a terrace with views over Valparaiso. There is also a garden, shared lounge and bar. This guesthouse is very well located and the owners welcome you with open arms.

Check availability and prices on BOOKING

booking valparaiso where to stay casa california guesthouse room
booking valparaiso where to stay chile casa california guesthouse room bathroom

Hotel Boutique 17

The beautiful Hotel Boutique 17 offers elegant rooms with excellent views. All rooms have a private bathroom and some rooms have a private balcony that overlook the ocean or the hills of Valparaiso. The location of this hotel is excellent, as the bus terminal is only 4 kilometers away. Also the funicular that you can use to explore Valparaiso is close by.

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valparaiso chile where to stay hotel boutique 17 view
where to stay valparaiso chile booking room hotel boutique 17

Hotel Boutique Acontraluz

The Hotel Boutique Acontraluz is located in one of the main tourist areas of Valparaiso! The rooms are nicely decorated and all have a modern private bathroom. There is a beautiful terrace on the top floor of the hotel where you can watch the sun set.

Check availability and prices on BOOKING

booking where to stay in Valparaiso chile hotel boutique Acontraluz room
booking where to stay in Valparaiso chile hotel boutique Acontraluz bathroom

icon read on Want to discover more about Chile? Then read these posts:

This is why Lonely planet chose Chile as number 1 destination for 2018
5 top things to do in the Elqui valley in Chile
How to get from Santiago to Valparaiso by bus and metro

Happy travels!

Matthias and Mieke

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