Day 1 - Puerto Valparaíso (Chile)



Valparaiso, the port city for Santiago and home to the Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, is a charming resort surrounded by steep hills which make it an authentic amphitheater. Spanish colonial mansions and baronial buildings contrast the architecture of this important city.

Lieutenant Juan de Saavedra is credited as the founder of Valparaiso in 1536. The Spanish Crown established a town council in 1791, but it was not until 1802, that Valparaiso officially became a city. After Valparaiso’s independence, British and North Americans began establishing themselves throughout the area. It was the foreigners that created a boom in commerce by trading in goods and merchandise such as boxes, iron-bars and timber to name a few. By the mid 1800’s Valparaiso’s population grew to 55,000, which was brought on by the demand for Chilean wheat. By the late 1800’s the city's population increased to over 100,000, due in part to the completion of the railroad from Santiago. Valparaiso’s major industries are mining, fruit growing and food processing plants. The 2nd largest city in Chile is Valparaiso, with a population of 300,000. 



De la Matriz Church
Located on Bustamante Street in the midst of Valparaiso’s oldest neighborhood, the "Iglesia de la Matriz" contains a 17th century carving of Jesus on the cross, which was donated by the king and queen of Spain. The building was constructed in 1842.

Naval and Maritime Museum
Located at the top of the Ascensor Artillería, this "Museo Naval y Marítimo" features many exhibits chronicling the history of Valparaiso as a premier port and naval base.

Artilleria Elevator
The city is built on steep mountains facing the bay, so there are funicular elevators all around. A famous cable car -the Artilleria Elevator- rides from the old customs building to the Paseo 21 de Mayo, a wide, tree-line balcony, cut in to the cliff. This area, one of Valparaiso’s classiest neighborhoods, affords the best view over the surrounding city and port.

Open-Air Museum
This "museo a cielo abierto" features a series of colorful wall murals lining the interconnecting paths, stairs and streets. The exhibition begins on Aldunate Street and rises up the steep hillside. Visitors may wish to ride the Ascensor Espíritu Santo (Elevator of the Holy Spirit) back to the base of the hill, or from the base to the summit, to view the museum in reverse.

Viña del Mar
This attractive coastal resort, just 6 miles north of Valparaiso, is the city’s beautiful twin. Wide tree-lined avenues and immaculate gardens surround expensive hotels, high-class restaurants and a Monte Carlo-style casino, that reside in this fashionable "Vineyard of the Sea".


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