lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014


Polanco Graffestival, Chile’s first festival for street artists, transformed the community of Cerro Polanco into Valparaíso’s newest tourist attraction.

Street artists from around Chile and Latin America converged on Valparaíso in November 2012 to transform a lower economic neighborhood into the city’s newest travel destination.

Cerro Polanco already stands out for having the city’s only vertical ascensor, the UNESCO World Heritagelisted trolley cars that carry commuters up Valparaíso’s colorful hills, or cerros. But few tourists go beyond the lookout of the distinctive tower-shaped Ascensor Polanco – which offers one of the most commanding views of port city – preferring instead to wander the streets of the more affluent areas of Cerro Alegre and Concepción.

That’s set to change now, thanks to Chile’s first ever street art festival, the Polanco Graffestival, 2012.

Drawing more than 77 artists from all over Chile and Latin America, the three day event saw the creation of more than 30 works of art, literally turning the cerro into an open air gallery, and cementing Valparaíso’s reputationas an international capital of street art.

You get there by taking any bus going to Argentina Avenue and get off at Simpson street. You can tell the driver to leave there. Then just walk towards the hill and you find the entrance ( 150 mts tunnel) of the vertical ascensor. You can also do this tour with Natalislang's extra activities.

miércoles, 1 de octubre de 2014

MIL TAMBORES ( A Thousand Drums) 2014

( Here a video of Mil Tambores carnival last year)

This weekend, October 3th to October 5th, the bohemian port city of Valparaíso will come alive with music, dancers and general revelry in the annual festival of Mil Tambores – a thousand drums.

The "Mil Tambores" (Thousand Drums) Carnival has established itself as a traditional carnival in the port city of the Chilean coast since 1999 as a protest against the apparent lack of public spaces for cultural artistic expression by "Porteños"- people born in Valparaíso.

Today , Valparaíso is a bomb of artistic expressions everywhere 365 days a year. However , this carnival " Mil tambores" remains as a symbol of protest to show the authorities the powerful presence of artists in the city and the strength of their joy, freedom, and dreams about a better society. 

Every year, Mil Tambores is related to a different topic. In 2013 the topic was "Por El Derecho a la Felicidad"(For the right of happiness). This year the theme is " YO CUIDO VALPARAISO" (I take care of Valparaíso) .
Come to experience this beautiful celebration of three days of colors, music and dance. 
Check the full program and schedule  on 
If you need some help or advice about transportation , accomodation, security and more, email to and they will help you FOR FREE. 


jueves, 24 de mayo de 2007

Plaza Echaurren to Torpederas

Summary: This section can be combined with section 1 to make a wonderful 2 ½ hour stroll.

Estimated Walking Time: Approximately 90 minutes.

How to get here: By car, park at the underground parking at Sotomayor Square and rewalk the three blocks back to the Plaza Echaurren. Or take any bus or trolley that says Aduana and ask to be advised at Echaurren Square.
Degree of difficulty: Easy

Tourist infrastructure: Barrio Puerto should not be walked alone at night, but by day is basically safe. Lost of cheap restaurants adorn the market place. The best restaurant on this route is probably the Castillo, at mid route, just up the hill across from the Membrillo wharf. The Castillo offers spectacular views. The Membrillo Wharf offers inexpensive food, folk singers, and an informal atmosphere.

Echaurren Square
One of Valparaíso’ most exquisite urban historical sites, this was originally the beach where Spanish explorers landed when they discovered Valparaíso in the 1500’s. Later, it became a bustling commercial center, with many century-old family-owned businesses as the Echaurren Emporium, the Sethmacher Sausage factory, and the Knop Pharmacy. Other impressive buildings include the Market Place and the Aztoreca Palace.

The Market Place

This dilapidated historical monument is worth visiting to imagine what it must have been like in its prime. The facade was recently restored, but the interior still requires massive investment.
Architecturally, the central stairway is a wonder. From here we continue down Cochrane Street, flanked by sailor’s bars, to the old Plaza Wheelwright, which features the Custom’s House, the Artillery Elevator, and the institutional headquarters of the Port of Valparaíso.

The Custom’s House

Considered Valparaíso’s most valuable example of colonial architecture, the custom house’s most famous functionary was the great Nicaraguan modernist poet Rubén Darío. The architect was the American John Brown Duffin, who made a significant fortune in Valparaíso. At his death, he left a statement, administered by his wife Isabel Caces, which provided for the founding of what would become the Catholic University of Valparaíso. This noble building has survived many earthquakes.

Calle Errázuriz Echaurren

Named after a former Chilean President who died in Valparaíso, this is one of several trademark streets in this section of Playa Ancha Hill. At the pentagon-shaped intersection you will head down Federico Echaurren Street, starting off with a steep slope that seems to slip straight off into the ocean. At the end you will find a fine restaurant, “El Castillo” with an exceptional terrace and several dining environments. If you don’t want to visit the restaurant, you will access, via the public stairway, the Quince (Membrillo) Wharf, returning to ocean level once again.

Membrillo fisherman’s Wharf

This fisherman’s wharf enables visitors to learn about the lifestyle of the artisan fisherman in Chile. These humble, dignified folks preserve centuries-old traditions of working the sea. The restaurant is not elegant but the fish is fresh. This is also an excellent place to witness the colorful Procesión of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fisherman, celebrated every year at the end of June.

Altamirano Street

Valparaíso’s longest current stretch of walkable coastline is named after beloved regional governor who played a key role in the beautification of Valparaíso. In the old days, this was a very fashionable area frequented by elegant trolley buses ad cable cars. Today, the promenade is not good condition, but when the tide is high, the water crashes along the black rocks with impressive fury. As the road turns around Carvallo Beach, you can glimpse the Angels Point Lighthouse, which will serve as your backdrop all the way to Torpederas.

Torpederas Beach

The starting point of the bicentennial route, Torpederas Beach is located at the end of Altamirano Avenue. Currently a hotspot for every day folks, this was once Valparaíso’s most fashionable hang-out for the hobnobbing elite in the 1930’s.

Lord Cochrane Square to Echaurren Square

Summary: This outstanding section is recommended on its own or combined with section 3 to make a circular route that starts and finishes at Plaza Sotomayor. Section 9 features many countless attractions, such as the Turri Clock, El Mercurio, the Bank of London, the Stock Exchange, and many, many others.

Estimated walking time: Approximately 90 minutes.

How to get here: By car, park under the Lord Cochrane Square. Enter the city on Pedro Montt, follow traffic as it sidesteps Victoria Square and merges into Brasil. Near the British Arch, you will begin to see blue signs with arrows indicating how to access the underground parking garage. By bus or trolley, get off at the Líder Supermarket on the corner of Brasil and Bellavista.

Degree of difficulty: Easy

Tourist Infrastructure: Lots. The traditional German eatery, Hamburgo, is highly recommended, but so is the century-old Café Riquet just around the corner on Aníbal Pinto Square. Across from the Riquet, the Cinzano is attractive for late diners, not so much for the food, but for its charm. Also try one of two newer Italian options on Esmeralda Street, Terra Nostra and Michelango. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of history and good eating, and you weren’t tempted by the Hamburgo or the Riquet, try the Old English Bar, across from the Turri Clock. At Prat Pier, the Bote Salvavidas is also excellent.
Finally, you can connect up to some of Valparaíso’s more important hillside restaurants without much detour. The Café Turri can be accessed by riding the Concepción Elevator in front of the Turri Clock and the Colombina makes a nice end to your walk via the Peral Elevator off Plaza Sotomayor.

Lord Cochrane Civic Plaza

Brasil Avenue ends at Regional Government Headquarters, in a tiny trapezoidal space now known as the Lord Cochrane Civic Park. This is Valparaíso’s newest public space, dedicated two years ago. Still, during that short period the area has consolidated itself as an important social and cultural space. The Regional government often sponsors book fairs, art expos, concerts, theater and other events. The plaza is bordered on one side by O’Higgins Street, lined with many handsome facades and several notable restaurants, including the legendary Hamburgo.

Aníbal Pinto Plaza

From O’Higgins Street we connect to the Aníbal Pinto Plaza. Considered a national historic district in its own right, this charming little plaza serves as entry into the financial district.
The earliest urban developers in Valparaíso used two lines to build their streets: the coast line and the edge of the hills. As the city grew, it became evident it would be hard to make the two lines meet. Hence, this plaza was designed as the meeting point, hence “The Plaza of Order.” The plaza was renamed at the death of Aníbal Pinto, the Chilean President who presided during the War of the Pacific. Despite its tiny area, the plaza has several notable attractions.
Founded in 1931, by German resident William Spratz, the Café Riquet is the last of Valparaiso’s great European cafes. Although Don William passed on in 2000, the place remains faithful to his legacy. The restaurant is a classic for afternoon tea, offering a wide selection of German cakes and pies.
The Ivens Bookstore is another tradition. Originally opened in 1891, this once proud chain was sold from the German born Ivens family, the to the de Raadt family from Holland, who maintained the original name. Later, the store was purchased by another German, Guillermo Bühler. When his wife Berena de Bühler passed on, the store’s rich tradition for humanistic books complimented by many books on Valparaíso.
The building was built in 1850 and appears in many old photographs, including those by the renowned American photographer Harry Olds. In those photos, you can detect the name of the old Klickman Jewelry Shop, which went out of business several years ago after more than a century on this square. The Neptune Fountain is an excellent example of high quality public art in 19th century Valparaíso. Around the corner on Cumming Street, the Dominó Restaurant is a famous dive where locals love to eat “chorrillanas” (a local dish of chopped steak, egg, French fries, and onions, which tastes better than it sounds). In the background you can glimpse the Atkinson Promenade and the Brighton B & B, icons of the Concepción Hill Historic District.
The Cinzano is a famous old tango club. There is a tiny stage where elderly tango singers belt out classics that will bring a tear to many a local’s eye. Gringos beware: this is a place to hear tangos. They don’t dance them.
Finally, the Vitalicia Cooperative Building was once the tallest building in Chile. Considered “the first skyscraper” the structure was built in an Art Deco Style that never really took off in Valparaíso. On the 10th floor you’ll find the Valparaíso Club, once home to a veritable who’s who of Valparaíso elite.
Somewhat dilapidated, the restaurant is open to the public and has a nice view.

Esmeralda and Prat Street

Valparaíso’s financial district has so many important monuments it is almost impossible to name them all. On Esmeralda Street you’ll find the old Hotel Colon, now converted into many small offices. The Orellana Bookstore was once the lower station house of the Esmeralda Funicular elevator, destroyed in the 1985 earthquake.
The El Mercurio building is the historic home of the oldest newspaper in continuous publication in the Spanish speaking world. Forever identified by the bronze Mercurio standing on the roof, arm extended to the sky, this is the deacon of the Chilean press and steeped in tradition. For 6 consecutive generations the Editor in chief has had the same name, Don Agustín Edwards. The stairway to the left leads to the mystical Chivato Cave. Prat Street begins at the stunning Turri Clock building: Valparaíso’s Big Ben is an extraordinary example of corner architecture. The famous Bar Inglés is around the corner on Blanco Street. The old Bank of London (Banco Santiago) features unbelievable marble work and a touching monument to British soldiers of Valparaíso who died in the Great War. The oldest stock exchange in Latin America preserves in tact the old bidding wheel amidst its spectacular double atrium and dome.

Sotomayor Square (next to our school)

The neoclassical Palace at the head of this impressive plaza was originally built in 1831 as a Custom House by the British architect John Stevenson. In that time, the water arrived a few feet away from the front gate. The building was remodeled by Juan Berg and transfigured into the Regional Government Headquarters. The original was leveled and rebuilt by Ernesto Urquieta, the same architect of the Catholic University of Valparaíso, after damage from the 1906 earthquake. He used the original plans and embellished them with ideas from the Consistorial Palace in Paris. This was long the regional government headquarters, but also served as vacation house for Chilean presidents, until a new summer palace was built in Viña del Mar. This building was expropriated by the Chilean Navy in the 1970’s and has served as Naval Headquarters ever since.
The Old Post Office, future home to Chile’s new Ministry of Culture, was built in the 1940’s a major contribution to the budding modernist movement in Chilean architecture. Next door, you’ll find the “American Fire House” the first in the city and the oldest volunteer fire department in Latin America. On the third floor, there is a cute little restaurant run by the fireman. They are open only for lunch and serve mainly employees from the shipping companies. There is no sign. But it’s worth a visit.

The Oldest Fire Department in Latin America

Valparaíso’s Fire Department was founded in 1851. Many early fire trucks were donated by foreign governments, and each of the building firehouses took on the ethnic identity of its benefactors. This explains why each fire house in Valparaíso represents a different community: the American company, the British company, the German company, the Spanish company, the Italian company, etc. The city’s complicated topography, coupled with her history of earthquakes and other disasters, has made the Valparaíso Fire Department a mythical presence and the inspirational model for other fire companies around Chile.
During 150 years, the institution has suffered numerous calamities and casualties, the most horrific being the loss of 36 firefighters during an explosion of the Schulze Lumber Yard in 1953. This and other disasters are faithfully commemorated every year. Another moving tradition is the torchlight parade with which the different companies celebrate their funeral masses.

Monument to the Heroes of Iquique

At the center of the plaza is Chile’s most important civic monument: the Monument of the Martyrs of the Battle of Iquique. The stature honors the memory of Arturo Prat and his crew, who sacrificed their lives in a suicide mission on the wooden schooner, Esmeralda, stalling the iron Peruvian battleship “Huascar.” The battle was the emotional turning point of the War of the Pacific. Prat’s body was rescued and is buried here, explaining the civic importance of Sotomayor Square, which garners the entire nation’s attention on the 21st of May holiday, when the President give his State of the Union address from Valparaíso. Built upon landfill, Sotormayor is also an important archeological site. The Plaza was built upon the original Prat Pier and many shipwrecks are located below the ground. Remnants are stored in the archeological museum in the center of the plaza. Historical tiles are also placed to illustrate where the coastline was at different times in the city’s history. Finally, Latina America’s largest shipping company, Sudamericana de Vapores, is built behind the restored facade of the old Grace Building.

Prat Pier and the Old Train Station

The old train station, another national monument, is the last building before entering Prat Pier. The station has attractive murals and is known as a picturesque gathering place for chess players. The train is an excellent alternative for folks traveling to Viña del Mar. The Station is currently being remodeled for office and commercial space, which will generate an important new seaside promenade. Finally, the Prat Pier is an obligatory visit for anyone wanting to take a water taxi around the harbor. There are few places in the world where tourists can get so close to the large commercial ships. This area becomes very congested with tourists when large cruise ships come into town during the summer. Next to the souvenir shops, the Bote Salvavidas Restaurant is one of Valparaíso’s most traditional eateries.

Serrano Street

After visiting Prat Pier, we double back along Square, in front of the Queen Victoria Hotel, to Serrano Street, home of many notable buildings. Many renowned families lived here, including the Waddingtons and the Rolffs, who’s Hotel Rolff was amongst the most important in the city. A famous bar, “La Playa” is worth the visit. The bar opened in 1903 and is a nice mixture of old and new. The bar was featured in an award winning Chilean movie, “Amnesia,” which portrays a torture survivor during Chile’s military government, who, years later, glimpses his torturer through a foggy mist on a Valparaíso stairway. He then pursues his ex-captor through the stairs and alleys of Valparaíso, catching up with him finally in this bar where they dialogue about the importance of memory.

Several doors down, the Rivera Palace stuns visitors with its intricate, if not decadent, Venetian décor. This is yet another marvel of the famed pair of Italian architects: Barrison and Schiavon, whose numerous gifts to Valparaíso (the home on Artillery Hill, Baburriza Palace, Severín Library, etc) have been noted in other sections. You must climb the onyx stairway where you will be blown away by the ornate interior décor. Across the street, you’ll find the Cordillera Funicular. All along Serrano Street, you’ll encounter numerous passage ways, which give this neighborhood, known as “the old port” its traditional charm. Eventually, we arrive at the Echaurren Square.

Echaurren Square

This is the historic birthplace of Valparaíso and contains many notable buildings, including the Market Place. The dilapidated market offers very low price seafood restaurants for adventurous travelers. The more hygienic of these eateries are located on the first floor and across the street, such as the “Marisquería Las Porteñas” which offers some clean bathrooms and a bit more ambience for the more conservative tourist. If you’re really low of funds, try the second floor.
Most building around the plaza date to the mid-19th century, including the Aztoreca Building –a French Neo-classical palace built, by the architect Dazzarola in 1907. Many old emporiums and pharmacies are worth a visit. The Emporio Echaurren is one of the most legendary old groceries in Valparaíso and has a fanatically faithful clientele that enables the owner to stock some fine premium wines and many European delicacies that may seem out of place in such a working class neighborhood. Along the sidewalks, street vendors hawk cinnamon, oregano, paprika, and old fashioned stove toasters. Many stores in this neighborhood supply ships during their stays in the port of Valparaíso. The plaza is named after a Regional Governor, Francisco Echaurren (1870- 1876). As you gaze upon the bustle of this historic center, you will discover various eccentric personages such as organ grinders or old ladies feeding the pigeons. It is hard to imagine that what is now a chaotic urban center once was a sandy beach and that it was precisely in this spot 480 years ago, that the wooden schooner, Santiaguillo, captained by the Spanish explorer Juan de Saavedra, touched ground as the first European to set foot in what later became Valparaíso.Little has change since the 1840’s.

Italian Park to Plaza Lord Cochrane

Summary: This section is short. Take time to see the museums and other attractions. Highlights include the Sacred Hearts School, the Plaza Victoria, the Natural History Museum, city hall, the Severin Library, the old Spanish Club, and the German Club.

Estimated Walking Time: Approximately 90 minutes.

How to get here: By car, enter Valparaíso on Pedro Montt Street and park near the Hoyts Multicinema Complex. There is the Italian Park. By bus, take any of the buses in front of the bus station and get off after about 10 blocks, in front of the Cineplex.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Tourist Infrastructure: Plenty of eating opportunities at the low and medium range along Pedro Montt Street. For health food fanatics there is a great juice bar on Victoria Square (Bogarin) and a decent vegetarian restaurant on Condell Street (Bambu). At the end of the route, the traditional German eatery, Hamburg, is a must.

One of the best ways to start this route could be with a steam bath at the Turkish bath house. If you don’t have time, there is plenty to see around the Italian Park.

The corner building on Freire and Independence Streets is called the Severín Palace, not to be confused with the Severín Library, which comes up later. The building was a restaurant for many years and today serves as a technical institute. The marble stairway gives way to a very elegant parlor with ornate woodwork, especially in the ceilings. The interior was used to film scenes from the movie Amalia Lopez O’Neil, by Valeria Sarmiento. This is a splendid example of 19th century architecture in this section of the Almendral neighborhood.

El Abuelo Antique Shop

One of the several fine antique shops, (another is Lagazio several blocks farther on the same street), “El Abuelo” belonged to Don Pablo Eltesch and his wife, María Mihoevich, two surnames at home in Valparaíso, but unrecognizable in other parts of Chile. Today, Don Pablo’s son runs the store, whose clients have included Pablo Neruda, the novelist José Donoso, and writer Enrique Lafourcade. Many items are actually not for sale, demonstrating that the survival of the store is, in many ways, more a factor of family pride that a zeal for generating business.

Sacred Hearts School

Another one of Valparaíso’s best kept architectural secrets, the Sacred Hearts School, is Chile’s oldest private high school, the first religious school founded by non-Spanish clerics in all of Latin America! The school’s hollowed halls have educated many prominent people, including a few past presidents. Enter on Independence Street, steps away from the Italian Square. Inside, you will find numerous European style plazas, cloisters, and even a funky underground tunnel connecting the campus to the nunnery on the far side of Colon Street below ground.
The first nuns arrived from France in 1827 and within a few years they were imparting classes in Valparaíso. The trademark steeple was dedicated in 1840 and the school functioned until the year 2007. In 1868, work began on the main church. The clock tower, bells, mosaic, pavement, altar, pulpit, and confession booths were all brought from France. The stained glass is an imitation of the Church of Santa Gúdula in Belgium. The magnificent organ was donated by Enrique Meigs, and fabricated especially for the church by Aristide Cavaille-Coll, considered the finest French organ maker of those days. The church was dedicated in 1874, the first house of worship for the French order of the Sacred Hearts in the Americas. 127 people are actually buried beneath the central nave!

Victoria Square

Our walk continues along Independence Avenue, with traditional stores, such as Lagazio, one of Valparaíso’s premiere antique shops. Finally, we arrive at Victoria Square. This is Valparaíso’s principal social gathering space. Centuries ago, this was a primitive bull fighting ring named Plaza de Orrego, after the cleric Vicente Orrego. The name was changed to celebrate Chile’s victory in the War of the Pacific. The spectacular fountain is actually war bounty. The children’s play area is the spot where the famous Victoria Theater was edified in 1886. This was the center of Valparaíso’s cultural scene, frequented by European opera companies and international stars, such as Sara Bernhardt. Tragically, the Victoria Theater was leveled by the 1906 earthquake. Across the street, the Old Union Building is considered a treasure. Home to one of Valparaíso’s original newspapers, and old competitor of El Mercurio, the building now houses the archdiocese of Valparaíso. An Arte Noveau tower collapsed during the 1906 earthquake. On Condell Street, just off the plaza, you can visit the attractive Lyon Palace, a national monument which houses the city’s Natural History Museum upstairs and an attractive art gallery downstairs. One block down the same street, you will find Valparaíso’s neoclassical City Hall, with a well-tended tourist office. Sneak a peek at the “Salon de Honor” with its many wonderful paintings.

Severín Public Library

Chile’s first public library offers many architectural, artistic, and literary treasures. The building was donated by Santiago Severín, and designed by the architects Barrison and Schiavon; the same Italian experts who built the famous “hanging house” outside the Artillery Elevator and the Baburriza Palace in Pleasant Hill. Ask to see the Dante Alighieri Room if you want to see the best woodwork and furniture this side of Italy!

Brazil Avenue, DUOC, and Monument Row

Back on Brasil Street, right of the library, you’ll find a block of neoclassical architecture culminating in the Polanco Palace, a national monument. Brasil Street is known as Monument Row. Highlights include the British Arch, the memorial to the fallen fireman, and a monument to Lord Cochrane. The DUOC community college, designed by Juan Sabagh, a winner of the National Architecture Prize, is considered a wonderful example of blending new with the old. Try visiting the terrace on the top floor. Another notable building is the Old Spanish Club, where the Spanish consulate stills operates. Ask for a tour!

Ross Palace

At Bellavista and Brasil, the childhood home of Matriarch Juana Ross is another national monument. This is now the German Club, complete with restaurant, a very important ethnic heritage site worth a visit. Brasil Street culminates in a lovely civic plaza in front of the regional government building, where many cultural activities are held. The Hamburg is Valparaíso’s premiere German restaurant.

Baron’s Pier to Italian Park

Summary: You’ll zigzag through the old Almendral. The Catholic University, the Cardonal Market Place, and the old Huche Cookie Factory make up some of the highlights.
Estimated Walking Time: Approximately 90 minutes.
How to get here: Ride the train to Baron Station, or take a bus or taxi to Viña, stepping of at the Baron Train station. A small pedestrian entrance leads to the Cruise Ship Terminal and Pier.
Degree of difficulty: easy
Tourist Infrastructure: There is a café in the Baron’s pier and another in the cruise terminal. Many inexpensive restaurants adorn the Market Place. On Pedro Montt Street there will be an infinite amount of soda fountains and inexpensive restaurants. This section begins at the Baron’s Pier, takes you past the Simón Bolivar warehouse and towards the Catholic University of Valparaíso. The immense concrete warehouse, the longest industrial building in all of Chile and now home to the most modern cruise terminal in the South Pacific, will form the centerpiece of the futures waterfront renovation project in Valparaíso.

Catholic University of Valparaíso (PUCV)

The Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso begins the college-town strip along Brazil Avenue, which also includes the University of Valparaíso and Duoc. The origins of PUCV, like that of the Santa María University, can be found in the generosity of born architect John Brown Duffin, who arrived from New York, forming part of the bustling US community in Valparaíso in the 1850’s. He left his fortune for philanthropic causes.
His widow Isabel decided on the creation of this university, built by architect Ernesto Urquieta in 1925. The first chancellor was Ruben Castro. The building is stately and noble, including lovely interior plazas and passageways. One of only a handful of Latin American University’s whose excellence is validated by the Vatican, PCUV’s legacy includes Chile’s first television station and the experimental city of Ritoque (Amereida), north of Viña on the coast.

Cardonal Market Place

An important fruit and vegetable market, this attractive market place exemplifies the industrial architecture developed in Valparaíso in the last days before the Panama Canal. The architect was Eduardo Feureisen and the building dates to 1912. Several blocks, you will find the stunning ex-Hucke factory (currently Chilquinta Energy), which is a second example of the same industrial architectural style.

Municipal Theater and Plaza O’Higgins

Via Uruguay Street you will access the Plaza O’Higgins, flanked on one side by the imposing congress and on the other by the Municipal Theater. On the weekends, this is the site of a fine antique market.

Pedro Montt Street

This street lost much notable architecture in the 1906 earthquake. Still, some valuable buildings remain. The Old Spanish Fire House is worth a visit. The Greek and Italian Schools also offers a glimpse into the city’s ethnic diversity.

Italian School and Italian Park

The influential Italian School dates to 1942. Many prominent intellectuals and public servants have studied here. A few blocks later, we arrive at the Italian Park, flanked by wonderful architecture, the Sacred Hearts School, the Turkish bath house, and several residential neighborhoods. During the mid 1800’s, the park was originally known as the Abadie Gardens, named after the French aristocrat, Paul Abadie who brought to Valparaíso seedlings from Europe. The area quickly became the hubs of the burgeoning social scene. City hall purchased the place in 1870 and in 1912 renamed it General Cruz Park, later settling for Italian Park. The city began to erect many fine statues, especially the monument to the Italian community of Valparaíso. During the Popular Unity Government of Salvador Allende, this area was renamed, “The Plaza of the People.” The idea never took off, and today nobody seems to complain that it has returned to Italian Park.

Bellavista Hill to Lastra Street

Summary: If you only have time for two walks in Valparaíso, this makes an excellent compliment to Section 3. Highlights include the Valparaíso Foundation, Pablo Neruda’s House, La Sebastiana, the Open Air Museum, and the painted facades of Bellavista Hill. In addition, the route takes you to charming Prefecto Lazo Street and the surprising Florida Funicular.
Estimated walking time: Approximately 2 hours.

How to get here: You can walk up the Pasteur Stairway to Valparaíso Foundation headquarters. The stairway is located behind the Ripley Department Store in the Plaza Victoria. Otherwise, take the Espíritu Santo Funicular elevator or take a taxi from the Plazuela Ecuador to Foundation headquarters.

Degree of Difficulty: The most complicated spur of this section is the three block uphill climb from the Open Air Museum to Pablo Neruda’s museum home, La Sebastiana. Very steep.
Tourist Infrastructure: El Gato Tuerto, with its spectacular terrace, eclectic fusion cuisine, and boutique wine list, is one of the city’s finest restaurants. The Valparaíso Foundation also features a stained glass workshop, an arts and crafts store, and good bathrooms. You may be tired from the climb to La Sebastiana, but once you get there you’ll find more good bathrooms, and excellent gift shop, and a cute, tiny café.

Open Air Museum

Between Ferrari and Pateur Streets you will find more than twenty contemporary murals, come by art students, and others by the most renowned painters Chile has produced in the 20th century. To complement the public art, the Valparaíso Foundation restored the facades of 23 homes in the neighborhood, converting this section of Bellavista Hill into one of the most photographed spectacles in the city. The trail will wend you by several of the mist interesting murals include those of Roberto Matta, Roser Bru, and Nemesio Antunez.

Espíritu Santo Elevator

One of the more dilapidated funiculars, the station house nonetheless opens up to show the Open Air Museum and the brightly painted houses restored by the Valparaíso Foundation, converting this spot into one of the most prettiest panoramas the city has to offer. The elevator was designed by Federico Page, who also built the Polanco Elevator, in 1904.
The restoration and painting of this neighborhood was undertaken by the Valparaíso Foundation with a grant from the World Monuments Fund. Twenty three families participated. Eighty eight design students from the University of Valparaíso competed to design the color schemes.

Statue of Christ the Redemptor

In front of Randolf and Bernardo Ramos there is a statue of Christ that towers over the city, sculpted by Eduardo Provoste in 1904. The other two figures represent Popes Leo XIII and Pius IX. From this point you will wind down a stairway, past the fantastic Nemesio Antunez mural, arriving finally at Ferrari Street.

Ferrari Street

This is considered Valparaíso’s steepest major street. Most cars climb in first gear. About half way up the street you will find the Santa Margarita stairway, and if you are adventurous, this makes a nice alternative route to La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda’s home.

La Sebastiana

The Valparaíso home of Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda is Valparaíso’s most visited shrine. Neruda is considered the world’s most widely read poet since Shakespeare. Thousands of literary pilgrims flock here every year to visit the home that exemplified his love affair with Valparaíso. The Neruda Foundation hosts literary and cultural events, art exhibits, a cafeteria, and a fine gift shop. The plaza makes a wonderful place to rest and admire your arrival at the summit of Bellavista Hill.
Neruda loved Valparaíso. He purchased this house in 1961 and inaugurated it on Independence Day (September 18th). This would be the place where the bard hosted his famous parties for local eccentric and Chile’s cultural elite. The house feels like a series of tiny ships galleys, with tight stairways and lots of round ship windows. In his writing room you’ll find a life size photo of Neruda’s hero, Walt Withman, and a sink. Neruda always believed in washing his hands, as a purification ritual, before writing. The name Sebastiana refers to the architect Sebastián Collao, who edified several important homes in the neighborhood, including a red brick castle you can see from Neruda’s bedroom.

Plaza Mena to Prefecto Lazo Street

The route doubles back toward the Mena Square, and then heads down toward Prefecto Lazo Street. The name Mena evokes mixed emotions in this neighborhood. Nicholas Mena was a wealthy landowner who developed the upper part of Florida Hill in the mid to late 19th century. He installed irrigation systems that he used to operate a small brewery and ice factory on the hill. His efforts modernized this neighborhood, and for years, he was considered a respected patron. He even created a small reservoir, which he used to supply water to neighboring Yungay Hill.
Then in the winter of 1888, on August 11th, a flood overflowed the dike and the reservoir caved in. A huge wall of water swept down the ravine, killing 57 and injuring 300.
In an attempt to purge the evil memory of his father’s misfortune, Nicholas Mena’s only son, Marcelo, donated the family fortune to create medical treatment centers. The Mena Foundation operates in the old family estate, just above La Sebastiana, at the corner of Ferrari Street and Avenida Alemania.
Following Mena Street, we pass the house 504. In this house lived a famous author of soap operas, Arturo Moya Grau. He started his career as a radio show host in Valparaíso, but eventually transformed Chilean culture when he penned, “The Step Mother,” Chile’s first prime time soap opera. Finally, by cutting through the Julianita Stairway, we access Prefecto Lazo, in front of the Florida Funicular. This adorable street of brightly painted ginger bread homes stands out as a delightful surprise to unsuspecting urban tourists.

Florida Elevator

Built in 1906, this is one of Valparaíso’s most photographed funiculars, due to an exquisite pedestrian footbridge that crosses over the funicular path. Thousands of blossoming wildflowers accompany the short ride. If you don’t want to ride down, Murillo Street is an attractive alternative, offering great views and crossing over the previously mentioned footbridge.