Valparaíso Historic Quarter Tours
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Hailed as the San Francisco of South America, Valparaíso’s Historic Quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its beautiful buildings, street art, and steep hills. Visit to admire the historic architecture and take a vintage funicular up the summits of the cerros, where you’ll find trendy cafes and bars.
The port city of Valparaíso was a major trading hub in the late 19th century—before the opening of the Panama Canal—and the historic quarter is famous for its colorful buildings and murals. Visit the area, which sits on the coastal plain and surrounding hills to see sights like bustling Plaza Sotomayor and the hills of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion.
Though some streets are steep, the historic quarter is best seen on a walking tour. Day trips from Santiago and shore excursions from Valparaíso’s busy port typically combine a few hours in the city with a visit to Viña del Mar, a coastal town famous for its beach and it’s archeology museum. Some excursions also include wine tasting in the nearby Casablanca Valley.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The labyrinthine streets of Valparaíso cause many first-time visitors to get lost; book a tour to avoid wasting time.
- Steep hills and uneven terrain means that Valparaíso is a difficult place to explore in a wheelchair or with a stroller. That said, sturdy shoes are a must if exploring on foot.
- Though the historic quarter is firmly on the tourist maps, some parts of the port city have high crime rates; avoid straying far from the main square after dark.
How to Get There
Valparaíso is about 1.5-hours’ drive northwest of Santiago. To reach the city by car, take CH-68. Buses to Valparaíso depart regularly from Santiago’s main terminal and take about 2 hours.
You can also opt for a day-long tour from Santiago that includes round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
For blue skies and the fewest crowds, visit Chile during the shoulder seasons, in November and March. Valparaíso is also a great place to be on New Year’s Eve, when the city hosts one of the world’s most impressive fireworks displays.
Outside of the Historical Quarter
Though most tours only cover the historic center of Valparaíso, there are plenty of attractions outside of the Old Town. Make sure to visit La Sebastiana, one of three former homes of revered Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. You can also head to Robinson Crusoe Island, a deserted island just off the city’s coast where you can go trekking, fishing, or kayaking among unspoiled natural landscapes.
Address: Valparaiso, Chile
2 Tours and Activities to Experience Valparaíso Historic Quarter
Though guided tours are without a doubt the best way to visit Valparaiso highlights in just one day, crowded group tours aren't for everyone. This private sightseeing option provides the same action-packed itinerary, but with the benefit of a private, personalized guide to take you through Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, and the Casablanca Valley with ease.
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
In this exclusive tour for small groups, you will spend a day exploring Valparaíso as a local, using different types of public transport, such as trains, electric trolleybuses and old funiculars. You will share with the inhabitants in their daily activities, getting a local feeling and understanding how they live here. You will have time to go shopping, relax or even have a coffee or empanadas. Your native guide will be happy to adapt the tour to your special interests, be your personal photographer or help you obtain specific collectibles and, at the end of the day, you will have a new friend in this part of the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Valparaíso Historic Quarter?
The best ways to experience Valparaíso Historic Quarter are:
- PRIVATE TOUR: Pre-Post Cruise Viña del Mar Valparaiso and Casablanca Winery tour
- Shore Excursion: Valpo in 1 day! Semi-private walking tour & public transport
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