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Known as "The Jewel of the Pacific," Valparaíso is one of South America's most charming, historic and picturesque ports. Declared a World Heritage Site in 2003, Valparaíso is a pleasant blend of historical interest, natural beauty and unique architecture - particularly its mix of 19th-century houses. If you love charming and culturally distinctive surroundings, this is your kind of place.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
One of Valparaíso's many attractions is its colorful hillside neighborhoods. And the best (if not the only) way to visit this unique area is by boarding one of the city's famous ascensores. These charming wooden cable cars will take you high into the surrounding hills, passing houses and backyards along the way. From your vantage point in the hills you'll enjoy spectacular views of the city below and the sea beyond. A truly unforgettable experience.
The sandy white beaches on the southern coast of Valparaíso are the perfect place for swimming and sunning, or a variety of water activities, including surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba-diving. And with hundreds of miles of coastline and countless rivers and lakes. Valparaíso is an angler's dream come true. You can test your skill against saltwater species like sea bass, tuna, and bonito, and freshwater trout, bass and river salmon.
As most of Chile's coastal cities, in Valparaíso, seafood rules. Almost every port on the Chilean coast has a small market or a row of seafood restaurants where excellent seafood can be eaten very inexpensively. And with its subtropical Mediterranean-like climate, the region is well suited to growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, especially avocados, mangoes and papayas. Of course, if you really want to eat like a Chilean you'll have to try the local favorite - chorillana - chips covered with sliced steak, fried onions and scrambled eggs.
Valparaíso offers the shopper a little of everything, from high-end shops featuring designer clothing and high-quality lapis lazuli jewelry, to street vendors selling traditional Chilean or Andean handcrafts and art. And if you're looking for unique or antique items, drop by O'Higgins Square. This local flea market is a treasure trove of old books, sea chests, furniture and bric-a-brac from out of the past.
Valparaíso's currency is the Chilean Peso (CH$). Unlike other South American countries, Chile rarely accepts U.S. dollars. (The exception is larger hotels, where prices are often quoted only in dollars.) Credit cards and traveler's checks are accepted everywhere in Valparaíso's most touristy areas. However, if you're planning to shop in outlying areas or smaller stores, it is advisable to carry a certain amount of Chilean pesos.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.