The Port of Valparaiso is known for its brightly-colored houses, beautiful views of the sea, and its bohemian culture growing out of a variety of cultures brought by immigrants over the centuries. While its major economic activities are petroleum refining and shipping, tourism is an increasingly more important part of the city’s economy. Its historic center and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Visiting the Port of Valparaiso isn’t so much about seeing specific tourist sights than it is about taking in the city’s unique atmosphere and enjoying its vibrant artistic events and exciting nightlife.
Cerros Alegre and Concepción is an architectural, social, and racial district in the city where European immigrants lived, leaving several buildings of architectural and historic importance, including the Anglican Church of Saint Paul, the Paseo of the 14 Seats, the Paseo Pierre Loty, the Lutheran Church, and many more. The area also offers many fine restaurants, workshops for crafts, small art galleries, and pubs and cafes offering entertainment.
The Plaza Echaurren – Serrano Street is an important historic area surrounded by many monumental buildings from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The Cerro Cordillera area contains the historic Castillo San Jose which is home to the Lord Cochrane Museum of the Sea today.
Visitors will also enjoy La Sebastiana, one of the homes of world-famous poet Pablo Neruda or the Ex-Carcel, a former prison that the government has converted to a cultural center and concert venue.
Some argue that being in the Port of Valparaiso and not riding the ascensores (inclines) is akin to being in Venice and not taking a gondola. The ascensores help residents get to the higher elevations in town so they can avoid climbing the steep hills.
Travelers interested in visiting the Port of Valparaiso by sea can find a long list of cruises at the Cruise Compete website.