walking Vina del Mar to Valparaíso, Chile

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

People from the BIG CITY of Santiago love to escape to Valparaíso on the coast.

Valpo is popular with tourists who enjoy the city’s labyrinth of cobbled alleys and colorful buildings.

It has a a mild Mediterranean climate.

In 1996, the World Monuments Fund declared Valparaíso’s unusual system of funicular lifts (steeply inclined carriages) one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures.

Valparaíso is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I decided to walk to Valpo along the coast from Viña del Mar, an upscale suburb to the north famed for great beaches.

Having walked the beaches the previous evening, I started near the castle.

There were plenty of runners and cyclists, but not many walkers.

Birds are always a highlight in Chile. Pelicans have always been some of my favourites.

Originally a port and fishing centre, much of the coast has not been improved for pedestrians.

Some has.

Fishermen use mobile phones now.

There’s a lot of traffic on the coastal road. At one point you are pushed inland by train tracks.

Parts of this 3 hour walk I did enjoy.

Other sections I found annoying. Graffiti EVERYWHERE was starting to bother me.

A real highlight near Valpo is watching sea lions close up on this abandoned concrete structure. It’s amazing they can get up there. It’s entertaining to watch them negotiate who gets the prime real estate. And who gets pushed off back into the sea.

The best part was arriving in Valparaíso and joining a free (for tips) walking tour. The daughter of one of the gentlemen in our group had tons of fun sliding down a cement ramp.

All in all I wished I’d — instead — spent my time hiking out at Parque Nacional La Campana.

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