UNESCO declared the historic part of Valparaíso a world heritage site in 2003, and when you get here, you won’t wonder why. It’s been called the Jewel of the Pacific, or Chile’s version of San Francisco, but there’s really no comparing it to anyplace you’ve ever been, and you’ll just have to come see it yourself.
The city is split into two main parts, the first of these being the “plan” or flat section, where you’ll find the port, the bus station, the market, and pleasant Muelle Barón (a pier) where you can sit and enjoy the view of the water. The second part, the more eye-catching bit, is the series of hills on which most of Porteños live. There are lively (and connected) Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción, where there are cafés and restaurants and places to stay, and the Paseo Gervasoni where some of the best views are had. Of course, you could walk up the hills, or for about fifty cents (or less), take one of the acensores (as the funiculars are also called) that will take you up top. Getting down is easier, just walk toward the water.
Though you can take a driving tour of the city, it is best seen on foot, as many of the murals and brightly colored houses and staircases are best appreciated from street level. Wear sturdy shoes and treat yourself to a snack with a view when it’s time for a rest.