2017 is the year to visit Chile, with British Airways newly launched direct flights from London to Santiago. But although you will arrive in Santiago, we remind our clients that the Chilean capital is very much a business-centred city that doesn’t quite compete with the excitement of cities like Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro. Therefore, we recommend that our clients make the short hour or so car journey north to the beautiful, bohemian city of Valparaiso, for a real slice of Chilean culture.
The artistic seaside city is Chile’s main port and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Comprised of 42 hills set above a busy bay, it’s a sea of colourful buildings clinging on to the cliffs and pretty, paved side-streets just waiting to be discovered. To get to grips with this beguiling city, we suggest our clients are accompanied for the day by one of our friends on the ground – a local urban artist who will take you through the history of the city and explore the stunning street art that defines Valparaiso. For clients who want to get truly immersed in the artistry of the city, we can also arrange for a very special day where you can become an urban artist. This private and totally unique experience allows you to paint your own mural in Valparaiso, leaving your very own mark on the street art capital of Chile.
In terms of where to stay, our favourite hotel in the city is the Palacio Astoreca because it combines luxury with the quirky spirit of Valparaiso. Palacio Astoreca is a lovingly restored 23-room mansion that sits next to the Fine Arts Museum in the cool Cerro Alegre neighbourhood, which is known for its nineteenth-century mansions and 100-year-old funicular lifts that climb sedately up the hills. Destination Expert, Sarah has explored every room and her relationship with the hotel means that we can ensure you stay in the very best suite, which has a terrace with panoramic views and huge free-standing bath in the bedroom. There is also an exceptional restaurant, whose head chef Sergio Barroso was trained at the famed El Bulli. On our last visit here, we were wowed by simple ceviche, made with local fish fresh straight off the boat.
Our primary aim for every trip we design is for our clients to see the most inspiring elements of the country they are visiting. We are able to do this through our depth of knowledge and extensive experience travelling in the destinations we specialise in. Valparaiso is one of those places that all our Latin American Destination Experts talk animatedly about, and one they take delight in sharing with our clients.