Everybody has told us about the charm of Valpo – so we had to go check it out. Even better we decided to spend two weeks there working as volunteers for a wine-themed container hotel project.
We were 12 volunteers plus the owners – Grant a winemaker from NZ and Camila the architect – and lived either in their beautiful home or at the hotel on Cerro Mariposas. It is not a touristy part of town but has the best views of the bay. Our tasks went from painting walls, refurbishing barriques to flower pots, make wine bottle lamps, dig holes or paint pallet wood for wall decor. Every night it was somebody else’s turn to create a meal for 14 people. Most of the afternoons we spent hanging out with the other volunteers (an amazing bunch of international people) and the two random but adorable dogs.
Valparaiso for us was love at second sight. On one hand the port makes it a bit unsafe, the houses are often run down and the place is quite chaotic. On the other hand you find amazing houses on hills, young friendly creative people and street art wherever you look.
We took a walking tour but weren’t very impressed. We rather explored the touristy hills of Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre by ourselves. Per coincidence we had two fun events happening during our stay in Valpo. One was a jazz and beer festival and the other one the Red Bull downhill biking where international riders race down narrow and steep streets.
We also spent 2 days in the neighboring city of Viña Del Mar, overrun in summer by people from Santiago. While the beaches are nice it is hard to enjoy when it’s so crowded.
All in all we loved Valparaiso and the time we had there.
- Wine box hotel – book when open 😉
- Apice restaurant – yes it’s pricey but amazing. Small place with only 2 choices per course. Fresh fish and seafood combined with local wines.
- Bus 612 via Alemania to have an overview of the town and the bay and to experience nerve wrecking driving skills – hold on tight
- La Sebastiana – Pablo Nerudas crazy creative house. Check out museum and surroundings (plenty of small nice cafes and restaurants)
- Parque Cultural – former prison transformed to art space and park. Hang out there to chill or picnic