I don’t know how to title this post without sounding like a smug, privileged North American tourist. Valparaiso is both picturesque and impoverished. It is a World Heritage Site, so they can’t change or update the buildings; but without funds to maintain them they are falling apart.
The city is, indeed, unique. It has a history of bohemian culture which is still present. The buildings are built on steep hills of streets, the best of which overlook the harbour. The city has an ocean-going history. Men would be off at sea for long periods of time and the women would party, according to our guide. Sounds like a fun place to be a woman, as long as no one came along to rape and pillage!
The city enjoys some beautiful views, but is home to more stray dogs than anyone could ever count. Some of the lovely buildings, which are becoming a little worse for wear, are used as hostels or bed & breakfasts. World class artists have painted murals in Valparaiso and they are amazing.
Valparaiso was the departure port for our cruise. We enjoyed some fresh empanadas and proceeded to the dock for our check in. Our pre-cruise tour of Santiago and Valparaiso was so worthwhile, we would definitely do it again!