Valparaiso (on the coast of Chile), otherwise known as “Little San Francisco” or “The Jewel of the Pacific” is branded as the cultural hub of the country, and with the splashes of colour at every corner, I understood quickly how this came to be. The cobblestoned paradise is built on steep hills and as a consequence, has a large network of funiculars which allow for spectacular views over the city and to the ocean.
After Chile’s independence from Spain, Valparaiso became a required stopover from ships crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and subsequently received immigrants from various European shores. These have all played a part in shaping Valparaiso into the diverse place that it is now.
However, after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, many ships did not need to pass through the Strait of Magellan and thus the traffic in Valparaiso’s port reduced substantially.
That being said, it is by NO means quiet, with an abundance of both cruise ships and overland tourists continuously flocking to witness the unique character of the city, which is currently undergoing infrastructure improvements in order to continue coping with visitors and residents alike.
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