The port city of Valparaiso is the most charming coastal town you are likely to find in Chile.
It perfectly captures the topography of the country as a whole, with hills to one side and the Pacific ocean to the other.
Known as the port of Santiago, is Chile's third largest city and capital of the V Region - which includes Robinson Crusoe Island and Easter Island - apart from being home to the National Congress and the Chilean Navy.
Valparaiso's foundation is attributed to Juan de Saavedra, who arrived in the area in 1576.
The city has received notorious visitors since then, including famous pirates. Among others, Sir Francis Drake, a nightmare to the Spanish Navy and the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world between 1577 and 1580.
Pablo Neruda, regarded as the greatest poet of 20th. century and Nobel Prize for Literature -1971 - used to live there, in a four story house known as La Sebastiana, where he occupied the top two floors with a 360 degrees view of the city.
But his most famous residence is at Isla Negra, where his tomb is located, on a rocky coastline around one hour to the south of Valparaiso.
His other house, La Chascona is to be found in Bellavista district, Santiago de Chile.
Do you love poetry? Read some Neruda poems here.
We love this place. Is one of our favorite cities in South America.
It has character, personality, and a bohemian charm that has attracted so many writers, musicians and artists throughout history.
Its steeply hills overlooking the bay - residential for the most part - are simply wonderful, with colorful clapboard houses and old Victorian mansions balancing precariously in front of the Pacific ocean.
But the most unique experience is to ride one of the ascensores (elevators) that connect the lower part to the hill tops.
A marvel of engineering, they were built between 1883 and 1916 and about 14 of them are still on daily use by locals and tourist alike...
Other city attractions include..
Don't miss Paseo Gervasoni, Cerro Concepcion and Ascensor Artilleria.
Hang around Plaza Sotomayor, bordering the port, and Muelle Prat (Prat Wharf) - where all vessels dock - and enjoy some superb Chilean cuisine in one of the many Valparaiso restaurants.
Founded as a week-end retreat for the wealthy of Santiago and Valparaiso, it has a Casino, many parks and hosts an international song festival.
Our preference however, is to move further up north to La Serena.
Valparaiso was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2002 and definitely is a very unique South America travel experience in its own right...
Most likely, you will land at Chile's top airport: Arturo Merino Benitez Intl. Airport, some 13 miles away from city centre. Please check airports in Chile for more info.
Valparaiso, being so close to Santiago de Chile (120 km away), is serviced by many buses to/from on a daily basis. The journey takes about 1,5 hours to complete.