Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, and the Fonck Museum
Beverages - Water
Tour Participation Requirements
How do you describe a city that defies description? The late Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda may have said it best: "Valparaiso, how absurd you are; you haven't combed your hair, you've never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you."
The city once known as "the Jewel of the Pacific" is a Technicolor tableau of old and new, sophisticated and raunchy, cultural capital and rough port town, that seems to have tumbled down the mountains with no semblance of planning. Yet somehow it comes together magnificently. It is artistic, historic, bohemian, ornate, faded, shiny, reserved, and expressive.
But never predictable. And certainly unforgettable.
A drive through the city and a view from a hillside overlook give you a feel for the ramshackle charm of Chile's second-largest city from within and above. Then you'll head in the opposite direction: the organized elegance of Viña del Mar, an upscale seaside resort of manicured lawns, stylish malls, coastal high-rises, even a clock made of blooming flowers.
In other words, this tour is a tale of two cities that play off each other, the contrasts perhaps best demonstrated in their most prominent museums: Valparaiso's converted from a dilapidated prison, Vina de Mar's from the mansion of a wealthy family.
Uncombed Valparaiso, just five miles from the immaculately groomed Garden City. Somehow, the strands come together beautifully.
Hanging in the balance
To conquer the steep cerros, or hills, of Valparaiso, a system of funicular trams was designed that uses the weight of the car going down to help winch the car going up. The first such "elevator" went active in 1883, and today the ascensores still move people up and down the hills. Not bad for 19th-century technology.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.