10 Days in Chile | 12 Hours in Valparaiso

On Saturday, we all woke up early to trek out to the coast for the day. I was so happy to wake up to clear, cloudless skies and the weather report said it would be sunny and warm.
We had to take the metro on the red line to the third to last stop in the westerly direction, Pajaritos.

When we got to Pajaritos, we booked a round trip ride with Turbus for $7,700 CLP ($12). You have to book the exact bus and they even assign seats. We booked an open ended ticket (meaning we didn't choose the time for our journey back) which was a little cheaper than booking ahead of time.
The ride was comfortable enough. It's about an hour and a half out to Valparaiso. They play movies on the televisions in the bus so on the way there I watched Hotel Transylvania (in Spanish) in between naps.
The bus drops you off at a station just to the north of the main part of town. We had to do a little walking. N and L were both really nervous and scared so we did our best to stay on streets that seemed safer. I don't know if I was being naive or if it's because I'm just more traveled, but I had no fear. And honestly, at the end of the day, I do think that L came around and didn't find the city dangerous at all but I can't say the same for N.
When we got to a main part of town, N all of a sudden freaked out and said she didn't want to go up the hill. There were a couple of policemen and even L started to get nervous so the two of them went over to ask them if the street we were about to climb up was safe. The police said not to flaunt wealth and swing our phones around and that it was dangerous. They even told N to take off her "grandma-looking earrings."

Honestly, I didn't see the big deal and I was ready to ditch these two. L seemed to come around and think it was fine but N was actually freaking out. Luckily it was a gorgeous day and nothing could dampen my spirits and my Plan B was to just head off on my own. However, a little dog (who L decided to name 'Maria') started following us and she made N feel safer and we headed up into the cerros (hills).
We took the funicular up the hill (a bit quicker and less strenuous than climbing) and asked the operator if we were allowed to bring Maria along and she said we could. It was $100 CLP ($0.15 USD) to use the funicular.
I'm sure this could be a dangerous town, but I didn't experience anything that made me feel unsafe. I think the key is to stay on well-lit, populated streets and just be savvy.
Maria was a cute little companion, especially with her leopard print vest, but she also attracted the attention of several male dogs, that little slut.
For lunch, we got empanadas and fresh natural juices. We all got the curry chicken empanadas. L and N got mandarin juice while I went for peach. The juice was so delicious, I completely forgot to snap a photo.
The empanada was great. I highly recommend drizzling a little of the spiced oil on the empanadas as you eat it. It just ups the flavor profile 1000%.
We enjoyed our lunch while watching the staff make more empanadas. I fed Maria a bunch of my empanada crust to thank her for making our group feel safe. L had started to feel guilty for making her follow us onto the funicular and everything but that little bitch knew exactly what she was doing. She ate all of our empanada scraps and then she completely ditched us!
For dessert, we decided to get some churros and a brownie. The churros were kind of greasy and the brownie was kind of gritty, but this was a really cute cafe so I have to give it props for ambiance.
We thought about heading to the cemetery, but it was on a completely different cerro and we also wanted to explore the neighboring town of Viña del Mar so we decided to just explore a little more of the area we were currently wandering before heading over to VdM.

And by this time, almost all fear had vanished. L and N contemplated whether or not the policemen were actually just making fun of us because it didn't feel dangerous at all. That being said, who knows what this place is like after dark so if you decide to go, keep your guard up and stay vigilant. (Though, that advice rings true of visiting any place so it's not like I'm trying to make specific commentary about Valpo.)
There's a lovely and convenient metro line connecting these two coastal towns. It was $1,500 CLP ($2.30 USD) each to get a round trip fare.
In front of the Fonck Museum is a Moai statue that was brought over from Easter Island. So, if you can't make it out to the island, at least try and come see this little guy. It made me a little sad that they moved an artifact from its home but I was also pleased to get to see it and photograph it; it was a bittersweet moment.
After our Easter Island visit, we headed straight out towards the South Pacific Ocean. We didn't actually go to a beach but instead walked along a path built by the water. The water was really violent that day so we saw loads of splashing and crashing waves; it was beautiful.
We contemplated staying for dinner; N said she wanted to eat fish by the sea and wondered when she would have a chance to come back so she wanted to take advantage and I agreed but ultimately we decided we didn't want to be wandering around Valparaiso after dark so we just headed back, hopped on the bus, and opted to try and get dinner in Santiago instead.
We ended up getting Korean barbecue so that L and N could eat it with someone who knows what she's doing (re: me). It was delicious and a fun way to end the day.
I knew I couldn't leave Chile without trying the two famous cocktails so after dinner, we headed out to the oldest (and probably most famous) bar in Santiago. N was nervous about her safety again - I guess neither of them had been out late at night in Santiago yet - so we had to promise her that we'd go look at it and if it seemed gross, we'd leave. She had made herself nervous by looking for reviews and picking out specifically negative ones (though in general, the reviews were positive). I don't envy being stuck in her brain being scared of everything. Admittedly, I have anxiety about the weirdest things, but I do my best to make sure it doesn't stifle my spirit or my ability to live life to its fullest. For real, it would've been such a wasted opportunity not to go.
We negotiated our way to a table (technically we were only allowed to sit at a table if we were ordering food but L sweet talked the server). We ordered three terremotos (which translates to "earthquake") which consists of a strong wine, a scoop of pineapple ice cream, and a drizzle of grenadine. The ice cream was delicious but this cocktail was too sweet for all of us so we really only drank a few sips each. We could've shared, I suppose.
This place has all the charm of a local bar. There are men playing instruments and drunkenly singing, drunken bystanders participating in the drunken singing, and it's got all the joy and cheer that a bar should have.
And though one could argue that the Pisco sour is a Peruvian cocktail, Chile also claims it as its own so we shared one between the three of us, just to taste. It was much more bearable than the terremoto (tasted similar to a margarita) but it was too strong and I wasn't willing to wake up the next morning with a hangover and then stumble onto an airplane so I exercised some self-control.
After our evening libations, we hopped into an Uber and headed back to the apartment for a good sleep.

Here's my video diary from Valparaiso:



  1. I love thisss <3 I would have bawled my eyes out when Maria ditched. HAHAHA. And I can completely relate to the feeling of not being scared but being sensible and enjoying life! It never ceases to amaze me how many people I meet that tell me they could never do what I do (travel alone). I feel so bad for them but it makes me proud and satisfied that I can and I do. <3 <3

    1. Maria, that dumb bitch, hahaha. My friends actually went back to Valpo last weekend and ran into Maria again! She was still up to her same antics.

      I can empathize somewhat since I can have pretty intense anxiety about a lot of things, but the way I fight through it is by thinking about the end result. And when it comes to travel, the joy of exploring a new place is just too awesome to pass up.

      You're definitely the guru of solo travel though. I also admire you so much!


Post a Comment