Pablo Neruda said it best: 'Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven't combed your hair, you've never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.' But Neruda wasn't the only artist to fall for Valparaíso's unexpected charms. Poets, painters and would-be philosophers have long been drawn to Chile's – no, Latin America's – most unusual city. Along with the ever-shifting port population of sailors, dockworkers and prostitutes, they've endowed gritty and gloriously spontaneous Valparaíso with an edgy air of 'anything goes.' Add to this the spectacular faded beauty of its chaotic cerros (hills), a maze of steep, sinuous streets, alleys and escaleras (stairways) piled high with crumbling mansions, and it's clear why some visitors are spending more time here than in Santiago.
Best places to stay in Valparaíso
Top 10 cities for artistic inspiration
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011 brings you the cities where history's best artistic talents had their imagination fired - and left a legacy of their inspiration behind. 1. Edinburgh Image by LunaMoth116 Scotland’s literary output is phenomenal and most of its notable writers have been influenced by the capital.
Valparaíso destination guides
Private Tour: Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso Day Trip from Santiago
Enjoy the services of your own personal guide on a private day trip exploring the coastal towns of Central Chile. Travel through wine country, stopping for a sample before arriving in the 'Garden City' of Vina del Mar. Visit the bohemian town of Valparaiso and the Pablo Neruda Museum before heading back to Santiago after a day of relaxed sightseeing.
Santiago Transfer: Santiago Airport to Valparaiso Cruise Port
For a hassle-free cruise transfer from Santiago to Valparaiso, book this economical, private-ride, door-to-door transportation service from the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) to the Port of Valparaiso. This easy and efficient transfer picks you up curbside at the Santiago airport and takes you approximately 2.5 hours to the Valparaiso cruise port.