Live and in Technicolor: Valparaiso is Chile’s colorful cultural capital

Posted on 26. Feb, 2013 by in Chile

Valparaiso is the polar opposite of the nearby capital, Santiago.

valparaiso colorful housesSantiago, even though only a couple of hours away from the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Andes, is a flat city populated by modern mountains of steel. Massive office buildings and condominium complexes give the center of the 7-million strong city a powerful, global feel. While there is plenty of art and architecture to be seen, from atop San Cristobal hill looking down, Santiago’s color scheme is more a range of sepia tones.

Just 120 kilometers west on the Pacific Ocean, you find almost the opposite in Chile’s cultural capital of Valparaiso, where color explodes along the rows of houses lining rows up the 45 rolling hills of this bohemian city. An alternative streak runs deep in this port city once populated by sailors and adventurers from around the world, most of whom settled here in the 19th century. Today this ingrained counter culture can be seen in the intelligent, creative street art tattooed on the already colorful houses.

valparaiso street art

colorful house valparaiso
street art valparaiso

valparaiso street art templeman street
colorful houses in valparaiso

valparaiso street art house

colorful houses valparaiso chileNot just the houses, but the entire city is bursting with colorful life, from the green trolley buses…

valparaiso trolley bus

…to the boats and ships lining the harbor…

colorful boats in valparaisoThese amazing cars hung out to ‘dry’ on the line…

Valparaiso colorful carsSigns on the houses (this one sells delicious alfajores, which are layers of cookies and dulce de leche dipped and bathed in chocolate…)

valparaiso alfajores houseEven our feline friends seem to be more colorful…
valparaiso catDoor knobs like this one…

valparaiso doorknoband this little guy?

valparaiso clown

The city’s many, many stairs are often used as canvases, too…
street art stairs valparaiso
colorful stairs in valparaisoAnd we’re not sure what look this guy was going for, but this is his private home…

valparaiso artist houseWe’ll leave you with more images of our favorite street art in Valparaiso…
street art in valparaiso
street art in valparaiso
street art in valparaiso
street art in valparaiso
valparaiso street art
valparaiso street art
valparaiso stairs and funiculars
street art in valparaiso
Valparaiso door with graffiti
valparaiso street art buildings
valparaiso painted doors

Stay tuned for more about our week in Valparaiso!

Which street art piece is your favorite? Share in the comments below...

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13 Responses to “Live and in Technicolor: Valparaiso is Chile’s colorful cultural capital”

  1. Pauline

    27. Feb, 2013

    You know, I’ve never even heard of Valparaiso until you guys wrote about it? So – THANKS!! It’s such a beautiful city, one that I’ll remember to visit when I graze South American in the near future (hopefully!).

    Oh, and beautiful pictures, as always!
    Pauline recently posted..Winter Wonderland

    Reply to this comment
    • Jess

      27. Feb, 2013

      Thanks Pauline! When you start to read more about South America, you’ll come across Valpo as it’s definitely not off the beaten path. However, many people visit just one day from Santiago, but we would highly recommend at least three days if not more to explore this city for itself!

      Reply to this comment
  2. TammyOnTheMove

    27. Feb, 2013

    The art scene looks absolutely amazing. Love it! Is that cat for real? Incredible-I have never seen a cat with two different eye colors.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Koh Kong in pictures

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      28. Feb, 2013

      Tammy – we actually ‘met’ a cat that looked just like this one in Panama City in 2011! I thought I posted a photo on Facebook but I can’t find it.. anyway, they could be sisters, seriously :)

      Reply to this comment
  3. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    28. Feb, 2013

    Wow, this looks absolutely fantastic! It’s like walking around in a living, breathing art museum! I love it when I visit a place and around every corner there are about 25 pictures that jump out at me!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (& More!) About: CHINA

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      28. Feb, 2013

      Thanks, Steph! It really felt like an outdoor museum in some places :) Especially with all the street art – I took sooooooooooo many pictures ;-)

      Reply to this comment
  4. Jam @icoSnap

    28. Feb, 2013

    This city is indeed very colorful :)
    Jam @icoSnap recently posted..Cupcakes by Sonja

    Reply to this comment
  5. Rease

    01. Mar, 2013

    I am obsessed with those hanging cars and all the painted stairs! Every time I see photos of Valparaiso I become more convinced that I must see this city.
    Rease recently posted..Skyrobics – How to Exercise on Trampolines

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      01. Mar, 2013

      You have to go one day, Rease – it’s our favorite city in chile (so far, at least!) So much color everywhere and we loved the vibe there.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Sam

    02. Mar, 2013

    Wow, amazing! Can’t wait to see it; hopefully it’s still bright and sunny by the time we get there in the autumn.
    Sam recently posted..February 2013 Report

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      04. Mar, 2013

      Thanks, Sam! I hope you’ll still have amazing weather when you get there – we sure were lucky with 7 days of sunshine and bright blue skies :)d

      Reply to this comment

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Reflections on 10 Months in South America…and What’s Next? : Indefinite Adventure - November 23, 2013

    […] What for? We love cities, and especially ones that don’t necessarily have lots of big name sights, which is exactly what we’d heard about Santiago. Valparaíso is a coastal city full of funiculars, and I have an unnatural love for funiculars! It also seems to have a really cool street art scene. […]

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