Travel Advice for Valparaiso Chile

Everett’s Advice


Here are some quick tips I can give anyone interested in traveling to Valparaiso.

First of all, if you are allergic to dogs, this city would be a very difficult place to visit. I have found that the dogs seem to understand who the tourists are and follow them begging for food. It is important that you do not pet the dogs, and pay no attention to them. As no matter how cute they may be, they are still stray dogs.

Secondly before visiting understand that this city is a colourful picturesque city filled with art, which is even more impressive in person, however, it is also one of the poorest cities in Chile. Because of this, some areas can become dangerous to visit specifically the tops of the hills. Also currently with a labour strike going on downtown, there are armoured military vehicles prepared to control the situation. Therefore a pretty and safe place to live would be at the base of a hill.

I believe this city will show you the real culture of the Chilean people. I have found Chileans to be very kind and inclusive. I showed up to a park and was asked to join a basketball game right away. In addition, our family was invited to watch a soccer game of our friendly tour guide.

So far in Chile, we have done a tour for tips which was educational and I would highly recommend. We also took a Chilean cuisine cooking class that taught us about the importance of only buying seafood from the indoor fish market.


Aquí son alguna aconsejo de viajan a valparaíso Chile. Son muchos perros en esta ciudad, pero no da los perros comida o atención. Segundo, este ciudad es muy bonito, pero además muy pobre. Es poco peligroso alto en los cerros y en el puerto. Un buen lugar para vivir sería el fondo de los cerros. Esta ciudad te enseñará sobre la cultura de Chile. Los chilenos son muy amables y te incluyen. Mi familia hizo una clase de cocina y un paseo que fue benéfica.

Ian’s advice

What is some advice for people who want to travel to Valparaiso?

1. Don’t spend too much time in Santiago.

Santiago is Chile’s capital, and as such, is actually quite a rich city, with many chain restaurants that can be found also be found in other countries. If you spend too much time in Santiago, you will have a harder time adjusting to the WAY poorer Valparaiso.

2. Don’t be scared to see stuff!

You may have heard that Valparaiso is a dangerous city, and you might get robbed. Valparaiso is just like any other big city. You might get pickpocketed in New York! If you just use common sense, you should be fine.

3. Enjoy all the amazing activities you can!

Look at all the beautiful graffiti! There are tons of really great restaurants and places to go and things to see! After all, it’s not every day that you spend in Valparaiso!

¡La gente aquí es muy amable! Además, la comida también es muy buena.

No hablo Español. Hablo Inglés. ¿Hablas Inglés?

First Impressions of Chile

Everett writes:

The truth about Santiago


Santiago is hot like I thought, but only during midday, when the sun is out. It reached upwards of the mid ’80s in the sun, however before 10:00 AM and after 8:00 PM the temperature drops to mid-’70s and is very enjoyable. These times also happen to be when many people flock to the beautiful public parks. I found a nice park a few blocks from our apartment and was able to play a one on one game of basketball.

The city has many parks and a surprising number of trees for how dry the climate feels. The city does have a river running through it, but the river is nearly all dried up at this time and the surrounding mountains are quite sparse and dusty.

Chilean food seems to consist mostly of cheese and bread, for example, we had pizza the first day, empanadas on the second and a ham and cheese sandwich on the third. We found several people who spoke English and helped us when we needed it, but a surprising amount of people spoke only Spanish.

Santiago is busy and like most cities, there is no room for trash so it ends up on the sidewalk or street making the sidewalks smell like garbage. Overall I’m not a big fan of cities so I will admit my bias, that said Santiago seems like a relatively safe and well-kept city but not somewhere I would want to live for six months. 

The truth about Valparaiso


Valparaiso is a picturesque city with street art everywhere. In addition, Valparaiso showed us a side of Chile we did not see in our apartment in Santiago. We watched on TV as we ate in an empanada restaurant downtown that the port workers in Valparaiso were protesting and that they had been on strike for a month. The very next day our tour met in the square where the protest had begun the day before and the teargas left over made my eyes tear up and my nose run.

Overall Valparaiso has a strong connection to protesting and standing up to the greed of the wealthier classes. We learned that workers in Valparaiso sometimes make less than ten dollars in a whole day. Because of this poverty, Valparaiso is not very well kept, a problem that becomes obvious no matter which block you walk down is the stray dogs and dog poop that is not being cleaned up.

Valparaiso is made up of several different hills and some of the streets are so steep that cars can barely make it up. There are so many alleys and staircases throughout the different hills that it can be very confusing to get around. I was intimidated when I first saw the City but it is already growing on me and I am enjoying exploring new areas every day and seeing beautiful murals and views everywhere I look. 

Ian writes:

My first impressions of Chile are somewhat mixed. On one hand, I am now living in a city that’s sunny and warm, on the other, I’m now living in a city that has active protests and riots. Valparaiso is very nice, it has some lovely murals, but it’s dirty, poor, and potentially dangerous. Chile is very nice, but it has a lot of problems. On top of that, I don’t speak Spanish very well, and the heat gets to me easily. I am not very sure how I feel about Chile. 


Valparaiso looks like a beautiful city, there are hills everywhere, and colourful murals on the sides of buildings. The people here are very nice, they seem welcoming and inclusive from what I could tell of them. The food here is different than in America, with a lot of restaurants serving variations of ham, cheese, and bread. I’ve had to expand my pallet a lot and its only been a week here. Yes, Valparaiso is a big city, but it seems nice.


Unfortunately, Valparaiso has a lot of problems. It seems that half the city has gone on strike at some point, and currently there are semi-violent protests that are happening in the streets. Valparaiso is also one of the poorest cities in all of Chile. Since Valparaiso is a big city, it’s smelly and gross. People don’t seem to be protecting this city, even though Valparaiso is widely regarded as the cultural capital of Chile.

All in all, I’m unsure of the next couple of months in Valparaiso; it should be interesting. I just hope that at some point, people realize how beautiful Valpo could be. But, until then, I’m waiting.

Anticipations for Life in Chile

Hello family and friends!

aventura - leaving brunswick

We are on a family sabbatical, leaving our home in Brunswick, Maine, to travel in Chile, Argentina and Peru.

aventura - boston airport

As part of their home school curriculum for the next six months, Everett and Ian will be blogging to keep you all posted on our adventures. Here’s their first post, written on the way to Santiago, Chile.

aventura - santiago view


Everett writes:

It is currently 11:00 on a cold day in December, and I am about to embark on a six month long journey to South America. My name is Everett Horch, and I am a seventeen year old from Brunswick Maine. I am traveling today with my parents, Fred and Hadley, and my younger brother Ian. Before my journey gets underway let me tell you what I expect.

The way I understand it, we will be flying into Santiago, Chile’s capital, where we will stay for a few days before making the trip to our more permanent home in Valparaíso. Here are some of the things I expect in Santiago. I expect Santiago will be a bustling and very polluted city, similar to Mexico City where the mountains surrounding the city have trapped the smog. I also expect that the people in Santiago will be kind to me and my family, and that we will meet many people who speak both English and Spanish.

I think that the city streets will smell like New York City’s where the are garbage bags piled on street corners. I do not expect the city to be vibrant with art or culture, but rather more gray, like a concrete jungle. Because Santiago is inland I think it will be humid and mid 80’s and that the air will be stuffy. Overall I don’t think that Santiago will be a city that I will want to spend more than a week in.

On the other hand, I think that I will enjoy Valparaíso. I expect the temperature to be moderate, in the 70’s, and because it is a coastal town, that there will be a nice breeze. I think that there will be much more art and color in the city, and that there will be parks and soccer fields that I can walk to. I expect Valparaíso to remind me of Portland, Maine.

I think a majority of the people that we meet in Valparaíso will only be able to speak Spanish. Therefore I believe it will be very difficult to communicate during the first few months. I am fairly sure that I will be able to find a soccer team that will let me play with them, and I am sure that I will miss all of my friends from Brunswick, my Seacoast team and the track team. Tune in to our next blog post to read the real report on Santiago and Valparaíso.

Ian writes:

What I expect from Chile

    What do I think Chile is going to be like? What do I think I’m going to do? I think Valparaíso is going to be full of colours, I think that the flavour of South America will taste so sweet. I think it’s going to be confusing, bewildering. I think it’s going to be an adventure.

    When I arrive in Valparaíso, I think it’s going to amaze me, I think the vibrant colours are going to make the whole city flavorful. I want to smell the air, practically taste this certain flavour in the air. I think I’m going to be able to take stunning photos from just our rental house! All in all, I’m excited for Valparaíso.

    Seeing the culture and art of South America is going to be an experience. I want to watch the characters ride by, see what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what caused things to happen.

    Travelling down to Patagonia is going to be awesome. I’m also excited to go to the great big sand dunes in northern Chile, I’ve heard that you can ski down them, so I’m really excited.  

    All in all, I hope that Chile will be an exhilarating experience. I hope that I will have some time to relax.

Cordelia, flying from Los Angeles where she is in the middle of her first year in college, joined us a day after the rest of the family arrived. She’s on winter break and not enrolled in the Horch Academy, so no update from her here!

aventura - kids in santiago