Chile’s allure can be attributed to many factors, not limited to incredible topography (mountains and beaches are equally accessible), a rich literary and cultural heritage, and the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen! The fact that Nobel laureates Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda are both Chilean seldom goes unnoticed among students and connoisseurs of Hispanic literature and culture. Chile continues to be a prominent player in the global economy and has excellent political relations with several major economic players.
Valparaiso and Viña del Mar
Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are sister cities located in central Chile, halfway down the Pacific coast. The region acts as a meeting point between the foothills of the Andes Mountains and the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. Though neighbors, these cities could not be more different. Valparaíso was described as “The Jewel of the Pacific” by the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and this colorful and thriving port city is primarily known for its artistic scene, economic importance, and rich colonial history. Valpo’s architecture climbs up the sides of 48 hills which surround the bay and feature an impressive chaotic layout of streets, alleys and stairways. Its old-fashioned lifts, or acensores, with their characteristic yellow and red colors, were built over 100 years ago and are still used today. The intricate alleys hide many architectural treasures such as colonial churches and beautiful miradores. Just a single street separates Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, and Viña’s block-style streets may come as a surprise. The brightly-colored houses on the hillsides in Valparaíso make way for neutral-toned, sleek high-rise buildings in Viña. Viña del Mar is a luxurious and cosmopolitan beach resort city, boasting some of the most popular beaches in the region. As a social and commercial hub, Viña is a top destination for foreign and local tourists alike. With a total population of 564,000 these two cities are full of culture and life.