Introduction to Valparaiso. Why is it UNESCO heritage?
If you ever travel to Chile, chances are very high that you start in Santiago. In our opinion a very pleasant capital with lots of green parks, cozy cafes and bustling nightlife. However, don’t miss the cultural highlight of your trip: Valparaiso. If you like art and culture, you’ll LOVE Valparaiso.
Valparaiso is mostly known for its colorful houses and graffiti art. Many painters, artists and poets have found their way to Valparaiso and made it their sketchbook. This harbor city was built, just like Rome, on several hills. So be prepared, if you want to go on an art hunt, you’ll take many stairs. Thankfully there are also elevators and most stairs are a work of art in itself! They even have slides instead of stairs. How cool is that!
But how do you get to Valparaiso from Santiago? Is it also via a slide? Unfortunately not. But it’s not really hard. The easiest and most budget friendly method is first take a metro and afterwards a 90 minute bus.
In the next paragraphs you will find all the info you need for transportation, finding your way in Valparaiso and some firsthand travel tips.
How to get from Santiago to Valparaiso by local transport
Santiago metro lines
The first thing you need to do is go to the bus terminal in Santiago. The easiest way to transport yourself to the bus terminal is via the subway of Santiago. In fact the bus terminal is just outside the metro stop “Pajaritos” on the main metro line 1 (red). Once you get of the metro, just walk to the exit and you will find 8 bus ticket boots on your right and the different buses on your left. Chile has a very straightforward and easy to use subway system in Santiago.
- Duration: about 10-15 minutes from “Los Heroes”
- Frequency: every 2-5 minutes, metros in Santiago are very fast
- Price: one-way ticket costs 600-700 pesos depending if it is rush hour or not
- Take the “SAN PABLO” direction on line 1
- Avoid rush hour (7-9am and 5-7pm)
- “Permisso” is the keyword to say if someone is in your way when you want to get out of the metro
- You only need to buy one metro ticket, regardless of how many times you change line
Buying your bus tickets from Santiago to Valparaiso
As said before, you can’t really miss the ticket boots. Just before you go out of the metro building you have all the different bus companies at your right side. You have a lot of companies to choose from. The biggest and most well-known are Turbus and Pullman. They don’t differ much in price and comfort as they are all pretty good value and quality. So next step, buy your tickets and show it to the bus driver at the other side of the ticket boots.
Santiago to Valparaiso bus tips:
- Frequency: buses run every 20 minutes, from 7 AM in the morning to 10 PM in the evening
- Duration: about 70-90 minutes depending on the amount of traffic
- Price: one-way ticket costs 5000 – 7000 pesos
- No need to buy your tickets in advance as there are a lot of bus companies
- You can buy your return ticket in advance, in this case ask for “un boleto de vuelta”
Getting from the bus terminal to the center of Valparaiso
When arriving at the bus terminal in Valparaiso it is still a fair 25 minute walk to the city center. Luckily there are a lot of buses that take you straight to “Plaza Sotomayor”. Just walk through the buildings at the bus terminal until you see the park “Plaza O’Higgins” in front of you. Cross the street to the other side and you will see a lot of people waiting at bus stops. Most of the buses stop in the center, but the most convenient route is to take bus 505 as it goes straight to Plaza Sotomayor. This square is the heart of the city and is also the meeting point to join a free walking tour, which we totally recommend.
Bus terminal to Valparaiso city center tips:
- Frequency: busses run very frequently (every 5 – 10 minutes)
- Duration: about 10 minutes (1,5 km distance)
- Get off at: Plaza Sotomayor
- Price: one-way ticket costs 200 – 400 pesos
Getting back from Valparaiso to Santiago
When you want to head back to Santiago you go to the same bus terminal in Valparaiso. The process is similar, just go to the ticket boots of the bus company of your choice. If you already bought a return ticket you still have to validate your seats at the ticket booth. Keep in mind that you will arrive in a different metro station in Santiago called “Estacion central”. This metro station is located more in the center of the city, also on line 1.
Getting to Valparaiso is not difficult at all and very worth it. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,