All international students studying abroad in Valparaíso at the Universidad de Viña del Mar took a tour of Valparaíso, nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific” or “Little San Francisco”. This city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
Our tour guide took us on a boat ride to drop a sailor off on a large boat like the one on the right-hand side of this picture and to see the city of Valparaíso from the Pacific Ocean.
The view of Valparaíso from the boat
We saw around 30 sea lions, and even got close enough to touch one! (though they are very territorial, so I wouldn’t suggest doing so!)
The captain let us each have a turn steering the boat.
After the boat ride, we took a funicular, a diagonally-rising elevator, to the top of one of the hills and walked back down from there, exploring the lesser-known alleys that the locals use to navigate the confusing, winding hills of the city.
Valparaíso is an important shipping port in Chile.
We walked by the administrative building of the Chilean Navy in Plaza Sotomayor. Plaza Sotomayor also has the Monument of the Heroes of Iquique, the first firehouse in Chile, and the hotel “Reina Victoria”.
Street art covers the streets of the entire city with beautiful, vibrant colors.
Valparaíso is the location of the Chilean National Congress, though Santiago is the country’s capital.
Most of the houses in Valparaíso are also brightly colored. Due to the city’s humid climate, the steel houses rust so families paint their houses with brightly colored boat paint to cover up the oxidized steel. Sailors are also able to identify their houses more easily from the water if the house is distinctly colored.
Emily Shaw is the Spring 2013 CEA MOJO in Viña del Mar, Chile.
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