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May 152014

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I live in Renaca, a 30-40 minute bus ride from Valparaiso, the UNESCO World Heritage Site once crowned “The Jewel of the Pacific”.

I make it a point to go this hilly port city every week, because I love the vibe and energy there. I don’t go uphill each time I visit, but you miss out on a lot by just exploring the flat ground area without going up the hills of Valparaiso, so I try to explore a new cerro whenever I can.

As of this writing (May 15, 2014), I’ve been to four hills. Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre twice, Cerro Polanco and Cerro Cordillera, once each. (cerro is spanish for hill.)

Cerro Concepcion & Cerro Alegre Graffiti Tour:
I was late to Plaza Anibal Pinto, where the graffiti walking tour I was joining was scheduled to meet. My group was nowhere to be found. Luckily Al the organizer responded to my What’s App message and told me where to find Elias, the guide.

I sprinted uphill to catch up, and made it, panting the whole time. The graffiti tour covers the hills of Cerro Concepcion and Alegre, and we were on our way.

One of the highlights was encountering the works of Un Kolor Distinto, a pair of artists with a distinctive style of bold colors and the characters they draw all have long noses.

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Cerro Polanco, whose entrance is off of Av. Argentina, is a unique hill. While most steep Valparaiso cerros (hills) are accessible via ascensors (what they call cable cars/ funiculars), what makes Cerro Polanco unique is that it’s the only hill with a true vertical ascensor, in the form of an actual elevator that rises 60m vertically. It was built in 1913. (read more on Wikipedia.)

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Cerro Concepcion and Alegre Part 2: Cerro Concepcion and the neighboring Cerro Alegre are probably the most popular cerros in Valparaiso. Walking tours always cover this area. I had already gone there once a few weeks back for my graffiti tour, and I liked it so much I went there a second time.
I showed my friend M around some of the places the graffiti tour guide took me to before.

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Cerro Cordillera: I accompanied my friend B to check out a small fish market near Plaza Sotomayor, Valparaiso. I wandered around while she was there, and reached the Ascensor Cordillera entrance by accident.

The elevator was inagurated in 1886 according to Wikipedia, and believe me, the shaky car felt like it.

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Ascensors Reina Victoria, Concepcion, and El Peral:
These funiculars are over a hundred years old and still running, even if somewhat shakily. It’s around 100 CLP single-trip.

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Cerro Concepcion + Alegre Part 3: My friend M wanted to try out the Valparaiso walking tour as we had a good experience doing the Santiago walking tour, so last Sunday, she and I took the 607 bus from Renaca to Valparaiso.
I always take buses that traverse Errazuriz to go to Valpo (also the 6 series, but not 607), but the 607 plies Chacabuco instead of Errazuriz…

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last update: May 21, 2014
The links on this page are arranged in reverse chronological order. (oldest at the top.)

The blue markers show the locations of the different hills. The pink markers show the locations of the ascensors (funiculars). Please zoom in if you can only see one or two.

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