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Written from a Port

Marcelo SolaMarcelo Sola

A port city, Valparaíso reveals the lifestyle of seamen. Multicolored boats take hold of the scene.

Visit to the Port of Valparaíso

Valparaíso has been famous from the very beginning, when sailing ships from Europe took the long route through Cape Horn, before the Panamá Channel was built. It has been an inspiration for hundreds of artists who laid their senses in front of the bay that shelters it. It has witnessed the nation’s progress and, in the early 1900s, it was the entrance for hundreds of immigrants coming from Germany, Italy, Great Britain and Spain. Like every important port in the world, Valparaiso is closely connected to the history of its country.

Just by walking in front of the pier, a characteristic smell is immediately detected. People speak a different language there. Hundreds of impatient seagulls wait for a fishing boat full of seafood to dock.

Visit to the Port of Valparaíso

Prat Pier is the only place with public access where it is possible to see the activity of big ships and loading cranes night and day. To get there, we went through the little square located in front of Sotomayor Square, which is surrounded by the Customs building and the Park Administration building.

Opposite, there is an anchorage for small crafts. Hundreds of multicolored motorboats wait for tourists to go on the traditional tour off the city shores. The best thing to do is wait until the afternoon so that the sun lets tourists have a better appreciation of the huge natural amphitheater where the city is built. On one side of the port, there are the docks for the oceanic ships.

Visit to the Port of Valparaíso

A noisy environment runs through the whole esplanade. At noon, the smell of seafood begins to escape from the stalls and restaurants nearby. There is also a handicraft market. From a dry dock, it is possible to admire a replica of the Santiaguillo caravel in which navigator Juan de Saavedra traveled from El Callao to bring provisions to conqueror Diego de Almagro.

The breakwater that protects boats from heavy storms can be seen above the sea. Its construction was a port engineering feat, since it is more than 100 meters deep.
Rude sailors are in charge of picking up the nets, dropping anchors and moving heavy panels so as to reach the solid ground they yearn. On the other side, hundreds of piled up containers offer a colorful show in the duty-free zone.

Life seems to spread in slow motion in the historic Valparaíso port. In this area, the sea is endlessly blue and the sun shines bright.

Visit to the Port of Valparaíso
Welcome Chile - Outings in Valparaiso
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Location

Caracteristics

Duration

2 hours

Difficulty

low

Useful Data

Opening hours

All day

Bear in mind

It is advisable to begin the tour in the port, off the city shores. Motorboats usually depart after midday. We recommend that the tour begins at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to take better pictures of Valparaíso.


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