Is it safe and feasible to drive from Santiago to Vaparaiso?
WE ARE TRAVELLING TO SANTIAGO, CHILE, MID-YEAR AND HAVING READ ABOUT VALPARAISO WAS WONDERING ABOUT RENTING A CAR FROM SANTIAGO TO VISIT THE CITY OVERNIGHT. WE WOULD THEN RETURN THE CAR TO SANTIAGO AIRPORT TO CATCH OUR RED-EYE FLIGHT TO COLOMBIA. I REALISE THEY DRIVE ON THE RIGHT BUT IS IT SAFE AND ACHIEVABLE FOR US MERE AUSTRALIANS? WOULD BE NEEDING A GPS. R. G.
It`s perfectly safe and feasible to drive from Santiago to Valparaiso, even for mere Australians! It’s about a 2½ hour drive along a fast, divided highway once you get outside the city limits. Santiago’s airport is on the way back from Valparaiso so no real problem there either. A GPS device would make your journey a lot easier, and your car hirer can provide one with English language voice prompts. Sprawling across hills that leap from Chile’s Pacific shore, Valparaiso is Chile’s cultural cauldron, a hubble-bubble of creative energy, vitality, and itchy spirits out to bend the rules. Avoid the flat area around the port – and watch out for pickpockets – but focus your attention on the hills, specifically the writhing streets of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción, furnished with a mad and chaotic tangle of Frenchified manor houses, Swiss-style cottages, turreted mansions and creaking iron shanties with Romeo-and-Juliet balconies. Valpo fell on hard ties after the opening of the Panama Canal, and has only recently been resuscitated and recognised for its unique architecture and culture with a World Heritage listing. Threaded through the cultural landmarks is a raffish assembly of galleries, restaurants, boutiques and bars popular with the international bohemian arts brigade. Some of these artists have taken their brushes to the streetscapes, decorating the houses with huge murals. Try Casa Higueras for your overnight stay.