It's a little jazz bar half way up a hill in the scruffy, poetic quarters of Ecuador 169, Valparaiso. Careful, it's a rough hill. To enter, you step through a doorway of stone piano keys.
No English spoken, no beer from a glass, no smoking ban. The place is thick with jazz smoke and there are instruments littered against every corner and wall. Sometimes the regulars will pick up a sax or a guitar and just start to jam, cigarettes hanging from their mouths. This isn't amateur stuff—the standard of the music is incredible..
If you want a beer, you sometimes have to wait for the owner to come back with a slab of cans from the supermarket. Then the party is on. Small place with a hot, lively atmosphere. Named after Henry Chinaski—the most famous bar-fly in American literature.
Ecuador 169, Valparaiso, Chile
Google map: bit.ly/UlK6f2
La Sebastiana - once the home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda - is worth the puff up the steep hills of colourful Valparaiso. Evoking the poet's strong attachment with the sea in its wonderful details, from the port hole windows to the nautical paraphernalia and ship drinks bar. The view out over the cluster of brightly painted corrugated houses and sea beyond, leaves you understanding why Neruda loved Valparaiso and La Sebastiana.
Collado, 1, Valparaíso Valparaíso Region, Chile
+56(0)32 222 0092
Google map: bit.ly/q5oc5H
•March to December: Thuesday to sunday 10:10 to 18:00 hours.
•January and february: Thuesday to sunday 10:30 to 18:50 hours.
•General entrance: $3.000 each person.
•Students and seniors: $1.500 each person (presenting college credential or school pass).
Very nice hostel on a cool, residential hill (very near Pablo Neruda's house/museum). I think it fits the qualities to be part of the boutique hostel list. It was also chosen as a Lonely Planet tip I think.
Héctor Calvo 371, Cerro Bellavista, hostalcaracol.cl/
A full day trip from Valparaiso is the hike up Cerro la Campana. Darwin made the trip up in 1834 and declared it one of the highlights of his journey. It's a 3-4 hour, reasonably tough but non-technical hike up to the top where you will be rewarded with incredible views of the Andes (including Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas) on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Quite spectacular.
Take 2-3 litres of water, some snacks, and get there early - 9am at the latest to ensure you're first to the top. Around 8.30am the ranger will turn up and sign you in. You cannot start the climb after 10am.
Sector Granizo just past Olmue, 45 minutes drive from Valparaiso
More info and photos: corrugatedcity.blogspot.com/2008/04/cerro-la-campana-ii.html and corrugatedcity.blogspot.com/2008/04/cerro-la-campana.html
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