Chile 01 — 


June 2014 – Caitlin and I went on a month long journey through Chile and snuck away to Valparaíso for a few days. Locally known as "Valpo" – it’s nestled off the coast of central Chile and has some deep, rugged bohemian vibes. It’s historic rise and tragic fall has put quite a strain on the city as it struggles to redefine itself.

Little San Francisco

In 1850 during The California Gold Rush (before the Panama Canal was built) Valpo became a crucial stopping point for all ships making the feverish journey around the South American peninsula. Travelers nicknamed it "Little San Francisco" because of the similar landscapes the two cities shared.

“Serrano street (below) was once THE wealthiest street in all Latin America”

From 1848–1858 

European merchants setup a colorful and exotic marketplace along these streets to capitalize on the return voyagers and their newly found gold/wealth. This meteoric rise put Valpo on the map among the wealthiest in the world. however,  we were advised not stick around here after dark.

Culture Capital

Once the Panama Canal opened, returning ships opted for the much quicker and more economic route bypassing South America all together. Practically overnight, merchants evacuated the city along with all its lifeforce. It's taken a while but Valpo is slowly beginning to find itself all over again, artists have slowly migrated back to the city transforming it into "Chile's Cultural Capital". There's such a beautiful balance to the chaos that’s hard to describe. Streets, alleyways and staircases weave rampantly through the hills creating an urban maze. Giant murals and artwork spread throughout the city begin to tell the story of Valpo's beautifully broken soul... I think that's what I fell in love with the most. We’ll be back!