Our expectations were pretty well managed before we arrived in Valparaiso, or Valpo as it is generally know. Our taxi driver was full of warnings about where and when not to go out and about, and the Rough Guide say that Valpo “wears a run-down, moth-eaten air. Crime and poverty are worse than elsewhere in Chile, the sex trade is still rampant, and at night parts of the town are dangerous”. So, that’s fairly straight talking.
Our hotel is in Cerro Alegre which with Cerro Concepcion is one of the two old residential districts for merchants and businessmen in the city. Street names like Templeman remind one of the British interests there were here in the C19. The area is very nice, ‘bohemified’ rather than gentrified and full of nice restaurants, hotels etc. But the two hills are very much islands in a big city with a fully working port right at its centre and with poor quality housing spreading up the hills behind the port. It is a energetic, bustling and colourful place which is good to visit, but you would need a reason to stay here long.