Hi, I’m Lauren! I'm a 24-year-old expat living with a wicked case of wanderlust. Here on my blog, you’ll find everything from travel advice, destination guides, and a ridiculous love for food, to amateur photos, international shopping tips and other random musings.
As I recently said in an Instagram post, Valparaíso has become my favorite big city in all of Chile (sorry Santiago). It’s located right on the coast and such a quirky, colorful place. I never get tired of wandering the maze-like narrow streets of Cerro Alegre or sipping sweet Ají sours out on a scenic terrace overlooking the harbor.
If you ever find yourself in the Santiago area, Valparaíso is an absolute must see.
Valpo (as the locals call it) is a typical touristy day trip from Santiago, and so after many requests for info on this city, I finally decided to craft this guide. I myself have done the trip many times on the weekends, and after lots of experimenting and testing, I like to think I’ve near perfected my itinerary.
Here’s how I like to spend my time in Valparíso:
9 AM Breakfast on Cerro Alegre
If you happen to be arriving to Valparaíso in the morning or have stayed over the night before, I would suggest getting as early of a start as possible to take full advantage of the day. Unfortunately, Chile’s culture wasn’t exactly designed for early risers, so you won’t find much open (not even coffee shops) before 10 AM. Very strange for this New Yorker.
Luckily in past visits to Valpo I discovered a little breakfast café, right in the middle of all the action- on the city’s famed Cerro Alegre. Desayunador opens its doors at 9 AM, has got pretty fast service (often hard to come by in Chile) and an all-day breakfast menu of eggs, toast, freshly squeezed fruit juice, pancakes and more! Its the perfect spot to fuel up before the day of exploring ahead. El Desayunador, Almirante Montt, 399
11:30 La Sebastiana Museum
After enjoying a hearty breakfast head over to check out one of Valpo’s main tourist attractions, La Sebastiana Museum- the former Valparaíso residence of Chile’s famed poet, Pablo Neruda. I’m not usually one for crowded touristy sites, but this one is worth checking out. With sprawling views over the city and harbor below, you’re free to explore all 3 levels of Neruda’s hilltop home, getting an inside look at some of the writer’s personal belongings, historic 1950’s style and sources of inspiration.
I recommend getting to La Sebastiana in the morning as entry works on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Also, keep in mind that the Sebastiana house is closed on Mondays.
Entry costs $7,000 CLP per person
La Sebastiana Museo de Pablo Neruda, Ricardo de Ferrari 692
1:00 PM A ride on Valpo’s Historic Elevators
At this point in the day, you’ve probably already realized that Valpo is hilly AF. You’d be sure to get into great shape wandering around this city for a while.
Thankfully for Valparaíso residents, this has been taken into consideration and 16 elevators have been installed around the city to make their hilly commutes less daunting- and thankfully for you, anyone can take them for a spin (for the equivalent of less than a dollar)! It wouldn’t be a true trip to Valpo without experiencing one of these historic lifts, and this one happens to conveniently drop you off right around the corner from your lunch spot!
Once you arrive at the top, allow yourself a few minutes to take in yet another breathtaking view from the balcony and then walk on over to El Peral.
El Peral Lift, Plaza de la Justicia
1:30 PM Lunch on El Peral’s Picturesque Terrace
On to my favorite part of the day- lunch at Restaurante El Peral. If you know me at all, you know eating (especially when traveling) is not something I take lightly. I tell just about everyone, who’s visiting Valparaíso or not, that El Peral is one of the best restaurants in all of Chile, and I firmly stand by that statement. I have to admit that when I’m in the area, I rarely go anywhere else for lunch, but you know what they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The terrace at El Peral reminds me of a secret garden and is an incredibly cozy corner to relax and enjoy your midday meal. Their menu is incredible and never fails to impress me, featuring fresh local ingredients and a modern twist on traditional Chilean cuisine.
Be sure to check out their menú, as the chef’s change selections daily, but there’s sure to be something for everyone. If you’re lucky enough to catch them on a day when ceviche or pastel de jaiba (a pot-pie like baked crab dish) is on the menú, don’t hesitate- just order it. If you’re up for it, compliment your meal with a classic ají sour.
El Peral #182, Cerro Alegre
*Call ahead or email for a reservation.
Three Options for your Afternoon
When I’m getting to know a new place, I’m a big fan of walking and wandering, and so I’ve done just about every walking tour offered in the city of Valparíso. The best way to uncover all of Valpo’s hidden treasures is by foot, taking notice of all the little nooks and crannies and incredible street art along the way.
Here are my two favorites (& one of my own):
Option 1- Valparaíso Highlights- A Free Walking Tour with Tours 4 Tips
The 3 hour Valparaíso Highlights Tour is the best way to get your first introduction to the history and colorful culture of Valpo. All of the Tours 4 Tips guides know this city like the back of their hand (I should know, I think I’ve met just about all of them) and are great resources to ask questions and get recommendations.
On this tour, you’ll visit the port, learn the history of the Valparaíso elevators (or funiculars) and explore Cerro Alegre some more! If you’re interested in the history and many stories behind this dynamic city, this is the tour for you.
This 2-hour tip-based street art tour is sure to give you your daily dose of Valpo color. Not only will your GraFREEti guide bring you around to see some of the city’s long-standing influential pieces, but they’ll also show you brand new (sometimes even in-progress) designs. Valparaíso has become an international hub for street art and artists from all over the world, who come to leave their mark on the city’s walls, streets, stairs, and well, any other surface they find fit!
On this tour, you’ll learn all about both international artists and some of Valparaíso’s very own, as well as visit some popular sites and off-the-beaten-path gems.
The GraFREEti tour starts 3:30 PM and meets in Plaza Anibal Pinto, right in front of the Neptune Statue. Keep in mind- the tour takes place every day except for Sunday.
Option 3- My DIY Street Art Tour
If you’re a fan of art, but would rather leisurely explore or take on your afternoon without a strict time restriction, check out my “Where to Find Street Art in Valparaíso” guide. In this blog post, I cover some of my favorite pieces around the city, the story behind them and even a map with where to find them! Start with my guide and then continue wandering to find some of your own favorites!
6:30 PM Recess!
Now is your time to shine!
If you’re tired from all the walking, sit and take a break at a corner café (a few of my favorites are Café Entre Cerros, Amor Porteño, and Dulce Pols) or if you’re really exhausted, head back to your accommodation for a mid-afternoon nap. (Yes, 6 PM qualifies as afternoon in Chile).
If you’re feeling energized and ready to keep on going, check out some of the local artisan shops in Galería Galvez or if you’re feeling up to it, continue wandering about on your own and see what you find!
9 PM Dinner at Fauna
After all long day of exploring, I’m sure you’re ready to kick back, relax and indulge in dinner!
Fauna is one of the most popular restaurants in Valparaíso, and with good reason. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for- which is great service, an awesome ambiance, tasty dishes and one heck of a view! It’s located in the heart of Cerro Alegre in an old traditional building from the 1870’s and is a great spot to spend your evening.
If you choose to have dinner at Fauna, be sure to make a reservation, or be ready to wait a while. This spot is always packed!
Somehow have the energy to continue your night? Check out Terraza Bellavista, a 3-story “discoteca” with different music on every level. Check out the night’s events on their Facebook page and make sure to make your way up to the rooftop bar for one last view overlooking the sparkling night lights of the harbor!
Have you ever heard of Valaparaíso? Would you like to visit this city one day?
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If I’m being honest, this wasn’t an easy list to make.
Finding the best burgers in Santiago took a lot of research, a lot of commitment and a lot of belt loosening.
But who am I kidding… I enjoyed every minute and every bite…
Lucky for me burgers are all the rage in Santiago right now. And yes, I’ve realized that Chileans are a few years late on the burger train. But hey, I’m not complaining.
A few weeks ago I decided to challenge myself to find the best burgers in the city and asked my fellow expats over in the Discover Chile Facebook Group for their expert recommendations. Well, let’s just say, I never expected to get so many!! This project took way longer than I thought- I had a long list of burgers to try- but I’m happy to say I finally made it through the majority of my list.
I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list over time, and I’m also sure I missed a few key spots, but for now, I’m pretty confident (& happily satisfied) with what I’ve found. I’ve even become a repeat offender at a few of these joints.
Here are my top burger picks in Santiago:La Maestranza
La Maestranza isn’t the easiest place to get to, but their burgers are worth going out of your way for- the chefs in this place don’t mess around. If you’re a gourmet burger lover who enjoys the full experience, ie. a chic setting, trendy beverages, and quality service- you’ll easily fall in love with La Maestranza.
My Burger Pick: ‘La Maestra Sexy’- a grass-fed beef burger filled with Philadelphia cream cheese and topped with cheddar cheese jalepeños, bacon, caramelized onions, greens and drizzled with a sweet raspberry sauce.
On the topic of gourmet burgers, let’s quickly talk about La Burguesía. This restaurant is a favorite among Santiaguinos, and I have to admit, they’re on to something. While Chileans, in general, haven’t proven to be the most adventurous eaters I’ve encountered, the menu at La Burguesía definitely pushes the boundaries, and it seems to have worked.
With inventive creations and fun names to go along with them, there’s sure to be a burger to fit every taste.
My Burger Pick: ‘Grillada’- a burger served between two grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches, topped with bacon, caramelized onion, blue cheese, a beer BBQ sauce, and mayo.
Note: The chefs at La Burguesía tend to cook their burgers pretty rare, so if you don’t like your meat near bloody, be sure to tell your waiter medium to well-done.
So I have to admit, no one suggested Aleman Experto to me. This one made the list because the first time I tried to go to La Burguesía the wait was ridiculously long and my stomach was already growling. Cue the restaurant right next door- Aleman Experto.
Their burgers aren’t quite as ‘put together’ as their infamous counterpart, but this place really surprised me! Not a half bad alternative, dare I say it, maybe even just as good…
My Burger Pick: ‘The Suprema Experto’- burger topped with cheddar cheese, pickles, onion rings, bacon, BBQ sauce and a touch of peanut butter.
I know what you’re thinking- how on Earth did Carl’s Jr make it on to this list … BUT, one of my readers challenged me to give them a fair try, and I have to say, as far as burgers go, Carl’s JR ain’t half bad. Especially as far as fast food goes…
If you’re in a rush or simply looking for a low-cost option, stop at one of these joints.
My Burger Pick: ‘The Guacamole Bacon burger’- charbroiled Angus beef patty topped with guacamole, bacon, pepper-Jack cheese, Santa Fe sauce, red onions, tomato and lettuce on a seeded bun.
*Low carb options available with lettuce wraps instead of a bread bun.
California Cantina is one of the only true American sports bars you’ll find in Santiago. It’s owned by a California-born gringo, so you can trust this place knows its burgers. If you’re looking to enjoy your meal among other (American) football fans or simply just in the mood for some classic US-style comfort food, this is the spot for you.
My Burger Pick: ‘Chula Vista’- a Beef burger topped with cheese, shrimp, calamari, ‘Baja’ green mix, cilantro, and Ranch.
Like Cali Cantina above, Uncle Fletch is another typical Gringo hangout with two extremely popular locations in Santiago. It’s got a great social atmosphere and the restaurant is styled like a high-end American sports bar. They offer an awesome selection of beers (often with new varieties to try) and their menu heavily relies on their authentic juicy and savory burgers. They also serve some pretty hefty portions, so plan to get a bang for your buck!
My Burger Pick: ‘The Julia Child Burger’- 175g beef burger topped with arugula, goat cheese, eggplant zucchini and red onion ratatouille, sun-dried tomatoes and ‘Julia Child’ sauce served on sesame seed Brioche bun.
*Veggie and low carb options available with lettuce wraps instead of a bread bun.
The best way I can describe StreatBurger is a mix between Shake Shack and Cali’s beloved ‘In and Out’ – just your classic, all American hamburger. Their burgers are exactly what the name suggests- street-style and in my opinion, damn delicious.
My Burger Pick: ‘Blue Burger’- beef burger topped with blue cheese, arugula, grilled onions and Streat Burger’s own mayo. Oh and I’d definitely order a side of their cheddar bacon fries.
Average Burger Price: $5.000
Locations: Avenida Isidora Goyenechea 3199, Las Condes and a second location at Parque Arauco
La Antojería might not look like much from the outside, but don’t let that steer you away. In my opinion, their burgers are some of the best in town, not to mention they boast one of the most impressive beer menus I’ve seen so far in Santiago. They also value presentation which is easily noted in their popular ‘Gringa Segunda’ burger- served on a plate piled high with huge crispy onion rings!
My Burger Pick: ‘Gringa Segunda’- Freshly made beef burger topped with bacon, bbq sauce, spicy onion rings and cheddar cheese. (Be warned- this thing is MASSIVE)
Franklin is a bit of a trek from Central Santiago, but I promise after you taste these juicy burgers, you’ll be happy you made the journey. Franklin is a food truck located inside a bigger food court style establishment, and even though it’s only open on the weekends from 12-6, this place makes a KILLING. Seriously, if you’d like to eat your burger within a reasonable time frame, get there a few minutes before this place even opens. Otherwise, expect a lengthy line.
My Burger Pick: ‘Picante’- beef burger topped with hot sauce, lettuce, Chilean mantecoso cheese, picked ají pepper, red onion, and pickles.
Average Burger Price: $6.000 with fries and a drink.
Location: Ing Obrecht 2119, Santiago- Barrio Franklin, inside La Persa Flea Market
When I arrived at the Burger Truck, the first thing I noticed was their interesting setup. They serve high end fast food-style burgers, with a food truck atmosphere complete with picnic tables and string lights, all built into a fixed establishment. Pretty cool.
Their burgers may not be the biggest or the fanciest, but if you’re in the area and looking for a fast meal, they’re just about perfect.
My Burger Pick: ‘Españolisima’- a beef burger topped with cheddar cheese, roasted peppers, sauteed spinach, egg and crispy onions.
Average Burger Price: $7.200
Locations: The rooftop food court of Mall Alto Las Condes, Mall Plaza Los Dominicos and Azotea Urbana at Plaza Engaña.
I immediately fell in love with Bravo 951’s social Biergarten-like atmosphere! Their understated industrial decor, creative list of cocktails and delicious burgers plates, generous enough to share, make for the perfect night out with friends.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that their service could use some improvement, but if you’re looking for a spot with great music, good food, and a hip modern ambiance, look no further.
My Burger Pick: ‘Famosa de Queso Cheddar’- Burger filled with cheddar cheese, with onions cooked in red wine, grilled mushrooms, watercress and drizzled with a creamy blue cheese sauce.
Average Burger Price: $9.000
Location: Bravo, 951 in Providencia. [Hence the name]
Loom is a Bellavista brewpub built into an old converted house, specializing in craft beer and burgers. It’s a funky spot for after work drinks, and they happen to have a pretty impressive offering of burgers to accompany their extensive list of domestic and imported beers.
My Burger Pick: ‘Hawaii’- a 200-gram beef burger topped with grilled pineapples, bacon cheddar cheese, and red cabbage kraut.
I just wouldn’t feel right leaving out one of my new favorite vegan restaurants in Santiago- Adhana. Yes, I said Vegan. Am I Vegan? I think it’s pretty obvious from this list that I’m the furthest thing from it. Still, this place is worth a mention.
Never in my life did I imagine that a veggie-heavy burger could be so satisfying. I can safely say that Adhana belongs in the running with the above beef burgers- EASY.
Don’t believe me? I wasn’t always a believer either. You’ll just have to taste them for yourself.
My burger pick: ‘Spicy Burger’- Black bean and quinoa burger served on beat bread with red cabbage, avocado, alfalfa sprouts and drizzled with dijon mustard, Adhana’s own spicy sauce, and homemade smooth cashew butter.
I’ve been running around (as per usual) and continent-hopping for a family wedding over the past few days, so Sarah from SupBoardGuide is taking over the blog today! She’s here giving us her perfect ‘One Day Itinerary for Canggu in Bali!’
Sarah currently lives in Canggu and says it’s one of the up and coming places in Bali. Still, it’s nice as it’s not as touristy as other regions yet and has a more relaxed vibe. She’s been living in Canggu for a few months and finally feels like she’s settling in. She also considers herself water-obsessed and your go-to gal for all things SUP, surfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, rafting and even diving!
One day to see it all.
One day to try it all.
If you only had one day to do it all.
What would you do?
After living in Canggu for 6 months, I think I nailed my daily routine.
Please, let me enlighten you!
As far as money: all references to $$$ will be in AUD here on out
ONE DAY ITINERARY IN CANGGU, BALI:
I’m an early riser. So you might find my routine abhorrent. But if you want to get the best bang for your buck in one day, early mornings should be your thing too!
Starting The Day
I loved starting my day at Cafe Vida with a (sort of) bulletproof coffee. It’s about a ten-minute walk from the central hub of Canggu. It’s a health food cafe and a tasty treat for breakfast too.
If you are one those who needs breakfast straight away, I recommend trying a bulletproof out! It helps keeps those hunger pains away and leaves you with WAY more energy for your morning.
I understand if merely the thought of skipping breakfast gives you heart palpitations.
So here’s my breakfast suggestions!
Canteen – Only about an 8min walk from the hub. They have breakfast meal deals. Things like eggs, toast, fruit and coffee for around $8!
SATU SATU – This place was MY FAVOURITE. One salmon bagel, a V60 coffee (kopi) and croissant, please! The downfall is it’s in Berawa, which is the next beach over heading towards Seminyak. If you don’t plan on driving it’s tricky to get to SATU SATU. If you do plan on driving you’ll have to cross…. The Shortcut**. DAH DAH DUUUUUM.
** The Shortcut. The shortcut is notorious for being even more blocked up than Bali’s sewerage systems. It’s not only traffic that’s bad, but it’s also the fact the road is hardly wide enough for 1 car and 1 scooter. I loved the rush personally, but, I am exceptionally used to driving bikes.
Moving the Day Forwards
There are loads of options in Canggu and also close by! Here was some of my go to’s…
Option #1: Hit the Waves
Go paddle boarding or surfing at Batu Bolong aka Old Mans! Are you a beginner? Stick to the whitewash! If you want lessons, hit up Paris, he’s the first man on the right-hand side as you enter the carpark. I also hired my boards from him regularly, absolute..wait for it…LEGEND!
Option #2: Did someone say SHOPPING?!
Browse the streets upon streets of retail galore. There are brands like “Afends”, and many independent fashionistas flaunting their garments, most of which are made in Bali. It’s much more western than Seminyak or Kuta as far as shopping goes so expect to see prices a little higher.
Ice bath/sauna and steam room with lap pool and gym!
Option #6: Chillax
If you’re going for the Chill Option, take a towel and head to the beach. You don’t need to walk far to find yourself a quieter spot away from the hustle. There are heaps of spots to choose from to set up on a beanbag or sunchair for the day with nearby vendors selling cold coconuts and other beverages. You don’t have to pay to use them, but it’s expected and respectful to buy something from the vendor that the seating arrangements belong to. A coconut will cost you around 15,000 – 20,000 (1.50 – 2 AUD).
Where to Stuff your Face Throughout the Day
If there is one part of Canggu that I’ll forever miss – it’s the food. I’m a food junkie loud and proud. The restaurants are cheap (well cheaper than Australia), healthy (maybe not the gelato), fresh and the service is amazing!
The sunsets in Canggu are every day’s main attraction. The striking reds, oranges, pinks streak the sky and bring more of a crowd than any bar.
If you want to be away from the crowds, head down to the beach and start walking! Soon it’ll be only a few tourists and lots of playful dogs.
The Lawn is ever popular for a sunset so it’s best to book a table. It’s got decadent cocktails, a pool that overlooks the ocean and fake lawn. Clever name eh?
A little way down from Old Mans is Echo beach. Recently, a bar was erected that more resembles a shipwreck washed ashore decorated with fairy lights and ridiculously attractive tourists (seriously everyone is gawk-worthy good looking)…drum roll…Welcome to La Brisa. Sunsets from the balcony are an Instagram Queen’s dream.
Now the sunsets over and you have some food in your belly, I think it’s time to go have a drink!
Different nights tend to be better than others depending on where you go.
Old Mans – The bar is a cesspit of tourists, locals, expats every single night. It will always be your best bet. Sunday is when it gets rowdy.
Deus – This place is the epitome of cool. Custom motorbikes, hand shaped surfboards, art. The happening night is Tacos and Tattoos on Tuesdays. You can get a tattoo for the price of a taco! Get there early!
Pretty Poison – Don’t forget your Vans. Skater boys/girls eat your heart out. A dingy bar placed next to a skate bowl. Get there on a Thursday and you’ll be immersed in its full vibes and become one with your fellow sardines.
Pablos –Do you like pineapples? It seems pineapples have become the fashion. Pablos doesn’t go light on their pineapple decorations either. You can spot it upstairs from the Roti, with big pineapples on the balcony. This Colombian/Mexican influenced bar has pumping house tunes and the occasional acoustic singer.
Canggu Travel Tips
Getting Around: I rode my scooter around however for some travelers I know Bali on a scooter is a daunting complex. Most places are accessible by walking around Canggu, though you do need to be on the ball. Stick to footpaths where you can and if you can’t, walk single file! PLEASE walk single file.
The alternatives if you need to get somewhere are:
Post into the ever-active Canggu Community Facebook group for a driver.
GOJEK, UBER, GRAB – Keep in mind they WILL NOT pick up in Canggu itself (only drop-off) as there have been issues with the taxi mafia banning them. You don’t need to go far, just to Berawa (next beach, you can walk the beach even) to order one. You will need an Indonesian sim to use the service though. I highly recommend GOJEK. You’ll save SO much on transport. I got from Seminyak to Canggu (20 min drive) for $3 once! It was on the back of a motorbike though, so not for the faint-hearted.
** PRO CANGGU TIP!!** – DO NOT use any ATM’s near the beach, or anywhere close to the hub. Look for BNI’s with the security stationed out the front. Get cash out before you get there and stash it in multiple places. If you have to get cash out while you are there the closest and safest is just before the Canggu Station. I would almost bet my life earnings that you will get skimmed otherwise.
At the time of this article, it’s October 2017 and I’ve never seen a place grow like Canggu.
Canggu’s development wheel has a hamster on speed running the show. It once was a quiet green oasis of rice field paddies and their farmers.
Now all the villas/restaurants/bars are like little mushrooms popping up in green pastures after a good golden fertilizing.
So, please forgive me if you’re reading this in one year’s time and the whole place is filled with flying spaceships, talking monkeys, and skyscrapers that hover.
In fact, if that happens, get in contact, that’d make a way better article!