A few months back someone told me that I HAD to go to the coastal city of Valparaíso while in Chile. After finding myself with two less weeks in the country than originally planned, I figured that Valpo would be scratched. After crossing the border at San Pedro de Atacama in the north, I faced a 24 hour bus ride through the desert to either Santiago or Valparaíso. As it turned out, the only direct bus went to Valpo, and so the decision was made for me. I boarded a bus, prepped for the downtime with books, music, my computer, and lots of cookies. So many cookies. I would stay for one night, max, and then head on. Three days later, I want to move to Valparaíso. The bright neighborhoods cling to the steep hillside and enjoy beautiful views of the port and Pacific Ocean. It’s no wonder that famous poet Pablo Neruda chose Valpo as his home for many years. Artists’ studios are aplenty and the narrow stairwells and pedestrian streets are covered in graffiti. But this graffiti isn’t your typical Oakland fare—we’re talking beautiful, detailed, well planned murals that surely took days if not weeks to complete. I spent the days wandering the art-filled streets, stopping to buy items from artisans, and enjoying gelato and coffee with my new friends Erin and Shannon from the Casa Valparaíso Hostel (one of my absolute favorite hostels of all time). We drank boxed wine, danced, hosted our own karaoke party, and ate delicious fresh seafood. What more could a few travelers ask for? Not much. Chile has already stolen my heart and it’s only been five days. The remaining 10 will surely be something to remember. I’ve included a few of my favorite shots below. ¡Qué hermoso!