If there is one must-see in UNESCO World Heritage listed port city of Valparaíso, it’s La Sebastiana. La Sebastiana is one of three homes of Chilean Nobel Laureate poet Pablo Neruda. It was built on the top of one of Valpo’s hills in a central location so he could see the entire bay.
Visiting La Sebastiana
Out of the three of Neruda’s homes, this was my 2nd favorite. I really liked the amazing views, his quirky decorating style, and the artifacts found in the home that he collected from all over the world. Admission is CLP $4,000 and a mandatory audio guide is given. It takes about 45 minutes to go through the house with the guide. Lockers are provided for bags and no photography is allowed inside the house.
Getting to the house can be a bit tricky if you choose not to take a taxi (the easiest way). It’s kind of out of the way from the other attractions in town. The hill it sits on is VERY steep and takes 20-30 minutes to climb (trust me, I walked up).
But I’m nice, so I want to give you a secret about how to get there on foot: Walk up to the end of Almirante Montt. There, you will reach Av. Alemania. Go left and follow the road all the way to Calle Ferrari. Walking up Almirante Montt is not very difficult, and Av. Alemania is a winding road but flat for the most part. The best part is, it’s a pleasant walk with great views and a few parks to sit and relax in along the way. Still, it’s a good 30-40 minute walk from the bottom of Almirante Montt. I’ll let you enjoy a few of the views along the way…
The walk is generally safe and I never encountered any problems or shady groups of people, but my friend Brina, a single female, did part of the walk alone a month later. In the end, she decided to take the bus both ways for safety purposes.
Another hint: There’s also a bus that runs along Avenida Alemania! If you don’t want to spend that much time walking, jump on the bus, pay the driver, and ask him to drop you off at La Sebastiana.
If you’re keen on seeing some of the seedier parts of town after visiting La Sebastiana, walk down Calle Ferrari to Calle Independencia and Barrio El Almendral. There isn’t much to see on the walk down, but you’ll get a good workout.