Gay travel guide to Valparaiso
Valparaiso is the cultural capital of Chile.
Valpo (for short) is one of the country's most popular draws, famous for its magnificent street art. Pablo Neruda, famous Chilean Nobel winning poet, loved Valpo so much he set up one of his homes here. UNESCO was so impressed, it added Valpo's Historic Quarter to its World Heritage List in 2003, and The Guardian described Valpo as a “mini Berlin by the seaside“.
There is plenty to discover in this quirky city. To help you plan your visit, we've put together our gay travel guide to Valparaiso.
TIP FOR GAY TRAVELLERS: If you're looking for a good gay tour company, check out Pride Tours Chile who we tried and loved. They're offering our readers an exclusive 5% discount off all their tours if you quote “NOMADIC5” when booking!
The gay scene of Valparaiso
People in Valpo have a very open mind, so most bars are very gay friendly and welcoming. These are the few 100% gay bars in the area:
- Pagano: attracts a mixed crowd of all ages with fun drag shows on most nights. Watching a Chilean drag show is the best way to get a feel of Chilean slang Spanish in its crudest form. Pagano is open everyday from 11:30pm except Sundays and is located at Avenida Errazuriz 1852.
- Máscara: a cool gay bar in Valparaiso to start the night. They have promotions like 2 for 1 cocktails on Monday-Thursday until midnight. Mascara is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30pm and is located at Plaza Anibal Pinto 1178.
- Club Delirio: an alternative gay hangout on weekends, close to the port area. It doesn't get busy until after midnight and its address is Blanco 503.
- Club Il Divino (Viña del Mar): this is one of the largest gay clubs in Latin America with a capacity for up to 2,000 people. It is based in neighbouring Viña del Mar, which is around 20 minutes taxi ride away. The parties are only a few times a year, so check their website for more up to date information.
Where to stay in Valparaiso
Valparaiso is famous for being easy going and open minded. As such, gay travellers shouldn't have any problems booking a double bed in hotels here. These are the places we stayed at and loved.
Verso Hotel is located a few blocks away from Pablo Neruda's house in the peaceful residential neighbourhood called Cerro Florida. It's got a poetry theme running through it, with each room dedicated to a famous writer, featuring his lyrics on the walls. Ours was Nicaraguan poet, Ruben Dario, with his famous poem Invernal written on the wall.
We loved the rooftop bar and restaurant at Verso. It's the perfect spot to watch the sunset with cocktail to hand. They also have 2 hot tubs on the rooftop from where you can enjoy the views of Valpo below.
Rooms at Verso Hotel starts from $85 / £70 . You can read more about it on Tripadvisor.
ViaVia is a Belgian (French speaking), gay owned art deco hotel and restaurant offering a few affordable rooms. It's positioned on the hills in the prettiest old part of Valpo.
Look out for Menu the cat (that's his name!). He prowls the restaurant area charming guests, then nesting in your lap ,purring away. And in true Belgian style, expect delicious chips and beer here!
Rooms at ViaVia start from $70/£56. You can read more about it on Tripadvisor.
A more flexible option to consider is renting an apartment with a local on Airbnb. Doing this allows you to have your own place to cook, almost like a temporary home base.
One very gay friendly listing we recommend is the home of Felipe and Cristian, a fun gay couple in Valpo who are renting out their single room for $12 / £9 a night.
You can claim $40 / £30 off your first booking using our unique link.
Things to do in Valparaiso
- Street art tour: Valparaiso is world famous for its street art and you will want to spend some time doing a walking tour to see it all. We recommend the gay owned Ecomapu Travel who offer excellent daily tours with friendly, English speaking guides.
- La Sebastiana Pablo Neruda House: Pablo Neruda is the famous Nobel prize winning Chilean poet you'll hear a lot about. He had several homes across Chile and La Sebastiana was his Valparaiso base. It is now a museum, which is worth visiting to learn more about the poet and his quirky, extravagant lifestyle.
- Chilean Cooking Class: the best cooking class in the city. Teachers are really passionate and keen to show off the Chilean cuisine. After a visit to a local market, we learnt to make Chilean classics like pastel de choclo, Chilean empanadas all washed down with yummy pisco sours.
- Visit an art gallery: one way to get a feel for the arty scene of Valpo is to visit an art galleries and speak with the artists. We visited Espacio Rojo on Pasaje Miramar 175, Paseo Yugoslavo, and met the very talented Cristian Vega Rojo who is an extremely inspiring person with a fascinating story.
- Viña del Mar: Viña is the clean, orderly cousin of Valpo, around 15 minutes taxi ride away. It has some pretty cool beaches, which are popular with surfers. It makes for the ideal day trip from Valpo if you want to spend some time on the beach.