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Space Goth fashion & Street Art in Valparaiso, Chile! Cool colorful murals, graffiti walking tour.

space goth outfit fashion hair

Space Goth Mermaid is the theme of the day… because I’m in colorful Valparaíso, Chile!

“Valpo” is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and boasts some of the best street art in the world. This hip, rainbow-covered city is only a 1.5 hour drive from Santiago — making it a perfect day trip during my LATAM Airlines adventure in South America..

valparaiso chile colorful art

If you’re an art and culture seeker, you will adore Valparaiso’s vibe. Artists from around the world flock to this Chilean port city, to add their works to this open canvas.

Walking around, you’ll come across wall-sized murals, graffiti, found art, 3D installations… sky’s the limit, when it comes to creativity in Valpo.

valparaiso street art guide, map tour

Santiago is a popular hub for LATAM’s many domestic and international flights. If you’re in the capital of Chile, I urge you to take a day to explore the nearby Valparaiso. It’s an inspiring place to walk around, find unexpected art (some of it with political themes), and take a million photos.

(All images by Joey Wong, other than some iPhone snaps by LC.)

bus from santiago to valparaiso turbus

How to travel here: Valparaiso is located 120 kilometers west of Santiago. To get here, we rode the metro (subway) to Santiago’s Pajaritos station, near the end of the red line. Then, we bought roundtrip tickets for the bus that leaves every 30 minutes or so for Valpo. There’s no need to book in advance, as there are plenty of seats especially on weekdays.

Two bus companies, Turbus and Pullman, travel this route for $5-10. Both are about the same price and quality; we went with Turbus, and found ourselves in a modern carrier with comfortable reclining seats. We enjoyed this view of the Chilean mountains, and napped the rest of the way. (The ride is about 1.5 hours.)

irregular choice sunglasses pink

When you arrive at Valparaiso bus station, you can look for the tourist information booth in case you have questions. The staff can help you find the local bus stop outside. Ride it to Plaza Sotomayor, the large central square.

From Plaza Sotomayor, you can take the old elevators up the various hills to see street art.

valpo chile rainbow houses streets

Valparaiso has over 40 hills, stacked with brightly colored houses and public art. There are quite a lot of stairs and slopes, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring sun protection.

lip service skeleton maxi skirt

I put together a “Space Gothic” outfit of the day. I combined Goth with cyber-galaxy colors that match my hair, as well as the murals around me!

I’m wearing a long Lip Service skirt and top from Salemonster (they have a large selection of alternative brand fashion, at reduced rates!). My pink cat-eye sunglasses are by Irregular Choice. This designer is known for its Rococo fabulous shoes, as you can see below…

laughing skeletons mural

If you aren’t keen on walking up and down hills, you can use the funicular “ascensors” built in the 19th century. There are 15 of these rickety metal elevators, which take you up the slopes for a few coins.

Some of Valparaiso’s districts can be a little sketchy (we were warned to be careful with our DSLR camera and belongings). To avoid any issues, I recommend that you stick to the main sightseeing areas. In any case, that’s where you will find most of the street art!

cybergoth horror murals

What’s the best way to get around Valparaiso? I recommend that you take the funicular or walk up El Peral. Once you reach the top, you’ll find a glorious view of the water, as well as an old palace and a fine arts museum.

From there, you can stroll around and enjoy the colorful works around you. The murals have wonderfully diverse styles and subjects. As a horror fan, I was delighted to see the Creature from the Black Lagoon! 

travel guide valparaiso chile graffiti

While you will find street art all over Peral, the main streets are Monte and Cerro Alegre, Capilla, Miramar and especially Templeman. 

best coolest murals valparaiso

How did Valpo become a tableau for worldwide artists? Around the 1920s, Mexico had a burgeoning muralism movement. This inspired Chilean poet / diplomat Pablo Neruda to invite artists to come to his city, and get creative.

hipster chile valparaiso cool

Valparaiso was already known as the “Jewel of the Pacific” for its beautiful Pacific Ocean setting. However, now it’s best known as a laid-back, hipster destination covered head-to-toe in eclectic art. It’s a great place to art-walk, followed by a leisurely meal of empanadas and pisco sours at a local cafe.

chile weird strange travel

I enjoyed seeing the contrast between old and new. Valparaiso was a major seaport in the 1800s, during Spanish Colonial times. Today, these churches and palaces stand next to quirky murals.

rainbow buildings art chile

Many local buildings invited artists to decorate their storefronts. I was amazed at the variety of works throughout Valparaiso: from graffiti tags, to intricate portraits, to three-story narratives.

aliens welcome sign

“Aliens welcome.” This sounds like my type of town!

rainbow staircase travel fashion blogger

I’m wearing a spider pin that reminded me of the one Cheryl Blossom wears in the Riverdale TV series. My spider brooch got stolen from my luggage.. but thankfully, it was only a $7 pin that I got here!

Outfit details: cyber spine skirt from Salemonster, sunglasses from Irregular Choice.

valparaiso art walk chile

There’s so much to see in this port city with dozens of hills. Some people join a guided walking tour, in order to see the highlights. We preferred to walk around on our own, and come across gems like this ostrich by chance.

chilean artist sculptor studios valpo

It’s impossible to see all of the paintings in Valparaiso, and artists are constantly creating new works. I enjoyed taking snaps of whatever caught my eye. A drainpipe refashioned as a cat-girl’s mouth, a studio with sculptures made with found objects.

the shining here's johnny mural

Herrrreeee’s Johnny!” I’m clearly surprised to see Jack Nicholson from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, one of my favorite horror films. (I even had the VHS tape of it, back in the 9os!)

valparaiso street art history origins

Some of the most interesting works convey a socio-political message. This one is a graphic commentary on religion and colonialism in South America, and the oppression of native Chileans.

cool chile streets art

I was impressed by the level of talent found in Valparaiso. There’s a sense of community among the (mostly young) artists as well.

space gothic style murals

Even the streetlamps and drainpipes get a technicolor makeover.

blue face mural valparaiso

The local government supports creators with workspaces and resources. The result: glorious murals like this one.

hippie murals valpo

This serene, blue “happy hippie” face was one of my favorites. Note the greenery growing out of his ears!

space gothic galaxy haircolor hair style

Closeup on my Riverdale spider brooch from here. My silver necklace is by Aurum by Guðbjörg.

The pink sunglasses are Irregular Choice; shop more of their designs below:

valparaiso decorated stairs

Not all parts of Valparaiso are accessible for everyone. Be prepared for a lot of walking, including up and down lots of stairs.

Where to find Street Art in Valparaíso

How beautiful is this mural? If I came back to Valpo, I’d join a guided tour so that I could learn more about each specific artist.

travel blogger valparaiso tour

Look out for the uniquely decorated stairs. This one looks like a kite, if you view it from a distance (see the diamond on my left). Another staircase looks like piano keys.

valparaiso viewpoint water

At the top of ascensor Peral, take a moment to enjoy this panoramic view of the city and bay.

details modern art chile

And don’t miss out on the tiny details. Street signs, telephones and other unexpected objects get an artistic transformation here.

chile schoolgirls uniforms

How sweet it must be for these local residents, living / working / studying / playing amidst these colorful creations!

space galaxy galactic goth

These mosaic steps next to the funicular called out for a photoshoot.

bicycling skeleton graffiti

As I explored, I took snaps of skeletons and other Gothic creatures (as I thought these would be of interest to you!) Here’s a cheerful fellow riding a bike.

frankenstein horror movie mural

A smiling skull, and two Frankensteins. Is he holding a clam on his fingertip?

skeletons goth chile

Some of the skeletons had an anatomical feeling.

day of the dead mural

Others reminded me of the naughty Day of the Dead skeletons I saw in Tulum, Mexico. 

valparaiso travel blog

Chile’s national poet, Pablo Neruda, adored living here. As he put it, “Valparaíso, what an absurdity you are, how crazy: a crazy port. What a head of dishevelled hills, that you never finished combing. Never did you have time to dress yourself, and always you were surprised by life.”

jack nicholson shining johnny mural

I think Neruda’s words sum up the eccentric atmosphere of Valparaiso today! (If you haven’t seen The Shining movie, you need to rent it.)

valparaiso rainbow colorful stairs

Isn’t this “street art city” a wonderland? Have you heard of Valparaiso before this story?

Perhaps these images may inspire you to book a flight to Chile on LATAM Airlines, and climb this rainbow staircase for yourself!

PS: if you enjoyed my space Goth outfit, here are more skeleton styles below. Click the thumbnails for details:

SHARE & COMMENT

13 Comments

  1. Lina
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to Chile!

    • lacarmina
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! I went to Santiago and Easter Island too, can’t wait to share ^^

  2. Saate
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing, LaCarmina! Really enjoyed the beautiful photos!

  3. Vuu
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Impressive

  4. Siggy
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    cool!

  5. bob R
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    super star

  6. Oracle
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Sounds fun!!!

  7. AlexCan
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Cool!!!

  8. Raws
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

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