Colourful houses in Valparaíso, Chile 25 Jan 2017
About this photo
Colourful houses have become the trademark of Valparaíso, Chile, which blanket the hills overlooking the crystal water of the Pacific coast. The striking tradition started in this seaport city before the Panama Canal opened in 1914. Boats travelling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans used this city as a stopover, repairing and repainting their ships at the dock. Locals would take the leftover paints to decorate and protect their homes against weathering from the harsh salt air. Indiscriminate to what colour was in the pot, the town soon became colourful giving this major city a charming feel. After the opening of the Panama Canal, the city saw a lull in visitors but the vibrant tradition remained. Valparaíso now attracts culture enthusiasts and artists who paint murals on buildings and walls along the steep, narrow streets adding to the rainbow of colour.
Add a few nights in the port city to explore the streets' bold colours on any of Insight Guides' trips to Chile.