Cerro Artilleria is a hill overlooking Puerto de Valparaíso, the maritime terminal in the northern part of the historic quarter. The bottom of the hill is a couple of blocks from Estacion Puerto on the subte.
You can get up the hill by walking up the steep slope of Subida Artilleria but a fun and cheap thing to do (for only 300 pesos or 35p in 2011) is to take a ride on the beautiful Ascensor Artilleria.
An ‘ascensor’ is a funicular railway (two counterbalanced carriages that pull each other with the help of gravity and cable traction) for transporting passengers up and down a steep slope.
At one time Valparaíso, also known as ‘Little San Francisco’ because of its notorious hills, had thirty ascensors dotted around town. Now only sixteen remain, with Ascensor Artilleria being the most picturesque.
After a short rickety ride to the top, you can get a great panoramic view over the container port and the berths for the warships of the Chilean navy from a couple of viewing platforms either side of the station.
Taking a brief walk up Capitán Suárez, I saw a couple of interesting old houses, and lots of old cars slowly rotting away on the street. I didn’t go much further though as I’d read the area isn’t too safe. Maybe it’s better now though.
Near the top station there is a naval museum, some handicraft stalls and a couple of nice cafes.
I went to Cafe Arte Mirador, immediately next to the station at the top on Paseo Veintiuno de Mayo. It wasn’t the best of days weather-wise but it was still very nice to sit outside and take in the wonderful view from their balcony.
I had a deep fried Emapanada Naplolitana (diced ham, melted cheese) (B+) with a bowl of spicy Pebre (Chilean salsa)…
…and an ice cold Escudo cerveza (B).
Walking back down the hill there was lots of colourful street art covering the walls and stairs.
Cerro Artilleria is a good place to come once you’ve been to Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Bellavista (see previous posts). You’ll find all the highlighted places on my map.
Off to Argentina next!