Valparaiso, located in the V region of Chile, is considered one of the most important ports of the country and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003.
Named by Don Juan de Saavedra after his hometown and officially named the Port of Santiago in 1544 by Pedro de Valdivia, Valparaiso developed steadily to offer facilities for port services. The increasing importance of Valparaiso as the first port of the Pacific, made the colonial road linking the port with Santiago an important route for the country. Despite not having a formal foundation as a city, it is today an important administrative, commercial and cultural centre and university town.
Located only 40 miles away is one of the most important valleys in the country, the beautiful Casablanca Valley. Originally named Santa Barbara de Casablanca, it was founded in 1753 in tribute to the wife of Ferdinand VII.
Nowadays Casablanca and Valparaiso are experiencing steady economic progression. These two cities are growing day by day thanks to their principal activities which for the city of Valparaiso, is its port and for Casablanca, its vineyards and wine production. Route 68, a modern road, quick and easy to access, connects Santiago, the capital of Chile with these two cities, thus allowing the area to emerge as a major business hub.
Valparaiso’s main features in terms of tourism are its houses teetering on the hills, its funiculars and its people. Due to the geographical distribution of Valparaiso, places like Mirador Portales, Mirador Hope, Mirador O'Higgins, Mirador Marina Mercante, 21 de Mayo, Paseo Yugoslav, Paseo Gervasoni, Paseo Atkinson and Dimalow are ideal locations to enjoy outstanding panoramic views of the city port. More recently, several boutique hotels, restaurants and shops have opened, making Valparaiso a bohemian city with a variety of things to enjoy.
As for the region of Valparaiso, its main attraction is undoubtedly its unique architecture and the beautiful vineyards and wineries that make up the Casablanca Valley wine route. Tourists can visit the twelve wineries all year round including organic vineyards such as Emiliana and Matetic, boutique wineries like Casas del Bosque, Kingston, Loma Larga and Catrala, and traditional wineries such as Viña Mar, Veramonte, Indomita, Quintay, as well as a wine tourism centre which focuses on Chilean traditions called Estancia El Cuadro. For more information: www.valpovinaturismo.cl
Both the wine valley and the port city are proud to be part of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
Casablanca is nowadays considered one of the Premium cold climate valleys producing excellent white and red wines and a range of other quality varieties that have earned great international prestige. Casablanca is the birthplace of the best Sauvignon Blanc in Chile, followed closely by excellent Chardonnay and other white varieties such as Late Harvest.
Among the red varieties, the most characteristic are the excellent cold-climate Pinot Noir and Syrah that have been the most recent success stories in Chile. However, Casablanca offers a large diversity of soils and some vineyards have started to grow Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
Along with these wines, Casablanca has ventured into the production of sparkling wine, thanks to the quality of their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In Valparaiso there are nine universities offering careers related to the world of wine, food and tourism, a mainstay today considering the economy of the region.
These institutions produce highly trained professionals to serve the industry that is growing day by day in the region:
- Universidad de Valparaíso
- Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
- Universidad Adolfo Ibañez
- Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
- Instituto Profesional DUOC UC
- Universidad de Playa Ancha (UPLA)
- Universidad Santo Tomás
- Universidad Viña del Mar
- Universidad Andrés Bello
- Universidad Tecnológica de Chile INACAP