Journey to Chile: Neighborhoods – Cerro Concepcion in Valparaiso

Cerro Concepcion is old – I’m talking almost 500 years old. It grabbed my senses immediately. We walked along the narrow cobblestone streets speckled with interesting shops, quaint restaurants and art studios. I wondered how the many small homes representing a palate of color clung to the hillsides so well.

It was a very hot day when Alvaro drove us to Cerro Concepcion to have lunch and another look at the area where we’d been a few days before but in the twilight hours. Alvaro (a statistician) worked with my friend, Lana Svien, during her month at Catolica University in Valparaiso. It was great to have him for our tour guide and interpreter. I give kudos to Lana for her level abilities in Spanish, but we both enjoyed having a local show us some of the places of interest. You will see Alvaro in this YouTube video shot above the Port of Valparaiso from Cerro Concepcion. He speaks in Spanish and I hope all who know Spanish will leave a comment to let me know what he actually said!


Alvaro and Mary – Take 1 for YouTube Video


Cerro means hill. The thing you grasp quickly about this city of 7 million people is that it gives you a good workout walking up and down the many staircases in the city going from one street to another.


The staircases of Cerro Concepcion


SOMETIMES you are lucky and can take a lift from one hill to another. They charge a small fee but it is well worth it.

We had lunch at an outside café. We each ordered a sandwich that was the perfect size with fresh ingredients and mouth watering. Bottled water seemed to be the drink of the day (I never had trouble with tap water but realized we always boiled it for coffee first when I drank it). Today I ordered ConGas (carbonated) rather than SinGas (non-carbonated) See? I was learning some very important Spanish!!

Topping the lunch off with lemon meringue pie seemed the right thing to do – one piece of pie, three forks. Chile is known for its lemons, and I noticed they typically appear for at least one part of every meal. Usually they are freshly squeezed over whatever you ordered but today the lemons were in the pie. Take a look!


Incredible Chilean lemon meringue pie


As we ducked in and out of shops, we meandered along the streets and noticed a lot of dogs and a few cats on the streets. They are docile and largely ignored us as we walked by. I couldn’t help but wonder, especially on this hot day, how they got their food and water to survive. They made me think of my dogs at home, Annie and Dubbo, and just how very spoiled they are!


The Dogs of Cerro Concepcion


As with all good things, we needed to wrap it up and move on, but not without one more look at the Port of Valparaiso from up above in this very special neighborhood of Cerro Concepcion.


Alvaro and Lana overlooking the Port of Valparaiso


Click here to read more in Mary’s Journey to Chile series.

Mary Lascelles, a k a ReloMary, is a Palo Cedro, Calif., resident who owns a concierge relocation service,, operating across the United States and Canada to assist people with every aspect of their selling, buying and moving needs. She can be reached at 530.515.6299.

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11 Responses

  1. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    Stone walls and staircases. Built to last. Nice photos.

  2. Avatar Mimi Fisher says:

    Looks like a fabulous time was had! I will have to check out the youtube video later. I have too many things open on my computer right now. What phenomenal pictures. I love lemons – and that pie looked fabulous
    Mimi Fisher,
    Realteam Real Estate Center
    Idaho / Washington

  3. Avatar Lubna says:

    The pie looks mouthwatering, hope it was good. We have street dogs also, Mary. Kind people feed them, they forage in dumping grounds etc. When the city council wants to gather them and kill them there is a hue and cry. So, fortunately, now many non profits such as Welfare for Stray Dogs have sprung up which ensure the dogs are sterlised and vaccinated, apart from encouraging people to adopt street dogs. Poochie's mother was a street dog, I adopted the puppy. Will you please send me a photograph of these dogs, I need to pass it on to a friend who is very interested in knowing about them – will introduce the two of you.

  4. Avatar ReloMary says:


    Santiago has 7 million people in the city. I made a mistake here indicating Valparaiso was that large. It is Chile's 6th largest city, as I understand it, with under 300,000 people all told. Valparaiso runs into Vina del Mar runs into Renaca runs into ConCon – so the cities run into each other which makes it hard to sense the size of Valparaiso itself.

  5. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    Will you be in Vina for the music festival?

    • Avatar ReloMary says:

      Unfortunately, no. I'm back home at this stage. I noticed Paul Anka was going to be at the casino in Vina and tickets are $200. I can think of better ways to spend that kind of money! LoL

  6. Avatar Josee says:

    Hi Mary,
    It doesn't look chilly at all. You must have had a grand ol' trip. Good for you, my dear.
    Cheers Josee->