Valparaiso, or “Valpo” to Chilean locals, is the absolute mecca of street art in Chile and probably even in all of South America. This picturesque port city attracts famous graffiti artists and muralists from all over the world who proudly come to leave their mark on its walls. It’s become internationally known as an open canvas for the creative- a wonderland of art, color, and inspiration. But it’s not always easy to find well-known Valparaiso street art.
It took me years living in Chile to track down the best street art Valpo has to offer. I’ve done the research, asked the locals and mapped out the exact locations below, so hopefully, you’ll have an easier time.
You can certainly visit Valparaiso and discover plenty of magnificent art on your own. (It’d be hard not to!) Just freely wander the colorful cobblestone streets and you’re sure to stumble upon greatness! But, for those low on time, or looking to bee-line it straight to the good stuff, below I’ll reveal the locations of some of the more popular Valparaiso street art murals!
Why is Valparaiso so attractive to street artists?
Valpo is messy, grungy and a bit gritty at its very core. It’s unpolished and raw, a no-frills, tell-it-like-it-is urban playground. Valpo’s harsh and complicated past has given rise to a young and free-spirited culture of innovative creators and alternative thinkers.
‘Valparaíso, how absurd you are. You haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.’ -Pablo Neruda
In Valparaiso, graffiti and street art are not condemned, but rather embraced with open arms. It’s a land of free expression, where artists don’t hesitate to make a controversial statement. They’re not afraid to criticize society, give a voice to the oppressed, and rally together for change.
Just a hop, skip and a jump from my home in Santiago, Valparaíso has quickly become one of my favorite weekend destinations. I often visit with the sole intention of wandering around and admiring the art.
Scroll down to the bottom for a map with more accurate locations.
We are not Hippies, we are Happies by Art + Believe
“We are not Hippies, We are Happies” might just be the most popular piece of street art in all of Valparaíso. AKA- If you leave the city before getting a picture in front of this mural, were you ever even really in Valpo?
It was painted by Art + Believe, an English creative duo based in Brighton, UK and is located on one of Valparaíso’s most central streets. You may have to fight your way through the crowds to get a picture as it’s usually packed with photo-happy tourists, but that doesn’t change how incredibly awesome this painting is.
From the artists themselves: “This [piece] became the mantra of our travels and remains so today. The words originate from a very kind Chilean man who took us in whilst in Valparaiso. It captivates the colour, vibrancy and the philosophy of the Chilean people today, now free of dictatorship.”
Where to find it: Next to Casa Partimonio, at Templeman 672.
You can find another awesome piece by Art + Believe, a portrayal of how the pair sees the city of Valparaíso, right in front of Hippies-Happies at Templeman 682. ⬇️⬇️
Charquipunk & Daniel Marceli
In the same area, a few steps away from We’re Not Hippies, you’ll find a colorful collaboration by two of Chile’s own, Charquipunk and Daniel Marceli. Charquipunk is a Valpo local originally from the neighboring town of Concón. Daniel Marceli is from Chile’s southern archipelago island, Chiloe.
Both artists have very distinct, recognizable styles and are considered street art heroes in Valparaíso. It’s safe to say their art pretty much dominates the city’s streets.
What I love about Charquipunk and Marceli is that they both incorporate cultural elements of their Chilean culture into their work. They blend Latin American history, local traditions, religion, and social and economic issues to create intriguing art with a message.
Charquipunk often uses imaginative representations of Chile’s native bird species in his work. Hummingbirds seem to be his bird of choice.
Marceli paints with traditional symbols from his home in Chiloe, portraying fish and fishermen and using blue and green hues to represent the sea.
Some of these unique characteristics can be seen in the following mural.
Where to find this collab: This piece is very close to Hippies-Happies, and can be found next to Casa Kultour at Templeman 645.
Beethoven Piano Stairs
On my last trip to Valpo, I finally made it to the infamous Piano Stairs! Afterwards, I did my due diligence. I searched and searched online, and even asked locals while wandering around the city, but I failed to find much information about the origins of these magnificent musical steps.
They’re pretty incredible though, aren’t they?!
The piano-painted steps seem to be a kind of tribute to German classical composer Beethoven, as they’re very appropriately found on Beethoven Street. Other than that, I guess we’ll just have to embrace the mystery. These steps are just further evidence that any surface is fair game for creatives in Valparaíso.
Where to find the Beethoven Piano Stairs: Across from Alecón Fine Hostel at Abtao 682.
Two of my other favorite Valparaiso street art pieces are by a popular Spanish street artist, Cuellimangui. (YAY SPAIN!) While walking around Valpo, you’ll no doubt pass tons of his trippy, abstract pieces, easily recognizable by his signature use of mashed together, colorful creatures.
My first favorite by Cuellimangui is his mini mural- “Que estas haciendo para cambiar el mundo?” Or, in English: “What are you doing to change the world?” It can be found up on Cerro Concepción, around the corner from Paseo Atkins.
This mural really captures Cuellimangui’s unique style and I love how it has such a clear and powerful message. It really makes you take a step back and think for a minute.
You can watch Cuellimangui creating this piece on Youtube here!
Where to find “Que estas haciendo para cambiar el mundo?”: Across the street from Café Vocare at Concepción 179.
This second one is a bit hard to appreciate in a photo because it’s extremely long and therefore difficult to capture all of it at once. You’ll just have to go get a look in person! This piece is a collaboration between Cuellimangui and another Spanish street artist- ASJ. It features a black and white character that seems to be blowing out a smoke cloud of Cuellimangui’s colorful creepy creatures, turning into a bright green chameleon at the end.
Here’s a picture from Cuellimangui’s flickr to better show you the whole piece!
Where to find it: At the top of the Piano Stairs across from Pastor Schmidt.
⬆️⬆️** NOTE: This art has since been replaced with another mural! But there is still an incredible colorful mural to see here! ** ⬆️⬆️
I found this painting when going to see one of my friend Leah of Gringa Journey’s favorites at Hostal Voyage. I was admiring the entirety of the building, turned the corner and found this gem by French Painter, Mr. Papillion. It’s a massive vibrant lifelike mural of a gorgeous young girl. She’s radiating warmth and happiness. I just absolutely love it and couldn’t stop smiling!
It’s pretty common in Valparaiso for artists to exchange their work for room and board instead of money. I couldn’t find too much out about this particular piece, but it can be assumed that Mr. Papillion did just that and painted this mural outside of Hostal Voyage in exchange for a bed at the hostel.
Where to find it: Hostel Voyage, Pasaje Leighton 229, Cerro Alegre.
Mr. L – “La Robot de Madera”
Simon, a member of the Stgo UnderCrew, and known as LRM or Mr. L in the street art world, is another local Chilean street artist who’s work is highly influential all over the world. He studied in Valpo’s more polished neighboring city, Viña del Mar, at Escuela de Bellas Artes, where he mastered the human form.
He usually paints expressive human characters and often emphasizes their inner struggles as a way to highlight certain societal issues. His recognizable signature is a “pink nose” on his characters, who can be found on streets all throughout Valparaiso.
Mr. L’s Tower on Fire
Where to find “Tower on Fire”: Paseo Dimalow near Fauna at, Dimalow 166.
Below is one another one of LRM’s more lighthearted pieces, I like to call it: Man Smoking Pipe & Three-Eyed Dog. Yeah- creative, I know.
Where to find it: Calle San Enrique, 418 on the doors of Munasiña Taller
The below painting by INTI, another Valparaiso born artist and fellow member of the Stgo UnderCrew, might just be my favorite in all of the city!
I found it on my very first trip to the Valpo and it was true love at first sight. I’m not sure if it’s the creative and perplexing nature of the mural or the fact that it uses Valparaíso’s breathtaking skyline as a backdrop, but for me, this one definitely stands out in my mind.
INTI’s murals are massive. His work literally demands attention. It’s impossible to walk by one of his monumental paintings without taking notice. He’s become quite the legend among street artists in Chile and has left his mark in almost every corner of the globe.
You can find his paintings spanning entire walls in countries around Europe, including France, Poland, Spain, and Turkey, as well as Tahiti and Hawaii- just to name a few. INTI even collaborated with iconic designer Louis Vuitton to turn some of his unique indigenous creations into wearable art! Yeah, he’s kind of a big deal…
Where to find it: You can see this piece from the mirador or “lookout” at Paseo Atkins.
Below is a collaboration piece by Chilean street artists INTI, Charquipunk y LRM found on Subida Cumming.
One of the best spots in Valparaíso to spend time wandering around is the Galvez passage. This narrow street is tucked in a crevice of Cerro Alegre and is a little hub of street art, galleries, cafés and shops that feature local designers.
Walking the length of this cobblestone passage you’ll find more recognizable pieces by Cuellimangui and Daniel Marceli, some playful painted doors, an extra hairy lady (La Mujer Peluda), a whimsical Mermaid, colorful stairs with inspirational quotes, an old school print shop and much, much more!
Here’s a little preview:
If you’re visiting Valparaiso, be sure to get out my one day itinerary and visit the city’s best restaurants.
Here’s my Valparaiso street art map:
Looking for more information on the history of Valparaiso street artists and their incredible works? Try taking ValpoStreetArt’s GraFREEti Tour during your visit. It’s offered every day, twice a day (once on Sundays) and is such a great introduction to the art scene in the city! Oh yeah, and a big plus- it’s FREE! Tips are of course appreciated.
So, what do you think of Valparaiso’s street art scene? Where is your favorite city to find street art?
Liked this post? Pin it to save for later! 😀