Valparaiso is a major Pacific Ocean port in Chile. The city has population around 290,000 (metro 930,000), ranking it the country's second largest - after the capital Santiago.
Valparaiso port was expanded in the period 1910-1930, during which were built its breakwater, as well as most of the piers and ship docking terminals. The port started to decline with the Panama Canal opening in 1914. Additional drawbacks were the later shifting of banking to the capital Santiago and the opening of Chile's largest containership port San Antonio.
In the 19th century, Valparaiso port was the centre of British commercial and naval activity on the Pacific coast of South America. Its setting is dramatic - beside a sweeping curve of a huge bay waterway screened by a circle of hills, with modern lower city and winding upper section linked by ancient funiculars and zig-zag roads.
Little of the city's colonial past survived the storms, fires, earthquakes and pirates, but some remnants of the old colonial city are found in El Puerto area surrounding La Matriz church. Close by are several beach resorts. Valparaiso is currently the gateway to Santiago City, located on a plateau and featuring the Andes mountains as a backdrop.
In Valparaiso are based several national institutions, including Chile's Customs Service, the ministry of fishing and aquaculture, the ministry of culture, the Chilean Navy's Barracks General. A disastrous accident occurred in February 2013, when a major brush fire destroyed over 2800 homes and killed 16 people.
Valparaiso cruise terminal
Until 2016, cruise ships to Valparaiso (Santiago) used to dock at Pacífico Sur Terminal (abbrev TPS). On November 25, 2016, Port Valparaiso inaugurated the new VTP cruise terminal (abbrev "Valparaiso Terminal de Pasajeros").
The new cruise terminal building has a total area of approx 5300 m2 (57000 ft2) . There is a plan for the new passenger terminal to be constructed a dedicated to cruise ships only pier.
- The whole facility covers an area of around 15,000 m2 (161,450 ft2), and also includes 26 bus parking bays and a car parking with capacity 50 vehicles,
- The terminal has capacity to handle 6000 passengers at a time (3000 embarking and 3000 disembarking).
- The new passenger terminal project cost over USD 8 million. Like most modern cruise ship terminals, Valparaiso Terminal de Pasajeros also serves as a public events venue during no-ship days / times.
- The opening ceremony was attended by several Chilean dignitaries, including the country's Under-Secretary of Transport, the Valparaiso City's Mayor, Argentina's Counsel General, and the Southern Cone Ports Corporation's Executive Director.
The passenger terminal is adjacent to a container dock, and features a convenient railway station.
Valparaiso is among the ports on itineraries that include cruising through the Patagonian channels and Chilean fjords in the Tierra del Fuego provinces of Chile and Argentina.
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