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Ascensors of Valparaíso

Photo essay showing one of the biggest ascensors (outdoor elevators) of Valparaiso, Chile

Photo essay of the 'Artilleria', one of the biggest ascensors (outdoor elevators) of Valparaiso, Chile

Click here to launch photo gallery.

The ascensors of Valparaíso are one of the coolest things about this city. They are scattered around the city, located on the steepest parts of the cerros (mounts) in Valparaíso. It costs between 280- 300 pesos (50- 60 cents Canadian) to catch a ride up or down, depending on the length of the hill and the size of the cable car. Considering how steep some of these streets are, it’s a huge relief to have an option like this, especially when carrying heavy grocery bags or lugging a backpack around.

The cable cars seat between 6 – 20 people, and are usually made entirely of wood usually. It’s like being inside a wooden panelled room that moves.

There’s always a big jolt as you start off, making you worry that the whole things is unstable and will break and you’ll plunge to your death, but really they are very safe and secure. Two cable cars provide counterbalances to each other on a secure pulley system. The cars glide past each other like well oiled machines, both figuratively and literally.

The views of the city as you rise up (or go down) can be glorious on a sunny day, showing off the ornate details of the tall buildings, interesting angles of the winding streets, art and murals you can’t see in their entirety from ground level, and the dark sparkling waters on the portside of the city in the distance.

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