Valparaiso, Chile had a Golden Age. It began in 1848 with the Gold Rush in the United States and was the most important port in South America. It was filled with internationals due to business and trade. At one point during that time period it was home to the most wealthy street in South America (last photo in the gallery). Then in 1914, something very important happened that had a huge effect on Valpo and its port. The Panama Canal was finished. Now boats could cut through Central America instead of going around South America and through the Strait of Magellan. The port became less important and the economy of the city fell. Walking around the city you can see that it was once majestic but that now many buildings are falling to ruins because of the cost of repair and upkeep. The port is now the second most important port in Chile. There is still a lot of trade that goes on there, just not as much as in the Golden Age.
At the port we decided to take a boat tour to see the bay and the city from the water. The tour was to take 30 minutes. We waited on the boat for about 30 minutes until it was filled and they would leave the dock. Halfway through the tour they stopped the boat and collected with fee. As soon as we all paid, they told us that the motor had stopped working and we were going to wait for another boat to come and tow us back. Ha! The boat ride was okay and it was nice to see the city from a different perspective, I really liked seeing the sea lions.