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Concepción: Historic charm in a college town

Since it was founded in 1550 by Pedro de Valdivia, Chile's second largest city has been besieged by the Mapuche people, attacked by pirates and shaken by intense earthquakes, the most recent of which hit on February 27, 2010. Yet there is no doubt that Concepción continues to be one of Chile's top destinations.

One of the city's main attractions is the student neighborhood, which is called the barrio universitario. Highlights include La Casa del Arte, where you can see "La presencia de América," an enormous mural painted by Mexican artist Jorge González to honor the independence of the people of Latin America, and Universidad de Concepción's "Pinacoteca" (Art Gallery), which houses engravings by painter and sculptor Oswaldo Guayasamín.

Be sure not to miss the municipal marketplace, where you can find handicrafts and enjoy local cuisine, the Catedral de la Santísima Concepción and the Universidad de Concepción Theater.

Looking for some downtime? Head to Parque Ecuador, the city's recreational center. And once your batteries are recharged, check out Plaza España (at the intersection of Arturo Prat and Avenida Pedro de Valdivia), which is packed with bars and restaurants.

Once you have truly experienced all that this Bíobío Region city has to offer, it is time to explore the region's rural areas, which include the historic mining town Lota and the fishing villages that dot the Pacific Coast.


Featured Destinations of Chillán and Concepción

aChillán bConcepción

Touristic Services

Car Rental
Intercity Transportation
Tourism Agencies

Tours you can do


Ralco and Alto Bío Bío
Termas de Chillán and Valle Las Tralcas

Nahuelbuta National Park


Getting There

en avion
By Air
Flights to Concepción's Aeropuerto Carriel depart Santiago several times a day (1 hour). Shuttle and taxi service is available to Concepción and Talcahuano.
By Bus
Bus service is available through several companies, with buses leaving several times daily from Santiago to Chillán (a 4-hour trip) and Concepción (6.5 hours).
Points of departure:
• Terminal Alameda: Av. Bernardo O'Higgins 3570, Universidad de Santiago Metro Station. Phone: (56-2) 7762424
• Terminal Santiago (formerly Terminal Sur): Alameda & Nicasio Retamales, 150 meters west of Terminal Alameda. Phone: (56-2) 3761750
Local buses run between these two cities and other local destinations.
You also can travel by bus to Concepción from Puerto Montt, Valdivia, Temuco, Osorno and other Chilean cities.
en auto
By Car
From Santiago, take Route 5 South to Chillán (404 km) and then Route 152 West to Concepción (500 km from Santiago).




Quinchamalí  Visiting the Huáscar Museo Mapuche
The Bío Bío Region is renowned for its artisans, and the small Mapuche village Quinchamalí is well worth the trip. With fewer than 5,000 inhabitants, this town is famous for its decorated black earthenware, especially the guitar player figures. The Quinchamalí Festival of Clay is held here each summer.
The star of the port of Talcahuano is the warship Huáscar, which was built in Peru and captured by the Chilean Navy during the War of the Pacific in the 19th century. Captain Arturo Prat died onboard the ship. Today, this historic relic is a floating museum that invites you to walk on the deck and visit the captain's cabin and engine room. The Huáscar Museum was closed temporarily following the February 2010 earthquake and tsunami. Consult the website (www.huascar.cl) for up-to-date information.
The town of Cañete (120 km south of Concepción) is home to a museum focused on the culture and history of the Mapuche people, one of the indigenous groups that inhabit the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. This is the ideal place to learn about the ceramics, jewelry, traditions and cuisine of this community.


Flying to Isla Mocha     
If you are looking for a truly great adventure, take a bus from Concepción to Tirúa, where you can board a small plane to Isla Mocha, which is known for its pristine beaches and forests.


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