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At the confluence where two smaller rivers merge to form the Río Valdivia, this southern Chilean city enjoys an active cultural life, thanks to the presence of the Universidad Austral, and a unique wetlands environment where the rare black-necked swan once flourished and is now returning after a pulp-mill pollution disaster several years ago. At a meander in the river, its layout is more irregular than most Chilean cities, and its semi-Victorian architecture bears similarities to that of Valparaíso. There are several museums, including the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, a modern fine arts museum, and the university's historical Museo de la ...

At the confluence where two smaller rivers merge to form the Río Valdivia, this southern Chilean city enjoys an active cultural life, thanks to the presence of the Universidad Austral, and a unique wetlands environment where the rare black-necked swan once flourished and is now returning after a pulp-mill pollution disaster several years ago. At a meander in the river, its layout is more irregular than most Chilean cities, and its semi-Victorian architecture bears similarities to that of Valparaíso. There are several museums, including the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, a modern fine arts museum, and the university's historical Museo de la Exploración R. A. Philippi. Along the riverside, the Feria Fluvial is a colorful fresh fish and produce market where sea lions battle for scraps. The river itself is the locus for several downstream excursions to colonial fortresses, such as Niebla, where the Spaniards made their last stand in continental Chile (they held on a little longer in the Chiloé archipelago, to the south). A good road parallels the river, passing the Cervecería Kunstmann, which serves hearty Middle European-style cuisine and samples, or more, of its diverse craft beers.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Valdivia is a city and commune in southern Chile. The city is named after its founder Pedro de Valdivia and is located at the confluence of the Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau Rivers, approximately 15 km (9 mi) east of the coastal towns of Corral and Ni
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Chilean Peso
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Between December and March.