Visit Concepción, an industrious city with a youthful energy set on the banks of the Biobío River. Find squares lined with colonial landmarks, galleries and museums, explore an attractive university campus and bike to secluded beaches. Established by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia in 1550, today Concepción is one of Chile’s centers of finance, tourism and industry. Affectionately called the Capital of Chilean Rock, its music traditions are celebrated at atmospheric bars and annual festivals.
Start at Plaza de la Independencia, framed by the Romanesque Revival-style Cathedral of Santísima Concepción. Attached to the cathedral is the UCSC Museum of Religious Art, where 400 artifacts celebrate the city’s art and religious history. Attend chamber music recitals at Teatro Universidad de Concepción. A short walk from the square is bustling Mercado Central de Concepción, a fresh produce market with food stands serving great seafood dishes.
Experience student life while walking around the faculty buildings and gardens of the Universidad de Concepción campus. Browse work by 18th- and 19th-century Chilean artists, such as Celia Castro and Onofre Jarpa Labra, at the Art House. At its entrance notice Presencia de América Latina, a mural by Mexican painter Jorge González Camarena that portrays the unity of Latin American cultures.
At the edge of downtown, Ecuador Park has lush lawns, pathways and a children’s playground. Trails lead from the park and up Caracol Hill to Mirador Alemán lookout. Riverside Parque Bicentenario hosts March’s Rock en Conce, a free music festival that welcomes national and international bands. Get acquainted with the city’s music heritage via the bars, neighborhoods and street murals of the Ruta de la Música tourist circuit.
Venture outside of the center to the Hualpén Peninsula, an area of postcard-perfect landscapes ideal for exploring by bike. See the ruins of a whaling port at Caleta Chrome. Relax on the soft sand of Los Burros Beach and Rocoto Beach. The quirky museum at Parque Pedro del Río Zañartu has everything from Mapuche jewelry to antique maps, an Egyptian mummy and a weapons room.
Direct flights travel daily to Concepción from Santiago and Puerto Montt.
Universities, Adventure and Museums