To me, Valdivia has always seemed one of the most beautiful cities in Chile. Located in the XIV region of “Los Ríos”, with a particular geography, flanked by rivers, it lends itself to various activities both in its channels and in its surroundings. It also has a varied gastronomic offer and a wide range of artisan breweries, which position it as the country’s beer capital.
In this article, I will share with you how to organize a weekend getaway to enjoy the best activities in the city:
Friday: I left work and went straight to the Santiago`s airport to take a flight to the city of Valdivia. Once landed the airport is only a half hour from the city, depending on the traffic. Another option to get to the city is to take a night bus. I arrived at my lodging on the side of the Calle Calle river, I changed my clothes and went out to discover the city center, a few blocks away, with Diego, the tour guide that accompany us all weekend, from “Pueblito Expediciones”
Valdivia is a city of short distances that you can easily know by walking. After discovering the center, the main square and the surroundings of the market, I crossed the bridge Pedro de Valdivia (known for having resisted the planet’s strongest earthquake of 9.5 degrees richter) in the direction of Teja Island, to know a restobar that everybody recommended.
The city from above the “Pedro de Valdivia” bridge and the sea lions that you can see along de Calle Calle river
This bar was “El Growler” artisan brewery and restobar, with a lot of varieties of craft beers in addition to their own production, with dispensers arranged in the bar, where you can read characteristics of them such as bitterness and alcoholic degrees of each one. The boys who attend the local, know the varieties very well and seek to recommend you the one that best suits your tastes. In this place there is also a variety of food, such as buckets of rustic potatoes with perfectly cooked cuts of steak, blue cheese and bacon or other buckets of the same style but with seafood. Despite being full, we never noticed in the attention or in the quality of the products, all very efficient and exquisite, certainly recommended.
Saturday: this day I took the opportunity to know as much as I could, here I detail the activities you can do:
Navigating the rivers: If you visit Valdivia, an activity that you can not miss is the navigation of its rivers, a fundamental part of the geography of the region. You will find boats that give you a ride from $ 5000 Chilean pesos (about 8 dollars), depending on its type and on the way you will know a variety of native birds like the black neck swan, that abounds in the zone, and you will be able to pass by CauCau bridge, with permanent open arms, an engineering failure. I took the tour with “Embarcaciones Bahía”.
Cau Cau bridge with its arms always open
Lots of black neck swans that you can see in navigation activities
visit the town of Punucapa: a very little town, ancient indigenous settlement and with several tourist attractions worthy of being known. First is known for its sweet apple cider, which has been recognized with appellation of origin. In “El mesón de la sidra” of Agropecuaria Punucapa, you will have the possibility to taste this preparation and buy it at a very good price, besides watching closely the presses with which it is prepared. It called my attention that despite being very sweet, has no added sugar, everything is fruit of the fermentation of the fruit.
The Punucapa pear that will receive you as you arrive
“Mesón de la Sidra” where you can taste this delightful preparation
After doing some shopping and already hungry, for lunch we went to “La Herradura” Restaurant, to eat a traditional Chilean lunch, prepared by Mrs. Albina, owner of the place who tries to serve customers as if they were part of his family. In a very cozy atmosphere we ate an abundant and tasty “Cazuela”, some fried “empanadas” and the typical southern “sopaipillas”, which unlike those of the north of the country, are square and do not carry pumpkin. You can also find a variety of local beers on the spot. The prices are reasonable and it is the perfect place to feel the warmth of the people of southern Chile.
Cazuela at “La Herradura” reataurant
walking around Punucapa you will feel the peaceful
Oncol Park: To reach this private park, but open to the public for a $ 3500 pesos entrance, you can take collective transportation from Valdivia and get off at the Curiñanco crossroad, where is a workshop of native wood sculpture, point from where you will have to walk a little to the entrance or you can move in a private car, or hire a tour for about $ 25,000 Chilean pesos (about 40 USD), which lasts all day and includes guided tours of the park. As a side note, I would like to mention that the taxis in Valdivia are undoubtedly the cheapest in Chile, starting at $ 40 Chilean pesos.
The park surprised me, I did a tour with Mr Pascual Alba, who lives in the area and knows the biodiversity of the place. It was so doing a small trekking circuit, he told us that there are more than 28 species of ferns in the area and that there are cats Güiña and Colo Colo in the park that sunbathe in the Palo Santo. I met trees like Quintral, whose fruit is fed Monito del Monte when it ends its hibernation and whose nectar also feeds the hummingbird. In summer it is possible to see different species of amphibians, there are toads that bathe in the hollows of trees like the Melí and among the birds stands out the imposing Carpintero.
a great biodiversity to enjoy al Oncol park / Canelo tree
The quintral flower / hollows at the bass of a Melí tree
The park has several viewpoints and trekking circuits to get into the Valdivian forest, has camping areas, a small restaurant and even a canopy. Personally I loved it, I feel it is a great opportunity to connect with nature. For more information about the park, you can visit its website in this link.
Pascual Alba, our guide through the Oncol Park
Visit to Niebla: Even with some time available in the afternoon, but very late to get to know the fort located here, I visited Niebla, it is very worth going because the views both on the way and in the place are truly beautiful. At the corner of the main square that faces the village, there is a very picturesque café to enjoy a hot drink.
The stunning view from Niebla
Visit to the Kunstmann brewery: pioneer among the country’s artisanal breweries, it is located between Niebla and Valdivia and is therefore a must stop on the way. In addition to the different varieties of their own beers, they have a food menu for all tastes, as well as a souvenir shop of the brand, for those who want to buy souvenirs related to the brewing culture.
Back in Valdivia, you will see that the city is full of nightlife, mainly because it is a university city. I opted to take advantage of my visit coinciding with the twenty-fourth version of the Valdivia International Film Festival, to enjoy a movie before heading to rest.
Sunday: Most flights to Santiago leave in the afternoon, buses are usually more comfortable to travel at night, for this reason you will still have several hours available for activities.
Fluvial market: in front of the bridge Pedro de Valdivia, this market comes alive in the mornings with the fishermen offering their fresh fish and seafood to take away. Markets are for me one of the must-sees of each city, because they reflect very well the life and activity of a city.
walking along the Calle Calle river and ejoying the fresh air of the city
Visit the botanic garden of the Austral university: another unforgettable panorama is the visit to the botanical garden, for this you will only need to cross to Isla Teja and go to the right, there you will find the entrance to the Austral University and just beyond Botanical Garden.
Take a kayak tour through the rivers: for the more adventurous, you will find kayaking activities that last from 2 to 5 hours, can do bird watching, with specialized equipment, etc. These activities range from $ 25,000 Chilean pesos (about 40 USD) and can see all the information in Pueblito expeditions.
Lots of activities that take place in the rivers
Lunch at the Municipal Market: emblematic building next to the Calle Calle river, in front of the Pedro de Valdivia bridge, here, in addition to the local handicrafts, you will find some restaurants with preparations of fresh seafood such as Pulmay or fried empanadas, the dozen of empanadas has a value of $ 4000 Chilean pesos (about 7 USD) .
As you will see both Valdivia and its surroundings have a lot to offer and its tourist activity is backed by the Panamerican Tourism Development Program (PDP) and co-financed by CORFO. Within this framework, small entrepreneurs have grouped together to strengthen the activities carried out in the area, ensuring the development of high quality services with high added value. If you want to meet these small entrepreneurs, you can visit the following link to support the local entrepreneurship and enjoy quality services during your visit to “Los Ríos” Region.
What do you think of this itinerary? This is my second time in this beautiful city and it still looks beautiful to me, but much more developed than 10 years ago, again I am looking forward to return again, this time for more days.
This trip was carried out in the framework of a Press Trip in which we participated together with Rosi Guimaraes of the blog Nos nò Chile representing AChileTB.