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TALCA - CONCEPCION

The central heartland of Chile is rich and fertile farms and vineyards, coastal beauty, cultural and historical charm, and the energy of modern cities with boundless enthusiasm.

We start our tour in Talca, where Chile's Declaration of Independence was signed in 1818. A significant museum , the O'Higgins, offers historical insight into the events of that time as well as exhibits of fine art. But most use Talca as a central and cheap base from which to travel to nearby communities.  Like Rari, 69 km to the southeast, which is famous for its preservation of weaving horse hair into spectacular objects of art, as well as the beloved hot springs of Panimávida and Quinamávida. Take Chile's unique train ride experience out to the ocean on the 1940's-era Ramal, where you will arrive at the quiet seaside town of Constitución and can either walk the breezy ocean beach to see the iconic Piedra de la Iglesia (Rock of the Church), or take colorful boats out to an island in the middle of the river that has lovely walking trails. If you would rather just curl up with a good book in a beautiful surrounding, the municipal library in Constitución is an amazingly charming place, smartly architected to let in abundant coastal light.

Either going directly south along the coast, or taking the southwestern route from Talca, head to Chanco where you will encounter the sublimely peaceful Reserva Nacional Federico Albert, a coastal park of boardwalks, tree-lined lanes and leafy forest glades, that don't require you to be a serious hiker.  Going back inland toward Cauquenes, make your way to Pilén, which is a sought out destination to see artisans of clay, including old houses made of clay preserved from the 19th century, as well as great nearby vineyards.

Your next stop (or string of stops) before arriving to the city, is the pearls just north of Concepción, namely the beach towns of Dichato, Tomé, and Talcahuano.  Dichato is the beach to beat for its dreamy sunsets and seafood bistros, including especially the most popular beach Playa Coliumo, where you can watch colorful boats come into harbor in a picturesque cove.  If you want some more action, the more populated beaches are just a short distance further south in Tomé, where you will find more accomodation choices and night life. Talcahuano is your next destination for gastronomic fulfillment at the fisherman's terminal (Terminal Pesquero Artesenal) where they have all variety of restaurants serving the freshest fruit of the sea, so save your appetite!  However, don't leave Talcahuano without visiting the naval base, where you'll get to board the Huascar, the oldest floating historical relic in the world!

Rolling into your final destination on this route, Chile's second largest and thoroughly cosmopolitan metropolis, Concepción! Students drive the electricity of the city, making it a hip hub for arts and music and joy.  The hallmark visit is to the University, where you will find the extraordinary La Pinacoteca, a house of art the likes of which are hard to surpass. The city is painted with elegant plazas and parks, galleries, and museums of art and history, so you could spend many days getting your fill of daytime culture.  But the main attraction of the city is its signature nightlife, boasting its own symphony orchestra, indie cinema houses, theaters, and workshops for painters and musicians to learn both local and international disciplines. 

Kali

Old train stop on the way to Constitución
  • On this route:
  • San Javier |
  • Rari |
  • Panimavida/Quinamavida |
  • Constitución |
  • Loanco |
  • Pelluhue |
  • Chanco  |
  • Cauquenes |
  • Pilén |
  • Quirihue |
  • Coelemu |
  • Dichato/Tomé |
  • Talcahuano |
  • Concepción |

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