Valdivia

Jardin Botanico in Valdivia, South of Chile

Jardin Botanico in Valdivia, South of Chile

The city of Valdivia is located at 521.3 miles from Santiago, near the Valdivia River’s mouth and the port of Corral, on the Pacific Ocean. Valdivia is situated next to the confluence of the Calle Calle and Cruces rivers. The city of Valdivia has a population of about 134,408.


The economy of Valdivia is based on cattle raising, food processing, metallurgy, timber, mills, paper manufacturing, breweries and fur.


In 1850’s an important group of German immigrants settled in the city of Valdivia, which currently makes Valdivia a unique tourist center since the settlers’ traditions are still kept up.


Calle Calle River in Valdivia, south of Chile

Calle Calle River in Valdivia, south of Chile

In your visit to Valdivia you will be able to see the Schuster Pier (Muelle Schuster), from where depart the motorboats that offer diverse river excursions around the area. The Riverside Market (Mercado Fluvial) located next to the boats that provide trips, is also a great tourist attraction. This is the main market in Valdivia, where you can find sea products. You can get to it by the lateral street of the Municipality, going down by the square, where there are motorboats with sea products and boats that go down the river with merchandise.

On your trip to Valdivia it’s recommended to take a walk on the Promenade of Valdivia (Costanera de Valdivia), which is an extensive pedestrian and vehicular promenade bordering the residential neighborhood of the city and the bank of the Calle Calle river. This road was built after the earthquake and tidal wave that devastated the city in 1960. It takes you to the Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal), which is a must see, since here you can find diverse restaurants offering traditional food, with fish and seafood specialties. You will also be able to appreciate crafts and, during summer, a book fair at this place.

An attraction you mustn’t forget visiting in the city of Valdivia is the “Mauricio van de Maele” Historical and Anthropological Museum (Museo Histórico y Antropológico “Mauricio van de Maele”), which belongs to the Austral University of Chile (Universidad Austral de Chile) and bears the name of its founder, a Belgian journalist who worked at this place. The museum exhibits remarkable samples of the German domestic architecture of the XIX century. It also, houses collections from different historical and cultural periods such as: German Colonial period, Hispanic period and Indigenous Archeology and Ethnography. These collections are installed at the Carlos Anwandter’s house.

It also interesting to see the Contemporary Art Museum of Valdivia (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Valdivia), located in Isla Teja, an area where the remains of the Anwandter brewery are located, by the Pedro de Valdivia bridge. It’s of interest to see its old warehouses that take you back on time. Besides, it offers contemporary art exhibits during the entire year. You will also find the Forest and Wood Museum (Museo del Bosque y la Madera), which was created by the Forestal Institute

(Instituto Forestal [INFOR]) in order to rescue the history of the forestal activity in the area. It counts with regular exhibits and a special area set up for the tourists to see how the luthiers and craftsmen work.

Valdivia in the South of Chile

Valdivia in the South of Chile

Valdivia is known for its attractive Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico) located in the Austral University of Chile, where you will get to observe a sample of about thousand of native and exotic cultivated species, plus different type of flowers. It was founded by the dean of the Austral University of Chile in 1955.

Valdivia is a very attractive city due to its beautiful parks, standing out the Saval Park (Parque Saval) that’s located in Isla Teja, crossing a bridge over the Valdivia river (río Valdivia), which is enclosed by a beautiful natural landscape including the Lagoon of Lotos Park (Parque Laguna de Los Lotos), a Half-Moon Stadium (Medialuna for Rodeos), the Equestrian Jumps Garden (Jardín de Saltos Ecuestres), games for children and an area for picnic. There are diverse recreational activities and exhibits in Valdivia.

We also find the Oncol Park (Parque Oncol) in Valdivia, which is characterized by the presence of the fauna and flora typical of the Valdivian forest. There are the lagoon and Oncol Hill (laguna y Cerro Oncol), which has a maximum altitude of 2,345.8 feet above sea level, and also the trails with signs and viewpoints from where the mountain range landscape, and the ocean and volcanoes can be appreciated.

To Oncol Park is accessed from Valdivia, crossing the Pedro de Valdivia and Cruces bridges, towards Niebla, from where there’s a detour of 16.7 miles of gravel road by the route to Curiñanco. It’s recommended to travel on 4 wheel drive vehicles due to road conditions.

Of great interest is to take a walk by the Historical Neighborhood of Valdivia (Barrio histórico de Valdivia), where there’s a group of houses and buildings dating to the beginning of the XX century. Its beautiful construction takes us back to the splendor of the city; it’s located, mainly, at Yungay and General Lagos streets, near the city’s downtown.
It’s also very attractive to visit the Los Canelos Tower (Torreón Los Canelos), situated at the corner of Yerbas Buenas street. Declared National Monument, and dating to 1781, it was the first gate of the defensive wall built on the southern end of Valdivia. The outskirts of the city start here. There are still vestiges from that time, making it an open air museum.

History of the city of Valdivia

Valdivia was founded on February 9, 1552 by Pedro de Valdivia, on its present site, which was strategically chosen: it was near the coastal port, dominated the valleys of Calle Calle and Cruces rivers, and had good access to the plains where La Unión and Río Bueno are located.


Valdivia was the second most important city founded by the Spaniards. It was abandoned and destroyed during the Mapuche uprising in 1599. Valdivia was occupied by the English corsair Sebastián de Cordes in 1600. And also by Elías Erckmans in 1643, who tried to establish a Dutch settlement in the Pacific.


In 1645, on the orders of the Viceroy in Peru, Valdivia was re-founded as a walled and fortified stronghold. By 1770, facing a threat of war with England, the defensive system was rebuilt, since it had been diminished due to the expansion attempts towards the central area.


Between 1850 and 1875 Valdivia welcomed a great number of German immigrants, who settled in the southern cities. In Valdivia remained mainly professionals, industrialists and craftsmen who contributed to the development of the city.
In 1954 the Southern University of Chile (Universidad del Sur de Chile) was inaugurated in Valdivia, and later was devastated by an earthquake and tidal wave in 1960. Afterwards the city was rebuilt and shifted its activity towards tourism, the university life and the industry.

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