Entrance Gate to Southern Chile
A key financial and commercial hub of central Chile, the city of Concepción is one of the country's premier college towns and cultural fountainheads. Founded in 1551 by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia in present-day Penco, the city moved several times due to Mapuche resistance and devastating earthquakes before settling in its current location in 1764. It is blessed by a mild climate thanks to its close proximity to the ocean and lies on the shores of the Bío-Bío River at the foot of forested hills.
Must-see attractions in Concepción include the Plaza de la Independencia, where Chilean independence was declared in 1818, and the campus of the University of Concepción with its iconic archway and bell tower. The university is home to the Casa del Arte museum, where the country's most comprehensive collection of Chilean paintings can be found, while the History Gallery and the Natural History Museum offer fascinating insight into local and regional history. The municipal market is a good place to try local cuisine and a trip to the top of Caracol Hill rewards visitors with beautiful panoramic views. Natural attractions within the city limits include its five lakes and Ecuador Park, which hosts the International Fair of Popular Art and other cultural events. Concepción's most important festival commemorates the city's founding on October 5th.
Along the Pacific coast north and south of Concepción there are lovely beaches and charming fisherman's coves which make for great places to practice water sports and dine on the catch of the day. To the north, Caleta Lenga boasts over 20 seafood restaurants, an estuary where diverse native birds come to nest, and natural areas ideal for walking, biking and horseback riding. The Huáscar, a Peruvian warship captured during the War of the Pacific and anchored at Talcahuano, is now the world's second-oldest floating museum. To the south, visitors can explore the depths of Lota's former coal mine, El Chiflón del Diablo, and sunbathe on the long stretch of white-sand beaches reaching from Playa Blanca all the way to Arauco.
Most Concepción hotels are located in or near the city center, while others lie close to the airport. There is a good variety of two, three and four-star hotels in Concepción fit to receive both local and international travelers.