Founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1550 just north of the Bio-Bio river, Concepción was a military outpost on the border between the Spanish controlled areas of what was then a portion of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and the Mapuche nation, a fierce ethnic group that was not brought under Chilean control until the 1870's. Even today there is an uneasy situation as the Mapuche Indians struggle to take back the forests.
Concepción did not have an easy early history. Subject to Mapuche raids and earthquakes, the city was moved several times to its present location. In spite of its precarious situation, Concepción, familiarly called Conce, held a vital position in early Chilean history. It was the site of the Real Audiencia, the most important government organization during Spanish colonial times and it was from here that Spanish forces attempted to subdue the independence efforts.
Due to earthquakes, the city has been rebuilt at various times. You won't see colonial buildings clustered around a central plaza, but you will see a modern city and port supported by the coal, steel, petrol-chemical, and fishing industries. Associated with the nearby port of Talcahuano, Conce is a vital part of the Lake Region.
The people of Concepción are proud of their role in Chile's political, economic and cultural growth.
Located along the Bio Bio river next to the Pacific coast, Concepción is the capital of Region 8 , near Chile's Lake District. It is the second largest city in Chile and getting there isn't difficult. Frequent flights from Santiago and flights from other domestic cities land at Aeropuerto Carriel Sur. to Santiago, Valdivia or other locations in Chile.
Driving from Santiago, about 500 km to the northeast, takes about 6 hours on the PanAmarican Highway. See this interactive map from Expedia.
Once there, you'll note that five communes of Concepción, Penco, Talcahuano, Chiguayante and San Pedro de la Paz make up Gran Concepción.
See this street map of central Concepción.
Check today's weather and five day forecast.
There are a number of Bed and Breakfast inns and
hotels to choose from. Browse these hotels for availability, rates, amenities, location, activities and other specific information.
Restaurants serve Chilean cuisine, international favorites and other choices.
With four universities and the naval base nearby, Conce has a youthful nightlife. Many of the Chilean rock bands, such as mutor got their start in Conce.
Things to Do and See in and around Concepción:
Convent of San Francisco
Convent of La Merced
Museum Cathedral of the Santísima Concepcion
Museum of Natural History
Museum and Park Hualpen
Museum of History
the Pinacoteca or Art Museum of Concepción with an extensive collection of works by Chilean painters
Parque Ecuador to see the Gallery of History with displays from each era of the city's history
Cerro Caracol for a view of downtown Concepción
Stroll the Pdedestrian Mall, called the Peatonal
Visit the naval base at Talcahuano for a tour of the Huascar, an iron monitor that wrecked havoc on the Chilean navy during the War of the Pacific, until it was captured and brought under Chilean control.
The Huáscar continued on active duty in the Chilean navy until the early 1900's. After a complete restoration, it is now on permanent, honored display as the reliquary of the Glorias Navales. Take a tour of the campus of the
Universidad de Concepción. Be sure to note the Campanile, or Clock Tower, in the main quadrangle
Visit Universidad Catolica De La Santisima C Concepción with its three campuses
See a horse race at the Club Hípico de Concepción
Salto Del Laja - a spectacular waterfall in the Parque Salto del Laja
Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja – stroll or picnic at the lake to enjoy emerald water and birding. The park preserves the
mountain cypress Austrocedrus Chilensis and the Pehuén, or monkey puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana. From here you can hike around Volcán Antuco
Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta - created in 1939 to protect one of the last Araucaria forests outside the Andes. The park also contains Nothofagus (Southern Beech You migh see the Chiloé fox and the miniature Chilean deer known as the pudú on a hike or drive though the park. You might request an audiovisual presentation on the local environment at the park museum, the Centro de Informaciones Ecológicas run by CONAF.
If you've been to Concepción, tell us about it. Share your experiences, and photos, with readers on the South America for Visitors Forum.