Chillán

Chillán, Home of Artists and Heroes

Located in south-central Chile, Chillán and its environs are the birthplaces of many distinguished Chileans including founding father Bernardo O’Higgins and world renowned pianist Claudio Arrau, who has his own local museum. Arturo Prat, the captain of the warship “Esmeralda” who died in the battle of Iquique, was born 46 km away in Ninhue. Both Violeta Parra, who penned such famous songs as “Gracias a la vida” and “Volver a los 17,” and her brother, the poet Nicanor Parra, were born just 27 km from Chillan in San Carlos, where there family home still stands. Singer Víctor Jara was from San Ignacio, 30 km from Chillan.

The city has a tumultuous history. It was founded in 1580 and shaken by earthquakes on numerous occasions including the 8.8-magnitude quake of 1939, which demolished virtually all of its adobe constructions and left no trace of its colonial architecture. The 39-meter high cross that stands beside the cathedral on the Plaza de Armas pays homage to the thousands of chillanejos who died that day. Murals by Mexican artists David Alfaro Siqueiros and Xavier Guerrero as a gift to the city in its wake can be viewed at the Escuela México.

While you’re in town, attend a rodeo, one of Chile’s most popular rural sports, at the local riding arena or “medialuna.” Next, head to the traditional Chillán marketplace, where you can taste local cuisine and purchase handicrafts and delicacies such as the nationally famous longaniza de Chillán sausage.

Chillán is also the gateway to the area’s main attraction: the Andes Mountains and their spectacular ski hills.

 

Featured Destinations of Chillán and Concepción


Touristic Services

Accommodation Car Rental
Intercity Transportation Tourism Agencies

Tours you can do

Lota Ralco and Alto Bío Bío
Termas de Chillán and Valle Las Tralcas Nahuelbuta National Park

 

Getting There

en avion
By Air
There are no direct flights to Chillán. The nearest airport is Carriel in Concepción, which is a one-hour flight from Santiago. Shuttle service is available to Concepción, and then you can take a bus to Chillán.
bus
By Bus
Buses to Chillán leave daily from Santiago and all other major Chilean cities.
Santiago Bus Terminals:
• Terminal Alameda: Av. Bernardo O’Higgins 3570, Universidad de Santiago Metro Station. Phone: (56-2) 7762424
• Terminal Santiago (formerly Terminal Sur): Alameda & Nicasio Retamales, 150 meters west of Terminal Alameda. Phone: (56-2) 3761750
en auto
By Car
From Santiago, 404 km south on Route 5 South.
From Concepción, 98 km northeast via Route 5 South.
 

 

Tips

Winter is the Season Claudio Arrau Museum Shopping in Chillan
Winter (July to September) is the best season to visit Chillán and enjoy its spectacular resort area. Summer temperatures can reach 36ºC (97ºF). Learn about the great Chilean pianist at this museum, which holds a collection of photographs, personal effects, his practice piano and over seven thousand musical scores. Open Tuesday through Sunday, mornings only on the weekends. Calle Claudio Arrau 558, near the bus terminal. Admission is free. The Chillán marketplace offers a fine selection of arts and crafts from south-central Chile including leather goods and baskets from Hualqui, pottery from Quinchamalí, as well as woven items, traditional horse tack and straw hats called chupallas. Plaza de la Merced
A Chilean Hero Coastal Highlights 2010 Earthquake 
The town of Ninhue is the birthplace of naval captain and national hero Arturo Prat, who died in 1879 in the War of the Pacific, which was fought between Chile and the Peru-Bolivia Confederation. The family home now houses a collection of the captain’s documents, photographs and personal effects. Fundo San Agustín de Puñual, Ninhue. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Take the road that heads through Ninhue, Quirihue and Cobquecura to the Bío Bío coast, where you can enjoy the region’s beautiful fishing villages and surfing beaches such as Buchupureo, which boasts waves up to six meters high. The epicenter of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit on February 27th, 2010 was the coastal town of Cobquecura, 103 km northwest of Chillán. The tragic event destroyed this and other coastal fishing villages and damaged Siqueiros’ murals at the Escuela México in Chillán. Check for updated information on reconstruction efforts before visiting.

 

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