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Concepción, founded in 1551, is the second-largest city in Chile behind Santiago. It is also one of the country’s most important due to its universities, commercial activities such as the local agricultural, hydroelectric and coal industries. However, the industrial sprawl does not enhance Concepción’s image as bland, soul-less buildings are scattered throughout the city.

A history full of catastrophic events - Mapuche raids against the Spanish as well as earthquakes which have in the past devastated the area - has also taken its toll on the appearance of the city. Eventually, nearby coal mining in the town of Lota helped spur Concepción’s growth, and now the town hopes to exploit its past to attract tourism dollars.

Concepción has a decent amount to offer tourist during the day. Most popular is perhaps the Galería de la Historia, though Jorge González Camarena’s Mexican mural at Casa del Arte is also an impressive sight. The Plaza de la Independencia, Catedral de la Santísima Concepción, Parque Ecuador and Museo Haulpén are worth a visit too.

The city is not loaded with a ton of low-cost choices but there are a few deals to be found at places such as Residencial Metro or Hotel San Sebastián. Accommodation at Hotel Alonso de Ercilla, Hotel Club Presidente Concepción and Holiday Inn Express attract more businessmen than backpackers.

Cafés, fuente de sodas and nice restaurants are around every corner in Concepción. International options such as Chung-Hwa or Sublime Sushi Bar are gaining popularity. Treinta y Tantos is a favorite empanada spot and late-night bar among students, while Buccato Express offers affordable Chilean food. And Café Haiti offers a good cup of coffee or tea.

Neighborhoods in Concepción: Around Concepción ,

Other places nearby Concepción: Rancagua, Los Angeles, Curicó, Chillán, Pichilemu, Talca, Angol, Contulmo, Constitución and Santa Cruz.

By Chris Hughes
Traveling South America to give Viva readers the most up-to-date information...
28 Apr 2009

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Things to do in Concepción

Cañete Mapuche Museum

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Galería de la Historia

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