Concepción - Chile - and its surroundings / South / East
The capital of the Eighth Region (Región del Bio Bio) and second largest city of Chile, also called the Capital of Southern Chile, is attracting more and more visitors every year. That´s the result of great efforts as, together with the modern infrastructure, it was possible to conserve “green space”, such as the Parque Ecuador, the Bio Bio riverside and the Cerro Caracol in and around the city. Concepción is situated about 500 km to the south of Chile´s capital and can easily be reached by car, bus, plane, train, and a new highway. Concepción has about 220.000 inhabitants. However, the whole area including the surrounding municipalities San Pedro, Chiguayante, Hualqui, Hualpén, Talcahuano, and San Vicente, has almost a million inhabitants.
Lifestyle in Concepción - Chile
Clean and healthy oceanic air, Andean spring water, excellent fresh and healthy food, but also little traffic and stress, agreeable temperatures and neither too arid summers nor too rainy winters make Concepción and its surroundings a great place to live, work, and study.
Modern infrastructure such as an airport, hotels, universities, schools, convention centers, shopping centers, cinemas, a zoo, theaters, and special events like concerts of national and international artists and bands are only a small part of what the whole area offers. The nearby green parks and the coast line invite visitors to relax, and the low cost of living increase the quality of living clearly above the one of Chile´s capital.
As the inhabitants of Gran Concepción are divided into several municipalities (Concepción, Hualpén, Talcahuano, San Pedro, Penco, Chiguayante, Hualqui), a unique culture has risen as a mixture between modern city and country life.
Culture and spare time in Concepción
A symphony orchestra, alternative cinemas, theaters, music academies, but also courses for hobby painters can be found in the area.
Safety in Concepción
Concepción is surprisingly safe, but there are some points to be taken into account. Dress slightly conservative, just as the locals do. Do not expose valuable attire or just do not put it on at all. Keep your backpack or handbag in front and keep at least one eye on it. On the other side, do not overprotect it, as this attracts thieves and pickpockets.
Avoid to visit the center after 23:30 and keep off the area around the Vega Central (Central Market) and towards Los Carrera Avenue. The area north of Los Carrera (Bulnes, Manuel Rodriguez, etc.) should be strictly avoided night and day. The nightlife district Barrio Estación might also be dangerous by night.
During the day, there is a police car with an integrated office at the Main Plaza (Plaza de la Independencia), at night you have to get to the corner of San Martín and Salas. The nationwide emergency number is 133!
Sports and outdoor activities in Concepción
There is an open soccer stadium for several thousands of fans, basketball, rugby, and horseback riding clubs, an aviation club, a model aviation group, and several biking, mountain bike, and mountaineering clubs have their offices in the city center.
As the Pacific ocean is only a few minutes away, people practice surfing, body board, scuba diving, sailing, but also kite surfing has become a very popular hobby amongst the Penquistas.
Infrastructure in Concepción - Chile
The infrastructure in Concepción is in good conditions, as well as all big roads of the suroundings of the city. The street system in the city itself is, like in most other American cities, easy to understand. If you do not have a car and want to get around by bike, there are some bicycle lanes in Victor Lamas street, Prat street and in the municipalities of Hualpén and San Pedro de La Paz, as well as along the Bio Bio river.
The blue city buses, called micro in Chile, bring you to every corner of the area, to Hualpén, Talcahuano, Penco, Chiguayante and San Pedro de La Paz. The price for each ride is 420 Chilean Pesos (state:March 2012).
Gastronomy in and around Concepción - Chile
The gastronomy in Concepción covers simple restaurant or “Picadas” (e.g.Carlos T, La Picá de Puchacay), such as cuisine like Aquarium, Jazz or Rocinante, and vegetarian restaurants like “Lettuce”. Fish and seafood are offered in Lenga, a “Caleta” (small village by the sea) only five minutes from Concepción.
The best cafés are at the city center, around the Plaza de la Independencia, e.g. Rometsch, Copacabana, Roggendorf, and Cantabria.
Surroundings of Concepción - Chile
The coastal towns and the nearby beaches, like Playa Blanca near Lota, can rapidly be reached by modern public busses.
Many locals prefer to visit the beaches to the north of Concepción, such as Penco, Tomé, Lirquén, and Dichato.
A must is the Peninsula of Hualpén with the Desembocadura where the Bio Bio, Chile´s broadest river, meets the Pacific Ocean. Within the park, which is called Pedro del Río Zañartu, a museum can be visited in which you find species from all over the world - even an Egyptian mummy is there.
Chome, located on the Peninsula as well, is a coastal village with a former whale factory. Scooba divers still find whale bones in that bay. Another place worth to visit is Ramuntcho, a white sanded bay with some beautiful rocks and caves where divers find unbelievable spots.
Only twenty minutes away from the city center is the Reserva Nonguén, a Natural Preserve where the Pudú (dwarf deer), the Rana de Darwin and several other endemic species can be found in the middle of the native forest.
More crowded and less crowded beaches can be found to the south of the city, e.g.Playa Blanca between Coronel and Lota, two former black coal towns along the “Ruta del Carbón”. The “Chiflón del Diablo” black coal mine offers tours where shafts below the Pacific ocean are visited.
Towards the inland, dense forests and some small and medium- size winemakers can be found around the Itata Valley which can easily be reached on a modern highway.