Los Ángeles (population 123,445) is 517 kilometers south of Santiago and 110 kilometers south of Chillán via the Panamericana; it is 162 kilometers north of Temuco, also via the Panamericana. Most major public buildings surround the handsomely renovated Plaza de Armas, bounded by Lautaro, Valdivia, Caupolicán, and Colón. Most businesses and services are on or near Colón, from the plaza north.
A farm-and-forestry town with few attractions in its own right, the city of Los Ángeles is strategically located for access to the coast range, the upper Biobío, and Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja, in the Andes to the east. It was also strategically located when, in 1739, it was founded as a military outpost against the Mapuche.
Less than a decade later, in 1748, it received official recognition from Chilean governor José Antonio Manso de Velasco as Villa de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles de la Alta Frontera del Reino de Chile. The city began to prosper with the railroad’s arrival in 1875, but it has a distinct contemporary aspect, as the major public buildings date from the 1940s.
Most long-distance buses use the modern Terminal Santa María (Av. Sor Vicente 2051), northeast of downtown via Avenida Villagrán. Tur-Bus (Av. Sor Vicenta 2061, tel. 043/315610) has a separate terminal next door.
From Terminal Santa Rita (Villagrán and Rengo), ERS goes to Antuco, near the entrance to Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja, six times daily on weekends, three times each weekday. Other rural services leave from the Terminal Vega Techada (Villagrán and Tucapel).
Inter-Bruna (Caupolicán 350, tel. 043/313812) rents vehicles.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition