Across the Panamericana from Talca, the former fundo of Huilquilemu is one of Chile’s single most impressive big houses, with its long corridors, thick adobe walls, multiple patios, wooden ceilings, and extensive gardens of native and exotic trees. Under the administration of the Universidad Católica, it boasts a religious art museum, an assortment of historic farm equipment, an elegant library honoring regional writers including Neruda and Pablo de Rokha, and a spectacular display of folk art from throughout the Americas. The sprawling, forested gardens include specimens of sequoias, deodar cedars, and palms.
Huilquilemu (Ruta 115, Km 10, tel. 071/242474) is 10 kilometers east of Talca on the San Clemente road; hours are 10 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3–6:30 p.m. weekdays except Monday, 3–7 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Sunday; adult admission costs US$1, while children pay US$0.40. Any San Clemente-bound micro from Talca’s Rodoviario Municipal passes the site.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition