Where the Río Cau Cau joins the winding Río Calle Calle to form the Río Valdivia, the city of Valdivia (population 129,952) is 162 kilometers southwest of Temuco and 35 kilometers west of the Panamericana via Mafil; it is 107 kilometers north of Osorno and 46 kilometers from the Panamericana via Paillaco.
Valdivia’s major economic and recreational feature is its namesake river while, downstream, several colonial historical monuments are the destinations of frequent excursions. The presence of the Universidad Austral and its many students contribute to an active cultural life, with frequent performing-arts events.
In recent years, though, Valdivia has garnered unfortunate publicity because waste from the nearby Celco pulp mill has devastated black-necked swans at the Río Cruces nature sanctuary—a disaster that’s raised environmental awareness among much of the populace.
In terms of political geography, changes may be in the works as the province of Valdivia is lobbying to become Chile’s 13th region, the Región de los Ríos, separating from Region X (Los Lagos). If this happens, Valdivia would become the regional capital.
Valdivia’s Terminal de Buses (Anfión Muñoz 360, tel. 063/212212) is about eight blocks west of Plaza de la República. There are frequent services along the Panamericana from Santiago to Puerto Montt and intermediate points, and on to Chiloé.
Regionally, Buses Jac (tel. 063/212925) goes to Temuco and to Villarrica and Pucón. Other regional carriers include Buses Pirehueico (tel. 063/218609) to Panguipulli and Buses Cordillera Sur (tel. 063/229533) to other interior Andean lake destinations.
EFE is due to commence service to Temuco from Estación Valdivia (Ecuador 2000, tel. 063/214978).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition