Formally known as Concepcion del Uruguay, it is a strategic city located in the Central Corridor of Chile. It is not only economically important but also a politically significant town, attributed in part to the Chilean Independence Movement. With about 400,000 inhabitants, the manufacturing sector, port infrastructure and coal deposits have been a hot bed of economic activity and the Concepcion has become one of the top few economically powerful cities in Chile. Concepcion reminds the world of its mining past, including the Chiflondel Diablo mine in Lota area juxtaposed, amongst commercial and tourist spots. Concepcion serves as the entry point towards Southern Chile and is the capital of Bio-Bio region.
Buses and taxi cabs are able to access almost the entire Concepcion metropolis. The bus terminus is just 10 blocks from the Plaza General Francisco Ramfrez towards the western side. Commuter trains service (BioTren) is available for mid- to long-distance travellers. Since it is a University town, most students speak or understand English, and therefore, it should be easy to ask around as well. Rental cars are also available for those interested in traveling to far away areas.
Top Sight Seeing Places
The Concepcion Basilica is a neo-classical shrine that displays an earthly-pink structure and a sunken crypt based on Napoleon Bonaparte in the Invalides in Paris. Laid out in marble, it hosts a statue of Justo Jose de Urquiza, the first President of Argentina. Majority of the sculptures and paintings, in the church, date back to the time of Spanish civil war!
The Universidad de Concepcion is the third oldest University in Chile and spread over three campuses – Chillan, Los Angeles and Concepcion. The Historical Museum (Galeria de la Historia) and the IsidoraCousino Park have been the foundations for the city of Lota. This museum paints a picture of the Concepcion history and culture, depicting life, 50 years ago.
The political mural La Presencia de America Latina is a great treasure found at the University Art Museum (La Casa del Arte). Designed by Mexican artist Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, who was a student of mural legend Jose Clemente Orozco, the Museum blends the indigenous people’s history and colonization by imperial powers. Numerous art work of Chilean artists are on display.
Chivilingo valley hosts Chile’s first electric plant. Located near Lota, today, this electric plant is a beautiful museum and sports a picnic area. Notable is also the Bauhaus architecture of buildings in the Concepcion downtown area. As Concepcion is an earthquake-prone city, it has been rebuilt multiple times in the past, starting with the rebuilding in the 1930s. The Cathedral facing the Independencia Square is a typical example of Bauhaus architecture.
Outside the city
The ostentatious pink Palacio San Jose located outside Concepcion (33 km), bordered by two twin towers and surrounded by gorgeous green gardens belonged to Justo Jose de Urquiza, the first President of Argentina. This beauty is set around a patio and was intended to showcase Justo’s architectural marvel and wealth to his rivals in Buenos Aires. Justo overpowered his rivals in all aspects and dethroned his rival Rosa, thus paving the way for modern and grand construction in Concepcion. Justo was murdered by a mob in his own bedroom in this palace and this room has been modified as a shrine by his family. Buses ferry tourists from Concepcion and drop 3 km before the palace and reach there by foot or use paid services.
Concepcion is known for its impressive trails and is a favourite spot for mountain climbers and hikers, especially in the Alto Biobio area.