Welcome to Temuco, Chile!
Located just 416 miles south of the capital of Santiago, Temuco is a city in Chile with a unique and interesting culture. If you have no reservations about buses, Santiago-Temuco is an easy trip to make. Temuco is a relatively new city, but it is one that is quintessentially Chilean. The city was home to the Mapuche people for thousands of years and during the Spanish conquest of the continent, they resisted being conquered. As such Mapuche culture still reigns in certain areas of the city. Mapuche art, food, people and culture can still easily be found all throughout Temuco and for a worldwide local this is something that makes the city unique and worth visiting.
Temuco was home to Pablo Naruda and Gabriela Mistral. The population here is young and vibrant, with two major universities, and the native culture is welcoming and thriving. This alone should be reason enough to visit, but if you need more convincing, here are some of the best spots around Temuco.
Worldwide Local Tip: Temuco is a pretty small city and many things that visitors will be checking out will likely be around the city center. Public transport is pretty good and affordable if you have to go far but for the most part, the city is very walkable so bring some good shoes and don’t worry about having to get a car.
Get Started at Avenida Alemania
As a worldwide local your first need once you arrive is to try and get acquainted with the city. The Avenida Alemania is the main artery of the city and the place where both locals and visitors alike come to hang out, walk around, enjoy the sun, and maybe spend some time in the cafes or bars. Here is where you’ll find universities and a host of amazing restaurants. The street is also home to great nightlife, with a glitzy casino lighting up the city after dark. At the end of the street is the beautiful Cerro Nielol monument, overlooking the crowded street below.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Cerro Nielol monument is a must visit for any visitor to Temuco. Sitting on over 90 hectares (222 acres) of the native forest above the city, the monument is home to the national flower of Chile. This is a site of historic importance, as it was here that the Mapuche elders ceded land to the colonists creating the city of Temuco. Walk through the footpaths, enjoy a picnic, or just get some shade on a sunny day in Temuco--Chile weather is lovely, but get be a bit warm.
Eat Like a Local
As a worldwide local you’ll want to get a taste of what the locals eat and the best way to do that is to go where they do. But seeing as Temuco has a historic past with its native people, any old Chilean restaurant won’t cut it. That’s why you should check out Tradiciones Zuny. One of Temuco’s best kept secrets, this quasi-underground restaurant serves Chilean-Mapuche delicacies. Everything is organic and traditionally made. The spot is a little hard to find, so head to Avenida Caupolican and head east until you find a duck/basketball mural.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re still looking for a taste of local flavors then check out Lagerhaus. The restaurant/bar is home to dozens of locally crafted artisanal beers. The cozy little bar has a small sunny terrace for the summer months, and they have monthly specialties, so there is also reason to come back and visit.
Visit Feria Pinto
If you’re looking for an authentic experience in Temuco, you need to go where the locals do. The Feria Pinto is a Mapuche market--colorful, vibrant and big. The market takes up several street blocks and is full of people selling food. You can get anything, from artisan cheese to apples and even merkén, a Mapuche-style spice-smoked chili.
Worldwide Local Tip: While the Feria Pinto is mostly marketed towards food, the Centro Mercado Modelo is the market for everything else. Things like art and handcrafted goods can be found here, so stop by and pick up some locally crafted goodies to bring back home.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Temuco is a unique city, full of culture both Chilean and native, that is absolutely worth exploring especially as a worldwide local. Experience the beauty of Cerro Nielol and the delicious cuisine and culture of the Mapuche people here in Temuco.