"Region of the Rivers" Valdivia by kiwigal_1

Valdivia Travel Guide: 40 reviews and 106 photos


Valdivia is now the proud capital of a new region in Chile called The Region of the Rivers.

Valdivia is a very old city with strong German influence historically. It is the home to the Kunstmann micro-brewery which happens to be my favourite Chilean beer.

During most of my visits to Valdivia it seems to rain! The climate though does mean that the region is in prime dairy country. The town is home to Austral University which is the main agricultural university in Chile.

History of the Valdivia settlement

Valdivia was founded on the 9th of February, 1552. During the late 16th century, Valdivia was the second most important city of Chile but was abandoned in 1599 after Mapuche (the indigenous people of the region) hostilities. Over the next 50 or so years the Dutch settled in the area though without much success due to the local Mapuches again. It wasn't until 1645 that Valdivia was re-founded by the Viceroy of Peru and forts were built in Corral, Niebla, Mancera and the Cruces River. The ruins of these forts can still be seen and visited today.

In 1740, Valdivia came under the control of Chile and more fortifications were built along with many churches and government buildings. By the end of the 18th century, Valdivia was a very progressive city both socially and economically. An economic crisis settled in during the first three decades after the formation of the Chilean republic causing the city to lose its power and influence.

Between 1850 and 1875, the city (and the region) received a great intake of German immigrants. Many of the buildings and especially the houses have maintained a traditional German look about them since then. In fact, the German influence continues until this day with many Chileans in the area having German surnames or ancestry.

Earthquake in 1960

At 3.40pm on 22 May 1960 Valdivia was hit by the strongest recorded earthquake in the world. The Earthquake measured 9.5 on the Richter Scale. Most of the buildings in the city were destroyed by the earth's movements or by the devastating tsunamis that followed.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice people, Beautiful rivers, good seafood and beer
  • Cons:Rain
  • Last visit to Valdivia: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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