Sea-lions in Valdivia

4 Days in Valdivia

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Our coach picked us up on time in Puerto Varas and we were soon on our way to the university town of Valdivia. In 1960 Valdivia was hit by a huge earthquake (the strongest recorded earthquake in history) so we were hoping there would be no repeat in history whilst we were there.  It took a few hours until we pulled into the new looking bus terminal and got a taxi to Hostal del Muelle where we would be staying for four nights.
The hotel was small and was only being manned by the cleaning lady. She gave us the keys and showed us to our room, a comfortable four-bedroom space. Once settled in we took a walk to the nearby La Última Frontera restaurant, a great recommendation from a couple of girls while staying at Hostal Compass Del Sur in Puerto Varas.

Following lunch we took a walk around the small town and ended up at the riverfront market where sea-lions gathered to wait for any fish off-cuts.

Valdivia Fish Market

Valdivia Fish Market

Having walked around town and seen a lot of it, we were at a loss with what to do for the following day! We concentrated on the kids’ education back at the guesthouse before taking another walk around town.  The vibrant riverfront attracted us daily and we booked ourselves on a boat tour for the following day. Once that was booked we found a market with a few restaurants to choose from for some local food.

There are many river tours to take, ranging from 1 to 2 hours to a 5-hour trip with lunch included.   We opted for the 5-hour tour and we were not disappointed.   A large lunch was served to us once on the boat as we sailed the scenic river.  Unfortunately, the tour guide only spoke in Spanish as he explained about the surrounding area but we got the idea and it did not detract from our enjoyment of the tour.

After a while we stopped at the Museo de Sitio Castillo de Niebla, the remains of an old fort that overlooked the river were a short walk up a hill.   The kids and parents spent time exploring the site for 45 minutes before it was time to return to the boat (via some local ladies selling cake!).

Battle re-enactment at Valdivian Fort System

Battle re-enactment at Valdivian Fort System

From Museo de Sitio Castillo de Niebla we headed to Corral Bay, at the mouth of the Valdivia River, and the Valdivian Fort System, set up by the Spanish to protect Valdivia from enemy ships.  The tour arrives in time for you to see a re-enactment of the surprise assault on the Fort, led by the Chilean navy admiral Lord Cochrane, to reclaim it from the Spanish following Chilean Independence.  The re-enactment was loud and fun and the kids enjoyed it (even though we had to look up what it was all about once back at the hotel!).   The crew on the boat serve a snack on the short way back to Valdivia and we arrived back around 6pm after an entertaining day out.

Our last day was spent catching up on schooling and packing our bags for the next stage of Chile, the tourist town of Pucón in the Lake District…