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Valdivia, Chile - Feria Fluvial Riverside Market, Boat Excursions & Museum

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Map location: Valdivia, Chile
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Chile travel blog by Mark Berman - October 2017   » View Photoset (35 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for over 12yrs!
River cities are special and Valdivia is just one such 'river city' that I've been to that feels special because of the draw of the rivers waters, other river cities I know include Pucallpa in Peru, Penedo in Brazil and Fray Bentos in Uruguay. Often the best attractions are located around the river and Valdivia has some good ones! The Feria Fluvial market is a must-see, ferry boat excursions are fun and scenic, the Museum of History and Anthropology is very interesting indeed and the town has a nice backdrop of historical buildings. I arrived in Valdivia from Pucon by bus (3hrs) and was glad the rain had eased off!

Feria Fluvial Riverside Market

The Feria Fluvial market has some great surprises! Firstly the quality of the produce is high - spotless and perfect fruit and vegetables, Mantecoso cheese, fish, salmon, hake, clams, flowers, eggs and varieties of olives to name a few. The biggest surprise at the Feria Fluvial market however are the huge sea lions that climb up to get fish scraps from the fishmongers while they fillet the fish! This is a real spectacle and draws many onlookers, there are dozens of pelicans and river-birds gathered and waiting for their share of the feast also! My video from Twitter below will take you on a tour through this famous market in Valdivia, it's a National Monument!

Boat Excursions on the River

Boat excursions on vessels with names such as Catamaran Discovery, Raptor, Orion III, Bahia Patagonia, Explorador and Bahia Princesa are a highlight in Valdivia! Tours include the City Tour, Isla Teja (island), Corral and Isla Mancera (island) and Santuario (nature). The prices range between $5000 pesos ($8USD) and $15000 pesos ($23USD) but can be negotiated, at least they can be in early October when demand is lower. I paid $10000 for the $15000 tour to Santuario. The City Tour is an hour long and is a simple cruise around the river to see the city and area. You see the lifting bridge, wooden German houses, the cityscape, rich peoples properties on the other side of the river and maybe some birdlife. The Santuario tour is 3 hours long and takes you to a place at Santuario de la Naturaleza Carlos Anwandter called Punucapa which was founded in 1544. Here we did some beer and liquor tasting, we tasted the local beer of Valdivia called Cuello Negro. From here we walked to a nearby museum called Museo Campesino. It's a museum full of antiques - tvs, radios, bicycles, scales, typewriters, tools, kitchenware, religious pieces and much more. We also saw more views of the area and were served food and tea onboard the boat during the trip.

Museum of History and Anthropology

The bridge (Puente Pedro de Valdivia) near the Feria Fluvial fish market takes you across the Calle-Calle River to Isla Teja (island), Parque Prochelle (park) and the Museum of History and Anthropology Maurice van de Maele. Parque Prochelle was once the property of immigrant German businessman Eduardo A. Prochelle Bottcher, it was separated from the house in 1953 and access given from the bridge. There's a good view of the cityscape from the park and possibly a sea lion or two by the water. A walk through the park takes you past the Museum of Exploration Rudolph Amandus Philippi, then to the Museum of History and Anthropology. Entrance is $1500 pesos ($2.30USD). It's really quite interesting this museum! It has a lot of items made from wood, cane, ceramics and musical instruments made from cows horns. There are old paintings and photos plus information boards all about the history. The Mapuche jewellery room is impressive, the pieces carry a diversity of family histories and tales but above all they carry the feminine emotions belonging to the Mapuche women. The Mapuche people are people of the earth. In this culture the women bear a jewel that carries their family history. In the case of Isabel del Carmen Riveros Quilacan, a Mapuche woman, she wears a keltatuwe, a pendant with three halfmoons representing her 3 daughters. Once the family has a final shape, a jewel is crafted symbolising maternal completeness, remaining dormant until the arrival of grandchildren when extensions are crafted for the piece. The Mapuche people learned their expert silversmithing and textile craft from the Incas and later the Spaniards. In other rooms throughout the museum are an amazing array of antiques - a symphonion, primitive telephone, clocks, piano, furniture, paintings, stringed instruments and keyboards.

Other Sights in Valdivia

The arts and crafts market Feria Artesanal has handcrafted wooden items and good quality colorful woolen knitted jerseys, mittens and dolls. The main square Plaza de la Republica has some nice buildings and shops around it, but the best historic buildings are down towards the waterfront as well as the huge pendulum - Pendulo de Foucault. There's a McDonalds in town because Valdivia is a student town! I enjoyed Valdivia, it's not too big and not too small. A good place to spend some time while traveling in Chile! From Valdivia I took a bus south 3hrs to Puerto Montt.


View all photos in the Valdivia Photoset

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My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Valdivia, Chile:

Hospedaje Pilar del Carmen Nauto Moreira, Valdivia, Chile - Large Photo
Hospedaje Pilar del Carmen Nauto Moreira, Valdivia, Chile (October 2017 - 2 nights) - Located across the road from Valdivia bus terminal at a cost of $15000 pesos ($23USD). Not flash but pretty good if you are looking for budget accommodation. The private room was large with a shared bathroom, but it was cold being October. The staff were friendly and the center of the city is just a 5-10min walk away. There are many shops and food places to eat close-by.

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Valdivia, Chile - Feria Fluvial Riverside Market, Boat Excursions & Museum. The Feria Fluvial market is a must-see! Ferry boat excursions are fun and scenic, the Museum of History and Anthropology is very interesting and the town has a nice backdrop of historic buildings.