Talca is in Central Chile. It is the capital of both Talca Province and Maule Region.
Talca is accessible by the main highway of Chile, the Ruta 5, a modern and well-maintained toll road with a 120kph speed limit which is part of the Panamerican Highway system. Getting in to the city from the highway involves many unmarked turns that leave you feeling that the city is not interested in visitors. Alternatively, this fact can be seen as demonstrating so well the exasperating nature of the successive Chilean governments' attitude to road signage.
Talca personifies the Chilean characteristics of being isolated, insular and very local. Most travellers from Santiago to the South pass right through and have no experience of Talca, a busy medium-sized city with cars, taxis, buses, bicycles and horse-drawn carts in the streets.
Regional paved roads lead westward from Talca to the Pacific ocean. To the east, the San Clemente road is paved to within 80km of the Argentine border at the rugged Paso Pehuenche which is open for about 2 months of the year, otherwise closed and impassible because of snow.
Bus service to and from Talca is frequent and goes in all four directions. There is train service north and south with a rustic and picturesque narrow-gauge train that makes the trip to the coastal town of Constitución. This train is a favorite of tourists.