Valdivia is located in Southern Chile. Administratively, it is the capital of Los ríos region. It is known for its close relationship with the rivers and wetlands surrounding the city as well as for its German influences and university life.
- Only a 3 hour ride from Puerto Montt for approx 3000 pesos.
- 10-12 hours from Santiago, 10.000 to 20.000 pesos.
- Twice daily one-stop flights by LAN Express Airbus A318/320 to/from Santiago for 75000 pesos (lan.com Internet fare). The airport is about 35km north of Valdivia. Numerous shuttles await the flights and take you into the city for 5000 pesos.
- Three times a day with Skyairlines.cl
The city is small and safe enough that you can usually walk where you need to go, but there are also several transit options. Biking is also an option, especially in Isla Teja, the Costanera, and other areas outside the densest part of the center.
The local buses, known as "micros," run frequently from early morning to around 9 at night and cost between $450 and $650 depending where you want to go. The network is quite extensive but can be hard to navigate at first. There's no map of the network that I know of, but Google Maps and the app Moovit are very helpful to get you where you need to go. Buses don't always stop at every station, so wave to the driver to flag down your bus and let him know when you're about to get off. They'll generally stop anywhere along the route, even if there's not an official stop.
The Expreso a la Costa (express to the coast) is something in between a micro and a rural bus, and doesn't appear in Google Maps or Moovit. It runs to Niebla along the same route as the 20, then continues along the coast to Curiñanco. Costs up to $1700 depending on how far you go.
Taxis are plentiful in the center and generally run between $1-3000 depending on the trip. You can also use Uber in Valdivia.
- Colectivos are fixed-route, shared taxis. They look like regular cabs, but with signs on the roof advertising the route. They're cheaper than regular taxis but more expensive than buses. They run pretty much all night, and will generally take you to your door if it's near their route. The best way to navigate is probably just to tell a local or driver where you're going and ask which route to take and where to get in.
- The town has a cool little fish market, the Feria Fluvial by the river side where you can feed Sea lions and Pelicans with tidbits or snacks that you can buy from the fishmongers.
- Loads of tour operators offering boat tours to various ruined 17th Century Spanish forts. The cruises stop and allow you to explore the ruins or walk in the forests. Most tours go to the Pacific Ocean at Corral and stop for a 30 minute visit here. Tour lasts about 5 hours. Ticket price includes a quality meal and indoor seating. Tour guide narration in Spanish only. Beverages not included in the price. The boats depart from the same area as the fish market.
- Marzipan and german desserts at Chocolateria Entrelagos (downtown-at one block from the central square).
- During January and February there's a feria (fair) at Niebla on the coast. Seafood stalls and folk music and dancing until 11:00pm. Delicious empanadas de mariscos and other asado and seafood. 40 or 50 food stalls and free entry provide a great evening of entertainment. Buses run to and from Valdivia and at closing there are several buses lined up to take people back to Valdivia. Also often open weekends in the off-season, though there's not always music and I don't know how late the buses run.
Curanto served in Valdivia, Chile
- Curanto. This is a large serving of steamed shellfish served with a boiled sausage, boiled chicken leg, and potatoes. It is not always on the menu but try looking for restaurants with a large sign on the sidewalk or in the window that states "HOY CURANTO".
- Despensa Sureña at the corner between the streets Arauco and Esmeralda serves simple and cheap, but excellent lunch for about 2000 Pesos.
- La Ultima Frontera is an alternative/student bar, always packed (It can be hard to get a table), great decoration in a building under very big trees and wide food menu. Located at Pérez Rosales esquina Yerbas Buenas 787.
- Restaurant Yang Cheng is a traditional place about chinese food. This have 20 years of tradition on Valdivia city. Has a menu with more than 50 variety of chinese food.
- Villa Santa Clara Restaurant, Lord Cochrane 855 (Follow the big signs to Villa Santa Clara from the bus stop Puelche), . A really nice and secluded place in Niebla. "Parillas", fine wines, fresh fish and a very fair priced "Buffet de Mariscos" (shellfish) on Friday nights. The restaurant is situated in a pleasant garden with Cabañas nearby. edit
- Kunstmann Beer Brewery, Compañía Cervecera Kunstmann S.A, Ruta T-350 N° 950, ☎ 56-63-222570, . Each year Kunstmann organizes the Bierfest Kunstmann Valdivia an event with typical German folk music and dance. Dance groups, music bands and sometimes even yodelers from Germany, Austria, Argentina and Brazil are usually invited to perform in the bierfest in addition to local groups. Students at Valdivia's German school, Instituto Alemán Carlos Anwandter, and personnel from Valdivia's German fire station usually collaborates with the event. edit
- There is a place called "Ocio"; it's a chill-out bar and they offer great Pisco sour.
- Ultima Frontera is an alternative/student bar, always packed, great decoration in a building under very big trees and wide food menu. Located at Pérez Rosales esquina Yerbas Buenas 787.
- El Growler is a popular bar in Isla Teja specializing in craft beer. The food is also good, if slightly pricey.
- Cervecería Kunstmann  for those who love beer; this tastes so good!. You can visit the restaurant in the factory, just 10 minutes to the downtown.
- You find a dozen of places for dance or drink in "Calle Esmeralda", a short street in the downtown.
- There are several nightclubs ("discos")downtown. Murano is probably the most popular but also most expensive, followed by Live!, Gazgaz, and Bimba.
- For Gay people there is a Gay Disco named Tequila at isla teja (Fridays). Bimba is also welcoming of all orientations.
- Airesbuenos, García Reyes 550. Located in the very centre of the city, It's very affordable and clean and is run by a very hip, friendly, and open-minded fellow from Argentina. It attracts all kinds of fun people. This is the most recommended hostel in most of the International guides. From 2007 it has a new address: García Reyes 550.-
- Hostel Pratt, 595 Prat, with a great view of the Calle Calle river (it's right across the street) is convenient to the bus terminal and to downtown. The rooms are a bit dark and the beds have seen better days and the bathrooms are small. Friendly staff and a good breakfast. 20,000 pesos.
- Cabañas en Valdivia (alojamientos en Valdivia), . In Valdivia the so-called cabins (vacation rental bungalows) are popular. It is the best accommodation option in this city if you are one of those who enjoy nature. edit
- Niebla, take a micro number 20 ($500) outside the bus terminal, in 30 to 40 minutes you can reach the beach or the Castillo de Niebla, an old Spanish fort.
- Corral, Take micro number 20 or Expreso a la Costa ($500-650)most of the way to Niebla and get off when you see the red ferry boat or, from Niebla, walk about 20 minutes on the main road back toward Valdivia. Get on the ferry to cross the bay to Corral. Tickets are about $1000. There is another old Spanish fortress near the pier, with an entrance fee of $1000.
- To go anywhere else, head to the bus terminal and look for a sign with your destination or just ask around at the different companies' tickets booths. Some companies have routes and prices online but it's generally easiest just to go to the terminal and buy tickets in person, especially if you're going to a smaller town.