Welcome to Cañete, a historic city located in the Arauco Province of the Biobío Region in Chile. Founded in 1558, Cañete is one of the oldest cities in the country and is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. The city is located 135 km to the south of Concepción and is easily accessible by road and air. In this travel guide, we will explore the many attractions and activities that Cañete has to offer.
Cañete was founded under the name of Cañete de la Frontera in 1558 by Governor García Hurtado de Mendoza and named in honor of his father, Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza, 3rd Marquis of Cañete. The city was an important location in the Arauco War and was the site of the Battle of Tucapel and Pedro de Valdivia’s death. The present city was founded on 12 November 1868 by colonel Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez as part of the pacification of Araucanía. In recent times, the city has faced challenges such as the 2010 Chilean earthquake and the tragedy of Cañete in 2006.
Geography and Climate:
Cañete spans over an area of 760.4 km2 (294 sq mi) and has a population of 31,270 inhabitants. The city has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Cañete is during the summer months from December to February when the weather is pleasant and there are many outdoor activities to enjoy.
Attractions and Activities:
Cañete has many attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. The Mapuche Museum of Cañete is a must-visit for those interested in the local culture and history. The museum has been open since 1968 and showcases the Mapuche way of life and their struggle for independence. The Agricultural, Livestock and Forestry Fair of Cañete is another popular event that takes place every year between January and February. The fair is considered the largest in the region and one of the most important agricultural events in Chile. It usually hosts more than one hundred exhibitors and features activities such as loose mare threshing, agricultural and forestry machinery exhibitions, and gastronomy contests, amongst other activities. Additionally, the fair incorporates the local culture by showcasing Mapuche and Chilean farm traditions. Since 2015, the fair has been held in conjunction with Cañete Week which features singers, music groups, and comedians. Another event, the Farmer Fest of Cayucupil, takes place 14 km from the city center in a rural area.
For those interested in outdoor activities, Cañete has many options to choose from. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and natural attractions such as the Nahuelbuta National Park, which is located 60 km from the city and is home to many species of flora and fauna. The park has many hiking trails and camping sites for visitors to enjoy. The city also has several beaches nearby such as Laraquete Beach, which is located 25 km from the city and is a popular spot for surfing and swimming. The city also has several bus terminals downtown, including Pedro de Valdivia terminal, Jeldres terminal, and Biobio-Jota Ewert terminal. Intercity buses run to Santiago, Concepción, and Temuco.
Education and Healthcare:
Cañete has 34 primary and secondary schools, of which 24 are public. Top schools include Liceo Gabriela Mistral, Instituto San José, and Liceo B-56. Higher education institutions include the Technological Institute of the Catholic University of the Most Holy Conception and the CFT Lota Arauco of the University of Concepción. The Intercultural Hospital Kallvu Llanka is located on route P-60-R, in northern Cañete. It offers traditional medicine while channeling and honoring Mapuche culture through aspects such as circular waiting rooms similar to rukas. The hospital was opened in 2013.
Administration and Transportation:
Cañete is a commune, the smallest administrative subdivision in Chile. It is a third-level administrative division administered by a municipal council, headed by an alcalde (mayor) who is directly elected by the public every four years and leading a six-member council. The municipality of Cañete is a member of the Association of Municipalities of the Arauco Province, also known as Arauco 7. Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Cañete is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Manuel Monsalve (PS) and Iván Norambuena (UDI) as part of the 46th electoral district, together with Lota, Lebu, Arauco, Curanilahue, Los Álamos, Contulmo, and Tirúa. The commune is represented in the Senate by Víctor Pérez Varela (UDI) and Felipe Harboe Bascuñán (PPD) as part of the 13th senatorial constituency (Biobío-Coast). Las Misiones Airport is located in northern Cañete and is easily accessible by air.
Cañete is a hidden gem in Chile that is often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors. The city has a rich history, cultural heritage, and many attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are interested in history, culture, outdoor activities, or just want to relax on the beach, Cañete has something for everyone. So why not add Cañete to your travel bucket list and discover this enchanting destination for yourself?