TALCA is mainly used as a jumping-off point for several rewarding excursions spread along the valley of the Río Maule. The city boasts its fair share of services and commercial activity, mostly centred on the main shopping street, 1 Sur, with a pedestrianized section between 3 Oriente and 6 Oriente. Away from the frantic bustle of this thoroughfare, however, the rest of Talca seems to move at a snail’s pace, not least the tranquil Plaza de Armas, shaded by graceful bougainvilleas, jacarandas and magnolias. Half-hidden beneath their foliage is a handsome 1904 iron bandstand.