Bustling little Curicó, founded in 1743, is the only town of any significance in the Mataquito Valley. An agro-industrial centre servicing the surrounding vineyards, it suffered badly in the 2010 earthquake but a construction boom is currently under way. While Curicó has little to hold your interest for more than a few hours, it is the gateway for excursions to both nearby wineries and Parque Nacional Radal Siete Tazas.

Curicó is built around one of the most beautiful central plazas in Chile, luxuriantly planted with sixty giant Canary Island palms. Standing in their shade, on the northern side of the square, is a highly ornate, dark-green wrought-iron bandstand, constructed in a New Orleans style in 1904, while close by an elaborate fountain features a cast-iron replica of The Three Graces. In contrast to these rather fanciful civic commissions, the memorial to Toqui Lautaro – the Mapuche chief at whose hands Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia came to a grisly end – is a raw and powerful work, carved out of an ancient tree trunk.

Standing on the northwest corner of the square, the Iglesia La Matriz makes for a curious sight, its grand Neoclassical facade giving way to a spacious and modern brick interior.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Chile features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why you should visit Chile in 2018

Why you should visit Chile in 2018

A slither of a country that somehow manages to encompass barren desert, knife-edge mountains and fertile river valleys, Chile has long attracted intrepid travel…

08 Jan 2018 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
Video: the 1 minute guide to Chile

Video: the 1 minute guide to Chile

Chile is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. From the parched peaks of the north's Atacama Desert to the storied wilderness of Patagonia in the south, the nature…

30 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
A postcard from San Pedro: finding life in one of the world's driest deserts

A postcard from San Pedro: finding life in one of the world's driest deserts

The unique landscape surrounding the Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama is one of the world's top stargazing spots – but, in recent years, it's also attrac…

22 Nov 2017 • Sarah Reid insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right