The Río Maule flows into the sea almost 75km west of Talca at the industrial port of Constitución, south of which a coast road leads to the seaside villages of Chanco, Pelluhue, Curanipe and Buchupureo. To the east of Talca, the river has been dammed, resulting in Lago Colbún. Just east of Talca, the Villa Cultural Huilquilemu is a handsome nineteenth-century hacienda, now a museum, closed at the time of writing following earthquake damage, while further east, high in the cordillera, the Reserva Nacional Altos del Lircay provides trails through dramatic mountain scenery. Further south, you’ll find the neighbouring hot springs resorts of Panimávida and Quinamávida and, down on the valley floor, a proliferation of vineyards, many of them conveniently located between the town of Villa Alegre and village of San Javier on a route served by plenty of local buses from Talca.

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