Torres del Paine National Park

Osorno, Chile, Tourist Attractions

Osorno, one of the oldest cities in Chile, holds significant importance in Southern Chile. It serves as the capital of the homonymous province within the Los Lagos Region, boasting a foundation dating back to 1558. The population is around 165,000 and the location is 932 km. South of Santiago, the Chilean capital, through Ruta 5 (ex Pan-American Highway). Other important nearby cities are Puerto Montt, 110 km. to the South, Valdivia, 110 km. to the North and the Argentine tourist city of Bariloche, 232 km. to the E.

Since the early decades of the nineteenth century, immigrants from various nationalities began settling in Osorno, contributing significantly to diverse areas of society. Among these immigrants were individuals from the Syrian Arab Republic, France, Spain, Austro-Hungary, and other countries, all of whom played pivotal roles in this wave of immigration. In 1845, the enactment of the Selective Immigration Law facilitated the organized arrival of a large number of German settlers, who swiftly became the largest colony in the region. To this day, the influence of the German community resonates throughout the area.


 

How to Get There

Ruta 5 Sur (former Carretera Panamericana), is the main access road to the city, for those traveling either from Northern or Southern Chile. Those who travel from the neighboring Argentine city of San Carlos de Bariloche have to take Ruta Nacional 231, entering Chilean territory through Cardenal Samore Border Pass. The access to Osorno is through Ruta 215.
Cañal Bajo Carlos Hott Siebert Airport is located 7 km. Southeast of the city. There are regular flights to and from the city of Santiago, with LATAM and Sky Airline.

Places to visit in Osorno and Surroundings

Osorno, like much of southern Chile, is a typical tourist destination. It offers countless stunning landscapes, tours, and activities to enjoy in its surroundings. Here are some of the must-see attractions while you're here.

Plaza de Armas (Main Square)

Osorno's beautiful Plaza de Armas offers visitors a unique combination of history, culture, gastronomy and entertainment, making it a must-see tourist attraction in the city. Surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings, the square is a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike. It is also the scene of cultural events, festivals and recreational activities throughout the year, making it a vibrant and dynamic place. 

The Plaza de Armas is also an ideal starting point for exploring other nearby attractions, such as the Cathedral of San Mateo, the Municipal Theater, and various restaurants and shops.


Catedral de San Mateo

Osorno's Cathedral
Image: la Ruta RallyMobil - EMOL

The Cathedral de San Mateo (Saint Matthew's Cathedral), one of the iconic landmarks of the city, is located on the perimeter of the main square, Plaza de Armas. Due to its Gothic-style architecture, it is considered an architectural gem and is the work of the Chilean architect Leon Prieto Casanova.

The original church was built in 1577. Since then, it has been rebuilt several times. Due to the damage caused by the 1960 earthquake, the largest in recorded history, it had to be completely demolished. The construction of the new church lasted 20 years (1962-1982).

 

Mercado Municipal 

Osorno's Municipal Market is an excellent place to experience daily life and local culture. Located at Errazuriz 1300, in the heart of the city, this important supply point offers a wide variety of fresh produce, from fruits and vegetables to fish and seafood, as well as handicrafts and gastronomic products typical of the region. In addition to shopping, in its food stalls and restaurants you can enjoy the varied local cuisine. In short, the Osorno Municipal Market is a recommended destination for those who wish to experience the everyday life and flavors of this region of southern Chile.

Parque Cuarto Centenario

Cuarto Centenario Park, situated on the banks of the Damas River just three blocks from the main square, boasts beautiful vegetation, making it an ideal spot for sports, children's entertainment, and relaxation. Originally established in 1958 to commemorate the city's quadricentennial, the park underwent extensive renovations, which were completed by the end of 2016. These renovations included the addition of new native trees, playgrounds, restrooms, parking facilities, basketball and tennis courts, a fountain, and over a thousand LED lights.

Museo Interactivo de Osorno  

Address: 555 Variante Mackenna. Located in the old train station, which has been remodeled to fulfill this new function, is the first Interactive Museum of Science and Technology in Southern Chile. Its aim is to promote cultural development by offering a permanent, attractive, and entertaining educational alternative for the entire population, including children and adults. Additionally, it is expected to transform the museum into a tourist attraction in Osorno, both regionally and nationally.
 

Museo Historico Municipal de Osorno

The Municipal Museum of Osorno is located at 809 Manuel Antonio Matta St. Since its establishment in 1946, it has operated in several different locations until it was relocated to its current site in 1964. The Neoclassical building, originally constructed in 1929 as the residence of the Schilling Buschmann family, now houses the museum. Its primary collections showcase archaeological and paleontological discoveries, a diverse array of objects from the Huilliche and Mapuche ethnic groups, artifacts from the period of German colonization in Chile, and a room featuring stuffed animals indigenous to Southern Chile.

 

Museo Pleistocenico de Osorno  

 Image: Javier Cardenas on YouTube
Pleistocene Museum of Osorno, inaugurated in September 2017, address: Parque Chuyaca, on the banks of the Damas River. Operated by the Municipality of Osorno, this museum features dioramas, replicas, interactive modules and fossils resulting from the paleoarchaeological research of the Pilauco Bajo site. Visitors can participate in guided tours, workshops, lectures on the Pleistocene, art exhibits and interactive activities.

This museum is part of a set of initiatives that seek to disseminate and promote the paleontological heritage of the region, making it a relevant tourist attraction for history and paleontology lovers. In addition, the open-air theme park offers a unique experience with full-scale replicas of the megafauna that inhabited the region more than 12,000 years ago.
 

Museo de Autos Moncopulli

Studebaker-Moncopulli Car Museum is an exhibition gallery of classic and antique cars created in 1995 as a non-profit family business, to house the first 22 cars and display them to the public. The exhibition reflects the passion of its founder, Mr. Bernardo Eggers for the American cars of the fifties. Dedicated especially to the American automobile brand Studebaker, although it does not rule out other brands. Today the Museum has more than 100 cars, of which, more than 70 are Studebaker, countless photo cameras, a photo studio, toy room and a machinery and antiques yard. Address: Km. 25 Ruta Internacional Puyehue.

Fuerte Reina Luisa

Reconstruction of an old fort, situated on the banks of the Rahue River and named in honor of María Luisa de Borbón, the wife of Carlos IV, King of Spain. The original construction dates back to 1793-1794 but was destroyed by a major earthquake in 1835. The current reconstruction began in 1955 and was completed in 1977. However, due to the lack of original plans, the fort does not precisely resemble its initial form, except for the base of the wall overlooking the Rahue River. In 2007, a second reconstruction effort commenced to enhance the fort as a tourist attraction.
The new reconstruction also included the establishment of an Exhibition Hall, known as the "Sala de Exposiciones Fuerte Reina Luisa," which now hosts activities related to the city's history, as well as temporary exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and other cultural events. The hall has a capacity of 120 people.

More places to visit near Osorno

Antillanca Mountain Resort
Parque Nacional Puyehue

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