This northern gateway to the Lake District acquired a bit of pop-culture cachet as the setting for a scene in The Motorcycle Diaries, a film depicting Che Guevara's prerevolutionary travels through South America in the early 1950s. But with its office towers and shopping malls, today's Temuco would hardly be recognizable to Guevara. The city has a more Latin flavor than the communities farther south (it could be the warmer weather and the palm trees swaying in the pleasant central park). It's also an odd juxtaposition of modern architecture and indigenous markets, with traditionally clad Mapuche women darting across the street and business executives talking on cell phones, but oddly enough it all works. It warrants a day in town if you have the time.


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