Temuco is a city in Region IX, La Araucanía, of Chile. It is often visited as a stopover by those who explore the rural regions around Temuco that are inhabited by people of the Mapuche tribe.
North towards Santiago
For those not willing to take any transport walking north (depending on your next destination) on the main avenue, Caupolican, isn't a bad option, but not very good either. Walk an hour to the north and you can put the thumb out and maybe get lucky. But as always, it's your best bet to take public transportation to the outskirts of town. Going north, take the micro "7 Troncal," which will take you near the north exit (salida norte) near a place called Cajon. This will cost you roughly 400 pesos (less than 1 USD as of March 2011).
South towards Puerto Montt
Walking from Caupolican, you can get to a decent hitching spot in about an hour. The much easier option is to take the microbus "6" or "8C" towards Metrenco and Quepe, two small towns located just off the Ruta 5 (Panamerican Highway) and get dropped off at Peaje de Quepe (toll station). Price as of 2017 is 600 CLP.
West towards Puerto Saavedra and Pacific Coast
Take any microbus "5" to the town of Labranza just to the west of Temuco. From there you can thumb it easily to dine on some cheap fresh seafood in Puerto Saavedra or visit the most southern salt lake in the world, Lago Budi, in a region rich with indigenous Mapuche culture.
East towards Conguillio National Park
Micro buses "3" go through the neighboring village of Padre Las Casas via the Huichahue road to the rural regions just east of Temuco. From that road you can hitch to the towns of Cunco or Melipeuco which are stopovers for those looking to do some hiking in Conguillio National Park and see the volcano, Llaima.
Places to Avoid
Temuco is a very safe city. Occasionally there are instances of muggings in the downtown area.
Avoid the shopping mall unless you're particular interested in seeing middle and upper class teenagers from Temuco.
Accommodation and Sleep
There is a good base of CouchSurfing hosts in Temuco. Also, if you find yourself in a university pub downtown (not Avenida Alemania) it could be possible to make friends with some of the patrons and find a place to crash if you make your case.