Río Bío Bío

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Río Bío Bío
Rio Bio Bio

Rio Bio Bio

location Chile
River system Río Bío Bío
origin Icalma -See and Galletue -See
38 ° 41 '20 "  S , 71 ° 15' 27"  W
Source height 1160  m
muzzle at San Pedro de la Paz in the Gulf of Arauco ( Pacific ) Coordinates: 36 ° 49 ′ 10 ″  S , 73 ° 9 ′ 52 ″  W 36 ° 49 ′ 10 ″  S , 73 ° 9 ′ 52 ″  W
Mouth height m
Height difference 1160 m
Bottom slope 3.1 ‰
length 380 km
Catchment area 24,264 km²
Drain MQ
899 m³ / s
Right tributaries Río de La Laja
Reservoirs flowed through Ralco , Pangue
Big cities Concepción
Medium-sized cities San Pedro de la Paz
Middle reaches in the Andes

Middle reaches in the Andes

The Río Bío Bío , also Biobío , is the second longest river in Chile . It is 380 kilometers long.

It runs about 500 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile . It rises from Lake Galletue in the Andes . It flows into the Gulf of Arauco at San Pedro de la Paz .


For the first few kilometers, where it also receives the water of the Río Rucanuco, the outflow of Lake Icalma , the Río Bío Bío flows east to the main ridge of the Andes. Soon the course of the river changes to the north. In the middle reaches the course changes more to the northwest of the confluence with the Pacific .

Larger cities on the Río Bío Bío from the mouth to the source:


The Bío Bío was discovered in 1544 by Juan Bautista Pastene . The Bío Bío long formed the border between the Spanish sphere of influence and the areas of the Pehuenchen and Mapuche .

In 1647 the Spaniards and the Mapuche signed a peace treaty with the Río Bío Bío as the border. However, this was repeatedly undermined by the Spaniards, so that the Arauco War flared up again as early as 1655 .

Economy and environment

The Bío Bío achieved international fame through the resistance of the Pehuenche against the Ralco Dam , a large dam complex.

Since the late 1970s, the Chilean-Spanish energy company ENDESA planned to build 6 large dams on the Bío Bío. In 1997 the first dam at Pangue was completed. The reservoirs flood large areas of the Pehuenche and destroy their fishing grounds. The entire environment on the lower reaches of the Bío Bío was greatly changed by the dams. On September 16, 2003, the Pehuenche signed a contract with the Chilean government that compensated them for the land losses. The second dam at Ralco was dammed in 2004.

Dams and reservoirs

Looking downstream, the Bío Bío is dammed by the following hydropower plants:

dam operator Max. Power (MW) Reservoir Surface (km²) Volume (million m³)
Ralco ENDESA 690 Ralco 34 1,222
Pangue ENDESA 467 Pangue 175
Angostura Colbun 316 Angostura 6.41 100


At the mouth, around 22 kilometers of the river belong to the town of San Pedro de la Paz. The lakes Laguna Grande San Pedro and Laguna Chica San Pedro offer wonderful natural landscapes for hiking. The river is also popular for kayaking and rafting .

The Valle del Bio-Bio and Valle Itata form the southernmost wine-growing regions of Chile .

The estuary is in the Lago Galletué nature reserve . The area of Alto Biobío on the middle reaches is easily developed for tourism.

Web links

Commons : Río Bío Bío  - collection of images, videos and audio files