Come and Discover the Central Region of Chile
Chile has something for everyone, which is one of the reasons why more and more tourists are choosing this beautiful country as a travel destination. It has magnificent holiday opportunities for everything from a desert themed vacation in Chile’s northern reaches, the Atacama, to the breathtaking landscape of southern Patagonia’s glaciers. With so many natural wonders, travel options are abundant – a week of relaxation by the seaside, or an energetic break hiking, skiing, climbing, kayaking or touring some of the most magnificent vineyards in the Central Valley.
Central Chile is really the nucleus of the country and all of the largest Chilean cities are located in this region which is home to Chile’s government, premier cultural centers, major industries, universities, world renown vineyards, colonial and early republican architecture, premier beach resorts, ski resorts, national parks and more.
Today, Chile is seemingly the most developed South American country and the capital city, Santiago, presents a mixture of first world modern infrastructure and old world charm. The spectacular backdrop of the Andes looming high above the city is home to a number of ski resorts all within two hours driving time. And just 2 hours west of Santiago takes you to the charming port of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, one of Chile’s most fashionable beach resorts. Surrounding the city on three sides is Chilean wine country which has become a new frontier for wine lovers.
Santiago is the economic center of Chile. There are also many museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities to choose from. Given the central location in the country, it makes a great base for visiting other areas within a short distance. It is possible to ski in the nearby Andes and later be on the beach, all in the same day. A fast growing city, the Santiago metropolitan area has over seven million inhabitants.
Santiago is also a focal point of Latin American commerce and the point of entry for nearly all international arrivals. Clean and modern, Santiago sits between the Pacific Coast to the west and the Andes to the east.
Numerous vineyards surround the capital along with hot-springs, 17th century colonial haciendas, and national parks in both the Andes and along the Coast Range. At night, visitors may choose from a variety of restaurants serving all types of regional and ethnic cuisines, and excellent hotels assure a good night’s sleep for business or pleasure.
Central Chile offers visitors a number of exciting outdoor activities such as biking, surfing, sunning, skiing, fishing, mountaineering, rafting, horseback riding and hiking – just to name a few. This part of the country is something of a microcosm balanced between deserts to the north and forests to the south, with the capital poised between the highest peaks in the Americas and a host of premier beach resorts.
Travelers and locals enjoy the world-class ski areas in the central Andes which lie only forty-five minutes away from Santiago.
The Central Valley extends south from Santiago as far as the Bío Bío Region and is considered the heartland of Chile.
Long, warm and dry summers combined with rainy winters make this is the most fertile land in Chile. The immense orchards, vineyards and pastures that cover the valley floor form a dazzling patchwork of greenery. It is the perfect place to grow wine grapes which has been a big deal in the Central Valley for over 4 decades.
The valley holds something for everyone. Head to the west toward the mountains to visit mining towns, relax at a hot springs spa, ski, climb rock walls, hike or horseback through nature reserves.
For beach lovers, head off to the Pacific Coast for lovely beaches and swimming (although beware of the cold water),.. excellent surfing and outstanding seafood. And, of course, every direction offers thousands of acres of vineyards and the wineries that produce some of Chile’s finest wines. Most of the valleys have a wine route (or Ruta del Vino) to help visitors plan tours.
The Central Valley has vast private estates known as estancias, or haciendas, where the country’s most powerful families exercised an almost feudal rule over the countryside well into the twentieth century. However, these days most of the land is controlled by commercial food producers rather than old, wealthy families, but signs of the colonial way of life are still very much evident. Local people have held on to many of their rural traditions: most farm workers still prefer to get around by horse, and the cult of the huaso, or “cowboy”, is as strong as ever, as can be witnessed at the frequent rodeos held in stadiums known as medialunas.
Popular Destinations to visit in the Central Region of Chile
— Santa Cruz