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Highlights of the Central Valley

Cajón del Maipo

The Cajón del Maipo has become an oasis for Santiago residents looking to escape the smog and hectic pace of the city. ...


A perfect starting point for exploring the Maipo Valley, the country’s most traditional wine-producing area. ...


The specialty of the small village of Pomaire was inherited from its original inhabitants. ...


You’ll find yourself steeped in the history of Chile’s War for Independence and the heart of its agriculture and winemaking. ...

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a hub for wine lovers and has renewed and revalued Chile’s traditional “huasa” culture. ...


The easygoing city of Los Andes is your gateway to historic sites, vineyards, adventure sports and skiiing the Andes at Portillo. ...

El Morado Natural Monument

Go mountain climbing, trekking, horseback riding and camping under the stars at the El Morado Natural Monument. ...

World Heritage - Sewell

Discover the traces left by the Chilean miners who lived in Sewell before the village was closed 30 years ago. ...

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The Roots of Chile's Central Valley

If you're adventurous, the inland areas of the Metropolitan and O'Higgins Regions will delight you with quite a few surprises. The Andean mountains and coastline are home to small towns, rivers and valleys in which modern life seems to give way to rural traditions.

Interested in exploring the Andes? Cajón del Maipo is your best option. Located just 15 km from the capital's La Florida district and southeast of the downtown area on route G-25, this canyon winds through Andean foothills and mountain slopes. You'll find plenty of accommodations, restaurants, extreme sports activities, hot springs and nature preserves like El Morado.

If you're more interested in learning about local culture, try Rancagua, the capital of the O'Higgins Region. Visit the former Sewell mining camp, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is buried so deep in the heart of the Andes that it has stairs instead of streets. Then head to Santa Cruz, where rural traditions prevail and it is not uncommon to see the locals sporting typical huaso costumes (Chilean cowboy gear).

Plan to stop in the colorful village of Pomaire, where craftspeople use greda, a type of clay, to create unique pots, cups, plates and small sculptures. Don't leave town without sampling the half-kilo empanadas, a true feast for food lovers.

Each of these excursions can be day-trips, but if you'd like to dig deeper into the secrets of the area's villages and valleys, you can find lodging in Cajón del Maipo and good hotels in Santa Cruz and some of the vineyards that form part of the Colchagua Valley Wine Route.


Featured Destinations

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cPomaire dRancagua
eSanta Cruz


Tours you can do

El Morado
World Heritage - Sewell
San Francisco de los Andes


Getting There

en auto
By Car
• Cajón del Maipo: From downtown Santiago, take Av. Vicuña Mackenna and turn east onto Av. Departamental until you reach Av. La Florida. Then head north to Camino al Volcán, which will take you to your destination. There's public transportation from the Bellavista de la Florida Metro Station (Line 5).
• Rancagua: Take Route 5 (84km) to the by-pass near Rancagua (start looking for it when you hit Graneros). If you don't want to drive, busses depart Santiago every 30 minutes and there are several daily Metrotren rapid transit trains that depart Estación Central. It takes about 90 minutes to get there.
• Santa Cruz: From Rancagua, follow Route 5 to the northern entrance of San Fernando. Then cut across Av. O'Higgins and take Route I-50 (the Wine Highway) to the entrance of Santa Cruz by way of Paniahue. Bus service is available from the Santiago and Rancagua terminals.
• Pomaire: Take the Autopista del Sol to Km. 50, then turn right at the toll that marks the entrance to Pomaire. Buses leave from the San Borja terminal in Santiago.
• Los Andes and San Felipe: From Santiago, take Route 5 to Route 57, which will bring you to Los Andes. If you leave from the Pirámide area, take the northeastern highway. San Felipe is 20 km north of Los Andes.


Activities that we recommend




Day Trips  Half-kilo Empanadas Santa Teresa de Los Andes Sanctuary
You can make all of these trips in a single day if you plan to leave from Santiago and/or Rancagua. You'll find ATM machines, internet access, parking and health services in most places. Don't leave Pomaire without sampling the traditional 500-gram meat empanada. It's big enough for two people or one person with an enormous appetite. You've been warned! This temple in the Aconcagua Valley was built in honor of Chile's first female saint. The Auco Convent is open daily, and there's a youth procession once a year.


Harvest Festival Rafting the Maipo River
The valleys are bursting with vineyards and the grape is celebrated each March at the Harvest Festival, which features wine tastings, folk music and dance, and more wine. The best ones are held in Santa Cruz and Pirque. Several companies organize rafting expeditions through the heart of the canyon. There are also other outdoor activities like horseback riding, trekking, skiing and paragliding.



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