The Center

Metropolis, hiking and wine

This is the heart of Chile's political and cultural life – a third of Chile's population lives in and around Santiago. However, it is often ignored by travel guides. Very incorrectly, as here in this transition zone between the rivers Aconcagua and Bio Bio most of the landscapes and climate zones of the country are represented, from the semi-desert to the beginning rain forest, from the icy high Andes to the foggy coastal cordillera, glaciers and volcanoes, fertile valleys and basins. The central region has a distinct Mediterranean feel and is the perfect starting point to explore the attractions of Chile.

The capital Santiago is not only the political and economic heart of Chile. The fertile central valley is also the country's orchard, wine cellar and granary. This is the home of the Huasos and Arrieros, the Chilean cowboy. And just a few kilometres outside Santiago, nature lovers will find a diverse fauna and flora, mountain hikers can climb lonely peaks and kayak fanatics can explore untamed rivers, hang gliders and paragliders can admire the Andes from above and surfers can enjoy the Pacific tubes.

In the Andes near Santiago, six peaks reach the six-thousand-metre mark, and dozens reach over 5000 metres. Alpinists from all over the world meet here, and in winter it is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. During summer, the long, warm period form November to April, you can safely leave your raincoat at home - sunshine is more or less guaranteed, a fact that beach lovers in particular appreciate.

From Santiago, the seaside resorts north of Viña del Mar can be explored within a day trip and the maritime flair of Valparaísos, the picturesque harbour city on the hills, or the dreamy alleys of the old colonial villages around Talca charm every visitor.

Tips for Central Chile:

  • Visit one of the numerous wineries south of Santiago, tasting included!
  • Stroll over the hills of the harbour town Valparaíso always looking for new bay views.
  • Observe the surfers in Pichilemu, the capital of surfing.
  • Hike in the lonely nature reserve Altos de Lircay near Talca.
  • Enjoy a Horse riding tour around the thermal baths of Chillán.

Travel Route for Central Chile:

Central Zone, Araucania and Lake District