Best of the Chilean Heartland
Hills of Valparaíso: With their unique funiculars and quasi-medieval streets, the port city’s hills are the main reason it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Isla Negra: Poetry pilgrims and Chilean romantics stand in long lines to tour Neruda’s beach house on the shoreline south of Valparaíso.
Parque Nacional La Campana: From the summit of its namesake peak, this compact but ecologically diverse national park offers views from the vast Pacific to the peak of Cerro Aconcagua, the highest point in the Americas (across the Argentine border).
Portillo: Nudging the Argentine border, the snows of Portillo have seen downhill speed skiing records, but there are options for all skill levels.
El Teniente (Sewell): Bidding for World Heritage Site status, the model company town of Sewell was the residential sector of the El Teniente copper mining complex, east of Rancagua.
Museo de Colchagua: In the town of Santa Cruz, this highly professional museum helps put the surrounding wine country in historical context.
Pichilemu: The water’s cold all year, but the breaks bring surfers from around the world even in midwinter.
Reserva Nacional Altos del Lircay: In the Andes east of Talca, Altos del Lircay is the best approach to the Sendero de Chile and wild backcountry that offers far more solitude than highly publicized Torres del Paine.
Escuela México: In the city of Chillán, Mexican muralists David Alfaro Siqueiros and Xavier Guerrero left their politically committed legacy on the walls of a school financed by their government.
Termas de Chillán: East of its namesake city, hot-springs hotels and heavy snowpack make this Andean resort a year-round destination.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition