Chile’s heartland close to Santiago enjoys an agreeable Mediterranean climate and its fertile soil supports orchards, fields of succulent vegetables and, with increasing economic importance, vineyards. If you relish the freedom to explore independently, the Colchagua Valley is a rewarding region to discover by self-drive hire car.
Some of Chile's finest wines are produced in these pretty, sunlit slopes, and many of the wineries welcome visitors - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Carménère are local varieties with a growing international reputation.
A distant snow-frosted Andean backdrop, sweeping views over the battalions of vines and picturesque small towns add to the pleasure of discovering the Ruta del Viño independently.
Day 1: It’s a drive of a couple of hours to Santa Cruz in the heart of the wine-producing region. You’ll be spending three nights at Santa Cruz Plaza hotel overlooking the central main square in the centre of town, opposite the interesting Colchagua museum.
Days 2,3: You are free to explore the area at your leisure for the next two days. There are numerous wineries you can stop at and visit which are particularly known for the calibre of their red varietals. There are several attractive small villages to stop along the way, such as Lolol, and an abundance of good restaurants to sample.
Day 4: Drop off your car back at Santiago airport. You then have a night booked at the Holiday Inn close by.
Day 5: Take your flight to return home or continue with your holiday in Latin America.