Colchagua Valley is the land of wines and chilean countryside traditions. This is a very beautiful valley noted for its beautiful vineyards and its spectacular scenery. This is where this many of the internationally recognized wines are produced. This wines are produced in the vineyards' cellars like Lapostolle, MontGras and Montes, among others. This incredible destination is traditionally associated to an expensive kind of tourism and inaccesible some times. However, it's not necessary to be rich or to spend a fortune to enjoy the beauty of Colchagua Valley; all you need is a bike and motivation.Here we will review some of the routes that you can do without cost in the city of Santa Cruz, place where they are some of the most beautiful vineyards of the valley.Share this destination:
Rojo: Ruta N°1
Azul: Ruta N°2
Amarillo: Tramo de Ruta 90 donde se debe transitar por la vereda
Santa CruzSanta Cruz is a small and beautiful city located in the VI Region, where they live around 30.000 people. It's one of the principal destinations of the region, distinguish
it's colonial architecture and the production of some of Chilean' best wines in it's surrounding vineyards. Often it thought to be an exclusive destination, only for wealthy people, where staying in elegant hotels and pay for expensive tours in the vineyards are only choices. Santa Cruz and Colchagua Valley have much more to offer. It's enough for you to go with your bicycle (or rent one in the city) and you have all you need to know this spectacular place of Chilean Center Region.One of the alternatives to rent bycicles in Santa Cruz is in the Santa Cruz Rent a Bike agency, whose rents has a cost of CLP 10.000 per one complete day. If you think that go to eat to a restaurant is expensive, relax, there are many places that offers lunch menus at a cost from CLP 2.500. The accommodation is more expensive than other parts of the country, however, you have the alternative to go to Los Corralones camping, the cheaper commune's alternative (CLP 7.000 per person). If you trip as a backpacker and you want good alternatives of hostels and places to eat at good prices, do not doubt in checking our section Good and Cheap Santa Cruz.MobilizationSanta Cruz is a little city and it's not necessary to have a vehicle to mobilize inside of it. However, the routes we propose here, that crosses the city and lead to the nearby vineyards are about 30 kilometer and you need a bycicle or another vehicle to perform the routes. To get to Santa Cruz you can take busses from Santiago at an approximated cost of CLP 5.000 (round trip).
Route N°1The Route N°1 (red on the map) covers a distance of approximately 30 km and has a lenght of 2 hours. This is a beatiful route where the chilean countryside mixes with the big vineyards, big colonial style houses intercalate with locations of little agriculturalists andfarmers, a mixture of special landscape and colors. The route has a low difficulty, always on paved road and practically without slope, so it becomes in a
pleasant ride that can be calmly taken. A good part of the raod is well marked in Google Maps, so you just need a cell phone to orient (there is good cell phone signal in all the route)
The travel begins in Santa Cruz Plaza, moving down the street 21 de Mayo, then it follow the street Bernando O'Higgins and continues by Avenida Rafael Casanova in course to the location of Isla de Yaquil. The road to this location advances nothward going by numerous plantations, vineyards and houses where hens, chickens, goats and other animals enjor the fresh chilean countryside air. It's a peaceful and quiet zone, and the route moves by a low traffic road, ideal to relax and enjoy the landscape. At the moment you get Isla de Yaquil, you have to take the detour to Peralillo, NOT to Rincon de Yaquil. The road moves through the countryside, starting to appear the first vineyards until you arrive to Viña MontGras, one of the outstanding
places of the route.
MontGras is one of the main vineyards of the zone. You can enter (without cost) to admire the beautiful colonial style building surrounded by endless vineyards. Besides the tours to the vineyard and its wineries, you can make wine tastings. After visiting MontGras, the way continues by I-710 Route, it go across Route-90 and continues by I-352 Route, passing through Siegel vineyard. After crossing the Chimbarongo Estero, the way continues to the south, going by vineyards and fields, making a transition to a more urbanized zone.The way continues to the south, reaching the stretch of Route 90 (yellow on the map). Route 90 is in this section, a narrow street without berm and with high traffic flow, so you have to travel on the sidewalk. You have to be very careful with the pedestrians and the houses outputs. You have to go slow in this section to avoid accidents. This tract finishes in the depoue to Santa Cruz, which it should be taken and continues direct to the plaza, closing the circuit.
Route N°2The Route N°2 (blue on the map), like Route N°1, covers a distance of aproximately 30 km (round trip) and has a lenght of 2 hours. This is an espectacular route that goes into the beautiful Apalta Valley, located in the middle of Colchagua Valley. This zone has the ideal conditions for the premium wines production, producing the varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Carmenere. Here are located some of the most beautiful vineyards of the zone, offering spectacular landscapes. The route has a low difficulty, over paved road and practically without slope as the previous route.
The journey beggins in Santa Cruz Plaza, moving for Federico Errazuriz avenue, direct to the junction of Route 90, where yo have to turn right. The the stretch along Route 90 has a wide berm where you can transit with your bycicle without any problem. You have to continue until you get to the entrance of Apalta Valley (indicated like C. de Apalta on signs), where you have to take de I-350 Route that goes inside the valley. Almost all the way moves along this route so it's very difficult to get lost. The way continues next to endless vineyards, which turns into an intense red in autumn. The first vineyard to appear is Lapostolle, an exclusive place where you can only enter with a previous reservation. Shortly after it appears the entrance the vineyard Las Niñas, one of the outstanding points of the route. This one is much more accessible than Lapostolle, offering wine tastings with a cost of CLP 5.000, including also the access to the rest of the vineyard and its bycicle and trekking trails.
Then, the journey passes by Viña Montes, one of the most beautiful vineyards of all the valley. You can enter with your bycicle to observe the beautiful visitors building entrance and the vines surrounding it. If you have enough budget, you can enjoy wine tastings or take some of the tours that the vineyard offers. Next, the road continues by I-350 Route, passing the location of San Jose de Apalta and Casa Patronal Viña Las Niñas. Arriving at the end of I-350 Route, you have to turn left, moving along a beautiful road flanked by vines and countryside houses. The journey ends at the entrance to Viña Neyen, where you have to return back.
Precautions and Recommendations
1. Best Season: Between September and May. Spring, summer and autumn offers each unique viewa of the routes' landscapes.2. Physical condition The two proposed routes have low difficulty, over paved road and with a little slope, so it's no necessary to have an excelent physical condition. You can stop in the road whenever you want, without any problem.3. Equipment: In case you carry a personal bycicle, you have to carry also a suitable equipment in case one of your tyre gets flat.4. Roadway Safety: Except for the sections that pass trough the Route 90, the roads are low traffic flow, without existence of major problems to transit in them. In the sections of Route 90 you have to avoid transit by the road, as it is relatively narrow and with a high traffic flow. Remember that in the section marked with yellow on the map, you have to transit by the sidewalk at low speed. It's always recommendable to go with another person in case it happens any unforeseen. In both proposed routes, there ir good cel phone signal.5. Trash: DON'T leave any kind of trash. Be a responsible backpacker and helps to care for our nature.6. Accomodation and Places to Eat: If you travel a backpacker and you want good alternatives of hostels and places to eat with good prices, don't hesitate to check our section Good and Cheap Santa Cruz.7. Colchagua Museum: Even though it's a relatively expensive museum, this is one of the best and more interesting museums of South America. It's very recommendable to visit if you have the budget enough to pay the entrance know it.