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     Central Region

Chileans generally define the central region as the area located south of La Serena and north of Concepcion. This fertile region has a Mediterranean climate and is the main wine producing area in Chile. It is also the commercial hub of the country, with Santiago and Concepcion the main industrial centres.

It is the central region that has seen the most significant developments of the country since the Spanish Conquest, and where its character and personality has been shaped. The national dance “cueca”, the celebration of Independence Day, the Chilean Rodeo, Chilean cuisine and  many traditions, all they have their roots in this region.

The country side and geography are less dramatic than that of the north or the south although  there are soaring mountains some reaching over 6,000 .

The Andes near Santiago offer some top class ski resorts with excellent snow conditions from June to September.

The central coast has many resorts where “Santiaguinos” go to escape during the hot summer days. At this time the weather here is much cooler than in Santiago because the Humboldt Current that affects the western seaboard of the country.
Average summer temperatures in the central region are around 30 C and they can reach 35 in hot days.

Santiago de Chile.

Chile’s capital was founded in 1541 by the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia and has subsequently remained the main cultural and administrative centre of the country.

Santiago’s location in a valley at the foot of the Andes means that on clear days
There are spectacular views of snow-capped mountain peaks.

The city’s downtown area boasts the main historic buildings, palaces and museums. A tour of the historic city should include the Cathedral on the main Plaza de Armas square, the older San Francisco Church built in 1620, the 19th century aristocratic quarter with the Palacio Cousiño and the Club Hipico, La Moneda Presidential Palace and the funicular ride up San Cristobal Hill to the statue of the Virgin, from where there are views across the Mapocho River to the city centre and the Andes beyond.

The Providencia Commercial District  is one of the new shopping and financial centres where many of the newer  hotels and  a great gastronomic offer can be found.

One of the city’s strongest assets is its proximity to the grandeur of the of the Andes and to the Pacific Ocean. Day excursions can bring you to remote mountain valleys for rambling or horse riding, to the coastal cities and beaches of Valparaiso, Viña del Mar and other resorts, to the vineyards of the Maipo Valley and to ski resorts only one hour away.

Valparaiso and the Coast

Valparaiso is Chile’s main port, an attractive city surrounded by hills, which create a natural amphitheatre.
The city enjoyed its golden era during the 19th century when it was one of the main ports in the Pacific, an obligatory stop for ships travelling from Europe via the Magellan Strait.

Some of the older buildings still survive as testimony to Valparaiso’s bygone glory. Funicular railways remain an important  means of transport  for the descent from the hills to the lower town and port area.

Next to Valparaiso lies the fashionable resort of Viña del Mar, popular with the local trendsetters and boasting a Casino, racecourse and fine beaches as well as beautiful; parks and gardens.

Valparaiso is also the gateway for the other coastal resorts including Zapallar, Marbella Resort, Algarrobo and Isla Negra; last home of the Chilean Poet and  Nobel Prize winning, Pablo Neruda.

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