The Tren del Vino is a wine train that goes from San Fernando to Santa Cruz. The train is a steam train that has been restored specifically as a tourist train. On the train they give you a wine glass for tasting and a plate of crackers and cheese. You can sample a number of white and red wines. They also have other souvenirs available for purchase on the train.
Packages are available that include accommodation in Santa Cruz, pick up from Santiago, vineyard tours etc.
We actually drove from the coast to Santa Cruz on this particular trip but you could do it the other way round of course! The reason I would recommend this activity as you get a really good look at the region around Santa Cruz. We came across this hill that looks out over the valley and across to the Andes and it was just gorgeous!
On the coast there are beaches such as Pichelemu or Bucalemu where you could stay over. Pichilemu is popular with surfers. The water in Chile is cold though so bring your wetsuit!
One of the more unusual things I did in Santa Cruz was go to this place called Espritus. The company makes organic spirits from fruit mainly. They are also like a retreat and have a very relaxed philosophy. We were offered mint water when we arrived and told to relax. Then for those who wanted to, there was a tour of the place to see how the spirits are made. Finally we had a spirits tasting session and snacks.
The Colchagua museum is one of the better museums for looking at artefacts across Chile and South American history including pre-colombian times and post colonisation. They have an interesting collection of trains and automobiles also.
I would recommend a visit to this museum. The grounds surrounding the museum are lovely in the sunshine. Some of the Hotel Santa Cruz rooms overlook the grounds of the museum.
Adults cost 3000 pesos, Children and Students cost 1000 pesos.
We couldn't resist inserting a bit of humor into our discovery of this sculpture found in the town square which was situated across the street from Hotel Santa Cruz. There were benches throughout and locals gathered here in the evening to socialize with friends.
Shops selling newspapers and magazines, snacks, grocery items, stationary, etc. surrounded the square. We even found a place to play video games!
This rear view of Hotel Santa Cruz shows the rounded roof of the "Tiki" type bar that opens to the swimming pool and the new construction of additional hotel rooms and restaurant. This should all be finished or nearly completed by now.
The roadway to the left leads to the parking lot--the hotel compound is enclosed and not a cut-through for the public.
The Colchagua Museum is around the corner from Hotel Santa Cruz. There is no admission fee when lodging at the hotel.
The museum has pre-colombian artifacts, military paraphenalia, ancient textiles, silver pieces, pottery and vintage vehicles. The weavings are amazing--complicated patterns with original bright colors in some pieces. A display on how amber is formed was very interesting. A small gift shop and restrooms are located in the entranceway.
This is a very impressive museum, one of the best ones that I have seen in Chile.
Here you can see archeological remains from different cultures, Mapuche (Chile), Inca (Peru), Maya (Mexico), fossils from all around the world, old wine processing machines, old hearses (1900), etc.....you can easily spend more than 2 hours here.
The entrance fee is:
Adults: $2.500 (US$3.50)
Children: $500 (Less than US$1)
It's open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.
*For more pics please see travelogue*
There are a number of vineyards to visit in the Santa Cruz vecinity. A personal favourite is Viu Manent which is located 1.5 kms north of Santa Cruz on the "Carretera del Vino".