Chilean people are typically of Spanish descent (with their ancestors having migrated to Chile mostly from the Basque, Andalucía, or Castile regions from colonial times up until the 1970s). There is also an indigenous Chilean population of roughly 5% and a much larger and broader mixed-race mestizo population. Furthermore, there are many Chileans of German, Croatian, Italian, Levantine Arab, British, Swiss, French, or Irish origin. Each of these populations and their descendants have featured greatly in Chilean history and left their own particular mark on its culture and society.
Chileans are usually more reserved and formal than most of their neighbours and are typically very polite, courteous, respectful and helpful.
They pride themselves on being a more sober, law-abiding, ambitious and hardworking lot than their regional counterparts or their Spanish ancestors, and generally life here is more practical or efficient than in other countries in the region.
On the whole, things tend to run a lot more smoothly than elsewhere in South America. Certainly, Chile itself is a model of political stability and transparency in what is otherwise at times a questionable neighbourhood; it has the highest standard of living in South America, crime is relatively low and the petty corruption that plagues most Latin American nations is generally frowned upon here. Perhaps this is why Chileans are sometimes nicknamed the “English of South America” by their fellow South Americans.
Chilean Spanish is strongly accented and fast-spoken Spanish with its own unique and particularly colourful idioms, syntax and slang.
There are also some speakers of indigenous languages such as Mapudungun and Aymara. Approximately 6% of the population can speak English as a second language fluently.
Rancagua and the O’Higgins region form a microcosm of the entire nation, and for this reason the area is sometimes called the “heart of Chile”. Chileans in general often refer to the O’Higgins region as “Huaso Country”, the huaso being the typical and regionally ubiquitous Chilean rural horseback livestock herder that is roughly equivalent to the Argentinean gaucho or the American cowboy.
Chile’s key export industries of agriculture, timber, mining and viniculture all have a foothold here. The region is home to the world’s largest underground copper mine, 25% of Chile’s orchards and fruit plantations, and the Colchagua Valley, world-famous for its ideal winegrowing conditions and high-quality, world-renowned wine.
The population of the O’Higgins region is largely made up of whites and mestizos and is more or less culturally homogenous, although traditions and superstitions run stronger in rural areas than in urban ones.
Due to its proximity to Santiago, Rancagua has become something of a commuter city, bringing urban influences while still maintaining its distinctive provincial charm as regional capital.
The O’Higgins Region is an area of numerous attractions and traditions that form part of Chile’s cultural and national identity. If you would like to discover a picturesque Chilean town, consider spending your time in Rancagua and its characteristically peaceful surroundings which can boast:
Along with dozens of vineyards and the world-renowned Carmenere stock, you will find an extensive variety of fine wines and the best wine-growing terrain in Chile, which means among the best in the world! The world-renowned Colchagua and Cachapoal valleys alone bear witness to this bold statement.
Culture & History
The southernmost fortress of the Inca- the legendary pre-hispanic civilisation originating in the Peruvian Andes- is in this region, along with the Santa Cruz museum, voted “the world’s number 1 People’s Museum” by the UK newspaper, the Independent. The colonial era was but a small part of our history!
Along with the picturesque UNESCO world heritage site of Sewell, the world’s largest underground copper mine is in the O’Higgins Region, and from here hail the rescuers of the world-famous 33 miners.
Other important regional industries include food production and fruit & vegetable exportation.
Set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty, Rio Cipreses Nature Reserve is home to many fascinating species, including the emblematic Andean Condor, and if that seems too tame, you can see even more animals in the nearby Buin Zoo or the wilderness of Africa in Rancagua Zoo’s Safari Park.
The O’Higgins Region is the garden of Chile, and fruit and vegetables grown here end up on tables all over the world! Juicy red tomatoes, sweet and crunchy apples, grapes, avocados...they all grow here. The region’s enviable fertility means a large part of Chile’s agricultural output comes from this region alone.
Food & Entertainment
In addition to Casino Monticello, the largest casino in South America, the Rancagua area offers a variety of top-quality restaurants, Chilean, Asian and Italian to name but a few. We can also organise a traditional buffet-barbecue in the nearby countryside, where you can enjoy typical Chilean meat, wine and fruit.
You can enjoy the wholepackage and all just a shortdrive from Santiago!