The Region of Maule is slowly becoming a niche market for special interest tourism through a project of Cyclotourist Networks that stands out for: going through beautiful landscapes from the mountain to the sea, offering delicious wines to accompany the local gastronomy, and being a window to the huaso culture, the bicycle, and the joy of going through Chile’s countryside.
By Luis García O.
It is possible that, before going any further in this article, you ask yourself the following question. Where in the world is Maule located?
To answer it, you would probably resort to the fastest source of information: Internet. If you browse the word “Maule” in any search engine, the first results will probably tell you that it is one of the country’s fifteen regions, that it has a large amount of world-class vineyards, that it is the heart of Chile and the crib of national cycling, among other characteristics.
The latter feature, along with the bunch of attractions offered by this region, made a group of local professionals and actors imagine think of a tour through Maule on a bike, crossing Cyclotourist Networks of great scenic beauty that connected the different areas in the region (mountain, valley, coast). This project would allow to heighten the local traditions, gastronomy, wines, people, and natural and cultural attractions. As a result of this collective image, Maule has now six cicylotourist axes, two of which are commercialized by local operators. Those two axes go along the precordillera and the coast. They are divided into the following stretches:
STRETCH 1. Through the vines of Curicó Valley (22kms of serenity).
It is no secret that Chilean wine is famous and recognized orldwide. But, can you picture yourself going on a bike through the vines that give birth to that dense, delicious red liquid, tasting different stocks in an unforgettable setting? Doing so is possible. This tour starts in Mario Edwards Vineyard, located on the bank of Lontué river. It is the heir of a wine tradition dating back to 1860. After 15 minutes pedaling through traditional roads of the Chilean countryside, you will arrive at Altacima Vineyard.
You will be welcomed by its very owner, who will give you a short review on the wines made there and explain to you why it this is considered a boutique vineyard. The last stretch is thought for those who think that pedaling through vines is a monotonous and effortless activity. In order to get to San Pedro vineyard you will have to take a dirt road skirts the slope of a steep hill. San Pedro boasts one of the largest plantations of vines in South America, with over 1200 hectares. It also has an underground cellar built in 1865, where you will taste several stocks and end the day enjoying a delicious country lunch.
STRETCH 2. From Duao to Constitución (60 kms along the beach)
These names may not sound familiar when it comes to planning your vacations and traveling south. Nevertheless, this route offers enough attractions to become one of the most interesting destinations in Maule. During this trip you will see coastal wetlands filled with endemic birds, get immersed in the beautiful dunes of Putú on a Unimog truck, to finally arrive at the port of Maguillines after pedaling along the promenade of Constitución.
STRETCH 3. From Colbún to Yerbas Buenas (50 km of mountain range and history).
Some may be hesitant if thinking of going to the mountains on a bike, but the attractions of this lands and human curiosity will always defeat laziness. It is common to associate the mountain with an overwhelming physical effort, but the first stretch of this trip requires only a minimum effort to reach Ribera del Lago Vineyard. In this stop you will taste its wines accompanied by an exquisite fish ceviche. Those who want a quiet, cozy place to relax after pedaling may go to Chez L’Habitant Lodge, recommended by TripAdvisor.
After a well deserved rest, the trip continues through the so called thermal route, which is only three kilometers away from the town of Rari. It is a rural community with big country houses, colonial buildings and craft markets specialized in horsehair works.
This trip culminates in the district of Yerbas Buenas, a historical place where the first battle for the independence of Chile took place: La sopresa de Yerbas Buenas (Yerbas Buenas’s Surprise)
This tour and all its stretches are ideal for anyone who wants to discover new territories on a bike.
How to get there
Departing from Santiago there are three alternatives.
By bus: departures from the Estación Central Station, Universidad de Santiago train station.
By car: through Panamerican Highway or Ruta 5 Sur.
By train: Service operated by Terrasur. 6 trains a day coming from Santiago and Chillán.
You can read more and book tours here.