Rancagua's Rodeo

Buckin' broncos in a dusty arena, real-life cowboys in leather chaps – it's the Campeonato Nacional de Rodeo. Held in early April in Rancagua, the championship is the culmination of Rancagua's rip-roaring annual rodeo season. At night, the Plaza de los Héroes comes alive with traditional Chilean cueca dancing (a playful, handkerchief-waving dance that imitates the courtship of a rooster and a hen) and a colorful market of regional foods and crafts.

Rancagua is an easy day trip from Santiago. TrenCentral runs four daily trains from Santiago (CH$2100, 1½ hours) to Rancagua's train station. Turbus has at least one hourly bus service from Santiago (CH$2200, 1¼ hours) to its terminal in the west of Rancagua. It also has several daily services from Rancagua to cities further south from the separate Terminal O'Higgins on the east side of town. These include Curicó (CH$3000, 1¾ hours), Talca (CH$4500, 3½ hours), Chillán (CH$6200, 4½ hours) and Puerto Montt (CH$15,700, 13 hours). Pullman has at least one hourly service from Santiago (CH$2200, 1¼ hours) to Rancagua's Terminal O'Higgins, and several daily services from Rancagua to cities further south, including Curicó (CH$3700, 1¼ hours), Chillán (CH$10,500, 4½ hours) and Puerto Montt (CH$15,700, 12 hours).