On March I participated in a press trip in the Maule region thanks to the invitation by SERNATUR Maule. I confess that the region for me was a complete mystery and that everything I knew about it was in the context of volunteer activities in from the great fire that affected the south of Chile in February 2017.
This trip was made within the context of the Vendimia of Chile, Curicó 2018, which this year celebrated its 32 year anniversary.
I was really surprised with the wide range of activities in the Maule region and that undoubtedly puts this region on the map as an ideal getaway because it’s just 2.5 hours from Santiago. You can disconnect from the regular routine, which is one thing that I love about it.
Wine tourism – visit to Korta vineyard, Puertas vineyards and to the Vendimia of Curicó:
In the Maule region you will find numerous vineyards that puts the region as the largest producer and exporter of Chilean wines. During my visit, we stopped at 2 that I would highly recommended!
In Korta Wines, we were able to enjoy an incredible lunch traditionally offered by the Korta Bucarey family in the context of the vendimia, matching each dish with exquisite wines among which the Cabernet Franc stood out for me, by far my favorite on this trip. The lunch ended with a selection of typical Chilean desserts.
The vineyard is a beautiful place to discover and the hosts really know how to make you feel at home. It is located in the area of Sagrada Familia. If you visit the Maule region you won’t regret visiting them and I’m sure you will go home with incredible wines from there.
In Puertas Vineyards we were greeted by José Joaquín Puertas. Here I learned that 98% of their production is exported. To check their high quality standards, they have a private laboratory they have for these purposes (you know, I am a laboratory mouse) and later taste their wines, I quickly understood why .
José Joaquín Puertas and Juan Cabello, tell us all about the wine production in Puertas Vineyard
It is a vineyard that has received more than 300 awards and it is important to note that they produce 100% of their grapes and therefore have full control over the way they grow and are processed, free of chemicals.
There were 6 wines that we tasted here; a Carmenère from the Milagro line (which was my absolute favorite), a Sauvignon Blanc from the Lujuria line. We also fired another favorite of mine which is the award-winning Blue Horse and a sparkling Rosé, Cava de familia. To finish the tasting, we had a velvety Late Harvest.
In this vineyard you will find tours from $ 7500 CLP p / p for a minimum of 6 people, located in “El Milagro” farm in Convento Viejo, Curicó.
In addition to the visit to these two vineyards, we were participating throughout the weekend of the activities around the Great vendimia of Curicó and I really feel that it is something that you must live at least once in life, do not miss all the detail of the traditions of the vendimia of Curicó in the post that I dedicated especially to it.
Rural Tourism – a rural experience in Casa Rural Curicó:
The last day before returning to Santiago, we had the possibility of knowing Casa Rural Curicó, milkery where cheeses and yogurt are made, one of the 9, that still exist in the Maule region, after that in a moment they were more of two thousand existing ones. Located in Los Niches sector and owned by the Cubillos Gutierrez family.
We were received by Reinaldo Cubillos, who told us how they have diversified their offer, incorporating tours of rural experience for those who visit the area.
They have a sustainable concept and the production of everything they carry out is 100% natural, with an emphasis on the circular economy and also empower other entrepreneurs in the area where they are located.
Within the offer is to make a tour that includes a full traditional breakfast, walk to a heritage house and traditional chilean lunch, in addition to activities with farm animals such as feeding the chickens and ducks and share and learn about the cows to understand the care of these animals. Things that are so alien to us in the maelstrom of urban life. This tour has a value of $ 15,000 CLP per person.
In addition to this there is the possibility of taking a workshop to make your own cheese for $ 6000 pesos p / p and will soon incorporate cabins with a very interesting geodesic architecture, so that those who go can stay and live a truly rural weekend.
They are currently working on building a large chicken coop to start the production of happy chicken eggs, a concept that in countries such as France, will be law from next year. In addition to roosters and chicken Castellanos, they have a couple of Mapuche origin Quetros, known for laying blue eggs.
For me it was a very enriching activity, for a long time I did not have the possibility of connecting with rural life and I think that for those who travel with children it is even more enchanting. There were a couple of children on the tour and the excitement of feeding and petting the animals was tremendously genuine, a great experience for them, especially considering that children nowadays have less and less access and interest, for activities where there is not some kind of screen in the middle.
During lunch we discover Mundo Vendimia who connects and disseminate the Maule region’s wineries through various initiatives and Casta Chocolates, whose value lies in the production of chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa, filled with characteristic wines of the Maule Valley. It was a true experience to pair chocolates with wines and see how the flavors are enhanced and exploded in the mouth. Another must-see if you visit the area.
Adventure Tourism – River Teno Rafting with Chilean Adventures
As you may remember, Chile for the third year in a row was chosen as the best place to do adventure tourism in South America by the World Travel Awards and it was a surprise to discover that in the Los Queñes sector, in the Teno river itself, you can go rafting, activity I personally loved.
First of all I will be honest in telling you that I was scared to death, because despite how much I love the beaches and the sea, I do not swim, at least not enough to survive in adverse conditions.
When we arrived at the place we were met by Todd Ericson, an American based in Chile 15 years ago and founder of Chilean Adventures, who in addition to offering these activities, has in the sector cabins, jacuzzi, restaurant, swimming pool and a terrace with an incredible view to the Teno river for those who want to stay for a few days, I immediately thought how lucky he is to be able to wake up every day with such a breathtaking view.
Todd told us a little about his beginnings and then took us to fill out the necessary documents to carry out the activity and that the rest of his team gave us the necessary implements, which included water boots, neoprene suit, windbreaker, helmet and life jacket .
Once equipped we went to where this adventure would start. The activity normally covers 14 kilometers, but due to time issues we only covered the last 4. The first was a safety talk with everything we needed to know to carry out this adventure that is 100% team work. What to do in case someone falls into the water, what instructions should we follow during the journey. We adjusted our helmets and life jackets well and we got on the rafts with emotion on the surface.
Special mention to the kayaker in charge of security, he accompanied the three rafts during the whole trip and the truth to see him moving around the river was a real spectacle. He raffled the rapids with great skill and braked making real skids in a kayak that seemed to be part of his body and that being a river is much more unstable than the kayak that one usually knows. He was attentive at all times to problems that might arise in the other rafts.
The value of this activity making the complete tour, including all the necessary equipment, instructions and guidance has a value of $ 17,000 CLP, which I think is a very low value if we consider that the same experience in other parts of the world can be pretty expensive. The best time of the year, as they told us, is November, where these rapids reach a category of 5-6 because of ice melting in the Andes.
I already want to repeat the experience, I feel that the team of Todd is highly qualified to have given us the necessary security to enjoy 100% this activity. Really unforgettable.
As you can see the activities that can be found in the Maule region are varied and the proximity to Santiago is undoubtedly an advantage when it comes to wanting to escape a weekend to forget about stress. They also have activities for all tastes, wine lovers, family trips, adventurous travelers and even to go with co-workers to strengthen teamwork and improve the work climate in an activity as entertaining and de-stressing as rafting. No doubt the invitation is made known and surprised with the Maule Region!