The city of Santa Cruz has become more recognized over the past few years due to the booming Colchagua Valley wine industry which produces many of Chile’s award winning red wines. Santa Cruz is really the central hub for most tourists embarking on the Ruta del Vino wine tours and exploring the local attractions. Hotels, lodging and restaurants can be found in and around Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Chile has a central plaza — similar to many cities and towns in Chile — that is surrounded by a mix of traditional and modern architecture including a newly restored 19th century church that was destroyed in the 2009 earthquake.
Santa Cruz has not only become synonymous with wine but is well known for the Museo de Colchauga, the largest private museum in Chile.
This area is farm country and you can’t help but notice many huasos (cowboys) in their wide brimmed flat-topped chupalla hats which are as common behind the wheel of a pickup truck as they are on horseback. Chilean take pride in their traditional dress which is either a black or white cropped jacket, pin striped pants, a colorful woven sash-belt and short black boots with silver spurs. Chile’s national dance, the cueca, is an opportunity to see men and women dressed in the traditional clothing.
The grape harvest season, also called Vendimia, kicks off in March with the Fiesta de la Vendimia. This event is held in the center of Santa Cruz and lasts for 3 days. There are many local wineries that participate, along with several food vendors, local entertainment and, of course, the traditional crushing of the grapes.
Santa Cruz is a perfect home base for visiting the Colchagua wineries that extend to both the east and west along Route I-50.