A classic mode of transportation, a train ride can offer a perfect way to see a country and discover landscapes often overlooked.The train journey from Talca, South of Santiago, to coastal Constitución, is a perfect example.
The buscarril, or small locomotive, runs along the banks of the Maule River in central Chile, ferrying passengers along a rural route. The last non-electrical train and its stops are such a lovely journey, they were named a historical monument in 2007.
“The train line rescues much of what makes up the identity of our rural zones, our Maule Region,” the director of Chile’s tourism service for the region, Carolina Reyes, said recently.
The journey rolls through vineyards and picturesque farmlands, typical of rural Chile. The train first stops in Corinto, roughly 16 miles from Talca, then at the Estación Curtiduría in Pencahue. In both cases travelers have the chance to taste delicious wines from several vineyards, eat local foods, and buy typical products and crafts as well as visit rivers that run through the area.
The land of huasos, the local cuisine is marked by rustic, down-to-earth flavors. Chilean classics like pastel de choclo, a tasty corn casserole made with ground meat and onions; and cazuelas, hearty stews made with all local ingredients including zapallo, beans, corn and meat.
The third stop is at Estación González Bastías, named for the Chilean poet Jorge González Bastías who onced lived in the area. Visitors can visit Viña González Bastías, relax along the banks of the Maule River, or dine at one of the several great local restaurants.
Constitución, the final destination of the buscarril, is a lovely seaside city where the Maule reaches the Pacific. The city is a great place for seafood, beautiful coastal views, and great local sites such as the impressive Parroquia San Jose which looms over the city’s Plaza de Armas.
Of course the journey is always the best part of a train ride, and the Talca-Constitución buscarril does not disappoint. The trip costs just over US$15, find out more here.