The commune of Salamanca is a diamond in the rough of the IV Region of Chile, one of those unknown destinations and little frequented by travelers, who nevertheless dazzle for what they have to offer. It is a place with incredible landscapes, steeped in the local mystical tradition. The “Land of the Sorcerers” surprises with a spectacular mountain setting and 3 beautiful valleys, starry skies at night and a multitude of petroglyphs scattered throughout the area. The Raja de Manquehua, emblematic place of the area, imposes itself as an icon of the supernatural.
Salamanca is a city and commune surrounded by hills and fertile valleys. The 3 valleys that are next to the city are the Choapa, Chalinga and Camisa. Each one has a particular charm and visiting them is one of the main attractions of the area, visiting all kinds of villas, vineyards and rural restaurants. You can travel by bicycle or private vehicle along gravel roads. Many of the hills that surround the city are usual trekking routes for local people, being an ideal place for lovers of this sport.
This commune of agricultural vocation has its main income at the present time from the copper exploitation of the Los Pelambres mine. For this reason, despite being a little known tourist destination, it has a good offer of hostels, designed mainly for miners. To find the best accommodation alternatives and snacks to eat, you can check our Good, Nice and Cheap Salamanca section. Another consequence of the mining activity in the area, are the multitude of abandoned mining roads in the hills, which transform Salamanca into a paradise for lovers of motorcycling and mountain biking.
Salamanca is, besides an authentic sanctuary of nature, a place marked by legends and stories of witchcraft. The Raja de Manquehua, a wall of rock in a mountain that presents a mysterious crack of great dimensions, stands as an icon of the popular beliefs of the area. This emblematic place is in fact also known as the “Cueva de los Brujos”. The stories tell that there gather every year witches and witches in a cave to celebrate covens in honor of Satan and practiced black magic. In the cave would be the soul of the deceased sorcerers, whose spirit would give powers to the initiates. Since 1915, stories of torchlight processions have been reported around this place, which are said to be sorcerers on their way to their meetings. There have also been numerous reports of sightings of groups of light spheres that seemed to dance around the Raja de Manquehua.
Chilean chicha and chacolo are liqueurs derived from the fermentation of grape juice and are typical products of the region. The chacolo, less known than the chicha, is similar to this one but a little less sweet and, according to salamanquinos, a couple of glasses are enough to fall to the ground.
Located in the Chalinga Valley, in the sector of Cancha Brava and a few kilometers from the city, the two wineries of chicha and chacolo craft work the grape fermentation in earthen jars over 200 years old. This gives rise to a sweet liquor typical of the area and 100% natural. You can visit these vineyards, talk to the people in charge and taste these delicious typical drinks, which are also very cheap. A bottle of a liter of chacolo or chicha does not cost more than CLP 1000.
The Crossing of the Andes Challenge is an activity that takes place every year between the last week of January and the first week of February, where the cordilleran crossing is made between the Argentine town of Barreal and the city of Salamanca. It is a spectacular journey that considers nothing less than the 180 km route in a period of 9 days crossing the mountain range in sections of mountain bike and trekking, reaching heights of up to 4,050 meters above sea level. The municipality of Salamanca has been the organizer of this activity to date, delivering all logistical and security support. During the trip you can enjoy incredible starry skies and majestic mountain landscapes, facing variable weather conditions that often combine sun, snow, rain and thunderstorms.