The city has a population of approximately 200,000 and is located at the side of Cachapoal River. For most of the 20th century the principal economic activities of the region were (and in large part still are) the extraction and manufacturing of copper (El Teniente mine), and agriculture.
The Metrotren from Estación Central in Santiago costs CLP$1500-2200 one-way. Trains from the capital depart every 30 minutes. Departures from Rancagua can take you back north towards Santiago or south towards San Fernando. Prices vary according to destination.
Rancagua is 90 km from Santiago by Panamericana (Ruta 5). Two road tolls are found between the cities but only the major one, Angostura, is needed (CLP$2400). Keep the ticket to get a free pass in the first six hours on any minor toll booth, including the ones to access Rancagua.
From Santiago, the main bus terminal is located at Metro Station Universidad de Santiago. Competition among the private bus companies makes for very frequent departures to Rancagua. Cost is CLP$1500-2500.
- Several urban bus lines ("Micros") with stops all over the city, about CLP$400.
- Several set-route shared-taxi lines ("Colectivos") that span the whole city, about CLP$600.
- Sparse but growing Uber community.
For inter-regional transportation, the same model of "Micros" and "Colectivos" applies, but most of them depart form the "Rodoviario" inter-urban terminal and differ in rates.
- Paseo Independencia - The city's commercial backbone is also a nice pedestrian avenue to eat, shop, and stroll. Beware however during the Christmas holidays, when the atmosphere gets dense and pickpockets become ambitious.
- Plaza de los Héroes - Located at the east terminus of the Paseo Independencia, this central plaza renovated in 2003 is a nice place to relax anytime. Avoid gypsies who will literally tease the cash out of your pockets.
- Teatro Regional Rancagua - The Regional Theater of Rancagua has established itself as the space of culture and arts in the O'Higgins Region, with more than 356 shows, 210 thousand spectators, 96 free shows and 8 opera shows, to mention a few milestones.
- Casa de la Cultura - Cultural centre and mini-museum, offers open to the public cultural activities all year long.
- Casa del Arte - Professional national theatre company, hosts the Open Air Theatre Festival every January.
- Enjoy Rancagua's nightlife in a variety of nightclubs, restaurants and pubs located all around the city, and primarily at Diego de Almagro street (side road to Panamericana). Notable places:
- Playa del Carmen, four room multi-stile dance-club.
- Moka Club, nightclub with regularly 1980s and 90s themed nights.
- Punta del Este, urban and international music scene.
- Golden Rockbar, rock-themed pub/bar with local (and national) bands live shows every weekend.
- Acqua Diva, LGBT disco.
- Cabala and Pasion, bar-restaurants with karaoke nights.
- Visit Sun Monticello Grand Casino, 20 minutes north from Rancagua at Panamericana Km. 57. An integral fun project for the whole family, which includes the largest game room in Chile and the most complete entertainment offer, with 10 gourmet restaurants, a 5-star hotel, SPA, electronic games and mechanics, Suka Club and a Conference Center capable of receiving up to 1,800 people.
- Visit Las Termas de Cauquenes and enjoy a nice thermal bath from naturally hot springwaters. Located 31 km east of Rancagua, the surrounding area also offers pretty trails for easy hiking .
- Visit Anakena Wines vineyard, part of the world famous Chilean Wine Route, 20 minutes south from Rancagua at Requínoa.
- Reserva Nacional Río Los Cipreses is a national park east of the city, towards the Andes. Great for overnight camping. Be sure to arrive early however, as you won't be able to get in after the 18:00 closing time.
- Take a tour of the now defunct mining town of Sewell (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), situated right on top of El Teniente, the largest underground copper mine in the world. Private tour agencies can take you to the town, the mine, and back. If going there by car, keep in mind they only let vehicles manufactured after 2001 through.
- Visit Parque Safari Chile and observe free roaming lions up-close, besides their herbivore-only safari and pettiny zoo.
- Go to a division 1 football match as the O'Higgins Football Club calls Rancagua its home.
- Pasteleria Tokio near the intersection of Independencia and Rubio (it's on Rubio) offers exquisite pastries at a great price.
- Club Social at Cáceres 486 provides decent, full, seemingly home-cooked meals with soft drink and dessert for CLP$2,000.
- Mini Restaurant in Olivar, across Cachapoal bridge, is a family restaurant best known for their big and tasty servings (usually one serving feeds two people).
- Reina Victoria on Paseo Independencia is a pricey but fine bakery, ice cream and coffee shop.
- 'El Gordo Sabe at Diego de Almagro street (side road to Panamericana) is a reasonably priced all-you-can-eat buffet.
- Emporio de la Rosa inside Plaza América at Einstein Av. is an ice cream parlour worth the price.
- Delicia China at Miguel Ramirez Av. is an oriental themed, high class restaurant with top service.
- Torino Ristorante at Panamericana service road is a high class restaurant best known for their Italian cuisine and homegrown fresh oysters.
As mentioned above, beware of pickpockets in the city center.
The city is surrounded by quaint and peaceful pueblitos. Doñihue, about 35 km south of Rancagua is well known for its arts and crafts, especially the dying art of handmade silk-based chamantos. Pokey mountain and the "Punta Alta" offer formidable hikes and breathtaking views of the region. Ask around town to find the trail base.