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$1300 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 the Ruta 5. Two road tolls are found between the cities (CLP$2000 total).
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 about CLP$800.
- 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 Heroés - 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.
- 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 .
- 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.
- Go to a division 1 football match as the O'Higgins football club calls Rancagua it's home.
- The Pasteleria Tokio near the intersection of Independencia and Rubio (it's on Rubio) offers exquisite pastries at a great price.
- The Club Social at Cáceres 486 provides decent, full, seemingly home-cooked meals with soft drink and dessert for CLP$2,000.
- Reina Victoria on Paseo Independencia is a pricey but fine bakery, ice cream and coffee shop.
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.