Where is Las Trancas?

Valle Las Trancas is located in the BioBio Region of Chile near Pinto, 71km southeast of Chillan and 476km south of Santiago.

The town of Las Trancas is spread out for about 5km, mostly along Ruta 55.

Las Trancas is about 7km down the road from the Nevados de Chillan Ski Resort.

Travel to Las Trancas

Bus from Santiago to Las Trancas
Buses Nilahue have buses from Santiago Terminal Sur to Valle Las Trancas. The trip takes about 7 hours.

Flying to Concepcion
From Santiago, you can take a Lan domestic flight to Concepcion Airport (CCP) with a 1 hour flight time. You can search for flights here. From there Andes Transfer can organise a transfer to Las Trancas.

Or you can rent a car at Concepcion Airport and drive to the resort. This is a particularly good option so that you can get to and from the ski resort.

Train or Bus to Chillan
Terra Sur provides very economical and comfortable train services from Santiago to Chillan with three schedules per day. The train takes about 5.5 hours.  

Tur Bus (in Spanish) has daily buses from Santiago to the city of Chillan.

Andes Transfer can organise a shuttle transfer to Las Trancas, or of course you can try your luck with a taxi.

Or from Chillan there are public buses from the Terminal de Buses Rurales to Las Trancas, although you’ll probably need good Spanish language skills to negotiate this.

Driving to Las Trancas
Car rental can be organized from Santiago Airport, Santiago City or Concepcion Airport. You’ll get away with a 2WD vehicle, although a 4WD can be advantageous.

The 476km drive from Santiago Airport to Las Trancas takes just under 6 hours. The drive from Concepcion takes about 2:15 hours.

From Santiago get onto Ruta 5 (Autopista Central) going south (sur). This is the main highway south and the trip is reasonably fast with a speed limit of 120km/hour. Travel past the towns of Rancagua, Curico, Talca and finally San Carlos. There are various toll ways on the highway that cost about $2,500 a pop per car. Have cash with you and try not to run over the hordes of people trying to sell their wares at the toll booths!

Take the turn-off to Chillan. On the outskirts of town turn left into Av Ecquador and then right into Av Argentina. Go straight (with a veer to the left) at Av Collin which will get you onto Ruta 55 to Pinto. All these turns are signposted with small greens signs indicating the way to Termas de Chillan/Nevados de Chillan. The road that travels from Chillan to Valle Las Trancas is wide and nicely paved, and there are various petrol stations on the way.

Getting Around Las Trancas

The whole town is quite spread out so it’s difficult to get around to the various restaurants and shops without a car. Or if you’re staying at Los Hualles, you’re in the hub of town with direct walking access to the pub, restaurants and a few shops.

Getting Between Las Trancas and Nevados de Chillan

You really need to have your own wheels if you’re not on a tour. It is possible to get a taxi or private transfer to and from the resort, but this can be pretty expensive. Hitchhiking also seems to be a common mode of transport.

The drive from the town of Las Trancas up to the Nevados de Chillan Ski Resort is only 7 km. It's a very easy drive although sometimes on cross-over day on Sundays the traffic may be heavy. The road is paved nearly all the way, it's wide, not steep, it has some safety rails, and the road is fringed by trees on either side which gives you a sense of security (unlike some of the roads at resorts at Tres Valles).

The last couple of kilometres from the bottom of the ski resort (and the Gran Hotel) to the mid-base and the Hotel Alto Nevados is a bit steeper and unpaved. Rather stupidly the resort has put a checkpoint on the steepest part of the road, so you have to stop and then you may not regain traction when the road is snowy or icy.

You’re supposed to carry chains (cadenas) but it’s not heavily policed, although the chain rental guys might potentially be in cahoots with the police at times (and themselves – allegedly they sometimes pour water on the road just to make it slippery so that you rent chains!!!). The dodgy looking chain rental guys tend to hang out at the end of Las Trancas town or up the hill a little. The cost of the chain rental may depend somewhat upon how good you are at negotiating in Spanish. The price generally includes the fitting and removal of chains, and they may ask for your driver's license as a deposit.
150