December 8th is a public holiday in Chile celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate conception, la Inmaculada Concepción.
This is a very popular religious holiday in Chile and many people take part in a pilgrimage from Santiago to Lo Vásquez Sanctuary, on Route 68.
Please note that starting about 5 pm on December 7th the highway is closed as hundreds of thousands of people bike or walk along the approximately 80 kilometer (50 mile) route to the Sanctuary. There are multiple masses earlier in the week and a mass is held every hour from Midnight on December 7th until 7pm.
You may see smaller groups walking to the church as you pass during other times of the year, as I noticed on a Saturday in November.
If you are planning on being in Chile during this time, you may have difficulty traveling from Santiago to Valparaiso, or other beach towns due to the highway closures, so check out the secondary routes, allow for extra time, and plan your travels accordingly.
Note: This article was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question before planning your trip.
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