One of Chile’s characteristics before the eyes of the world is its long and narrow “figure”, which allows us to have access to the Pacific Ocean and The Andes mountains within one hour from the capital city. During winter season, Chile becomes the perfect destination to offer a great variety of activities and tourist offer in general, from ski resorts, different kinds of accommodations, adventure tourism and cultural tourism activities, as well as different trekking routes through amazing places. However, one area that has a lot to offer due to its closeness to the city of Santiago and because of its diverse and impressive scenery and mountains is undoubtedly, the Cajón del Maipo.
Declared as Chile’s Mountaineering Capital, it attracts adventurers from all over the world to get to know its mountains, with a great variety of different difficulty routes to practice different adventure tourism disciplines. Located southeast from the capital city (approximately 1 hour away), it is a destination that offers multiple attractions. There, visitors can learn about its history, its architecture, flora, fauna and impressive landscape which can be seen along the road, such as the Maipo River in all its extension, the San José Volcano, El Morado Glacier, hidden lakes and mountain rivers, native forests, the El Yeso reservoir (main drinking water source for the city of Santiago), hot springs (Baños Morales, Baños de Colina, Termas del Plomo), among other attractions which have still not been opened to tourism. We offer you tourism in The Andes, all year round. Snowshoeing history dates back to more than 10,000 years in Central Asia. Let’s not let rain, wind, snow or cold stop us!
Snowshoe hiking is one of the winter activities that we can offer you. It is believed that Central Asia’s prehistoric peoples invented some rudimentary snowshoes incorporating flat leather surfaces under their feet, or round wooden surfaces to prevent them from dipping into the snow. With these, nowadays, modern equipment we go for a 6-kilometer trekking, in the La Engorda Valley, always facing the 5,860-meter-high San Jose Volcano, an area of glaciers, snow, high hills and mountain cold. The hike is always bordering the Maipo River, Santiago’s basin most important river, until reaching its source.
This snowshoeing adventure is the perfect opportunity to enjoy impressive snow-covered landscapes and refresh our bodies with pure air.
Another winter must-see of the Cajón del Maipo is to visit the El Yeso reservoir, and on the way to it, to visit the town of San José, and learn about its history and culture. From there, we continue the trip upstream the Maipo River and among the mountains, to cross the Tinoco tunnel, National Historic Monument, which has also become a point of interest because of local supernatural stories. On the way to the Reservoir, we can also visit the Refugio Las Cáscaras, old 60’s settlement, originally used as a camp for men who built the dam, as well as the amazing Yeso River Waterfall. From there, you can see one of the area’s most emblematic glaciers between the high tops, to finally go to the Reservoir and enjoy the astonishing scenery and peace of The Andes.
Another winter must-see is horseback riding tours around Santiago. In Lo Barnechea, 40 minutes away from downtown Santiago, it is possible to get to see a part of the mountainside with the area’s classic arrieros (mule drivers), connecting with nature just as our ancestors did. During the ride you can enjoy seeing the flora, where most species are endemic and with sclerophyllous forest characteristics. The omnipresent silence allows us to capture and enjoy the peace transmitted by nature’s sounds. After a one hour and a half ride, you can enjoy a privileged view of the city, and a majestic view of the mountains together with arrieros and their horses. The combination of these beauties offered by Santiago’s nature together with the connection with the horse is ideal for those travelers who love animals and outdoors experiences, in an excellent way to connect man, animal’s magic and their environment.
An alternative experience to The Andes is to visit the Coastal Range through a trekking to the La Campana National Park and Biosphere Reserve, 160 kilometers away from Santiago. This adventure is especially attractive for travelers who enjoy nature and new interesting locations. Following Charles Darwin steps, who visited the La Campana National Park in August 1834, you will discover this marvelous place designated by UNESCO as Biosphere Reserve, to protect a unique ecosystem that includes abundant and diverse native flora and fauna. It main focus is the conservation of the Chilean; Palm, the world’s most southern palm tree, currently endangered due to its indiscriminate exploitation to produce palm syrup since colonial times, to replace the sugar cane used in Central America and the Caribbean.
Get in touch to find out more about our Andoandes experiences, and spend a day of outdoor activities with us!