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A few kilometers from Santiago: What to do in the Cajón del Maipo

Update date: 31 July 2023

Cajón del Maipo, Cascada de las Ánimas, Termas Valle de Colina, Parque Pailalén, Embalse El Yeso and Termas del Plomo.

2 days - 294 KM
Recommended months for the visit: January - December
Difficulty level Low

Day 1: Waterfall, hot springs and stargazing

Day 1: Waterfall, hot springs and stargazing

With Santiago as a starting point, you must cross the district of Puente Alto towards Camino al Volcán street, which goes directly to Cajón del Maipo. We recommend that your first stop is the center of the district of San José de Maipo where you can have breakfast and visit its beautiful Plaza de Armas.

Now head to the Cascada de las Ánimas, a tourist complex full of nature where you must walk between 20 and 25 minutes before you reach the waterfall, perfect for refreshing and for taking amazing photographs. You can also do bird watching and you will even have the opportunity to see pumas. If you are looking for adrenaline, you can go rafting on the waters of the Maípo river.

After having a traditional empanada for lunch, you can travel for about an hour towards the mountains to reach the Termas Valle de Colina. Here you will enjoy natural hot springs, which stay warm thanks to the San José volcano. These are nine mineral-laden pools, where you can relax, relieve rheumatic pains and eliminate toxins.

Back to the El Manzano sector to taste some delicious craft beers that are produced in the same area, and there is no better way to end this first day with an astronomical tour in the Pailalén park, where hiking and stargazing go hand in hand.

Cascada de las Ánimas. Photo: @cascadadelasnaimas

If you plan to go rafting, remember to wear appropriate clothing and contact a tour operator in advance to consider the necessary precautions.

Day 2: Dazzle yourself at the El Yeso reservoir

We will start our second day with a climb to the El Yeso reservoir, located an hour and a half away if we consider El Manzano as a starting point. This artificial reserve is located in the middle of an amazing landscape, full of rocky mountains which most of the year are surrounded by snow. In its turquoise lagoons you can do different activities including seasonal fishing.

With a 10-km trip to the mountain range you can visit the Termas del Plomo, where you will find heated water pools, and if you walk for an hour you can get to know the Laguna de Los Patos, a beautiful emerald water postcard located in the middle of a wetland full of vegetation. Moreover, you can find services that offer horseback riding to the border.

Its time to go back to Santiago, but first, put the finishing touch on your journey with dinner in the San Alfoso sector, where you will find a varied gastronomic offer that includes smoked wild boar, stuffed chicken, rabbit, ceviche, cazuela, and other delicious meals.

Embalse del Yeso in the Cajón del Maipo. Photo: @proandestour

Wear sunscreen and wears clothing prepared to face the strong winds that are registered in the El Yeso reservoir.

Plan your perfect trip
  • Always carry snacks and water on you when you go hiking
  • Keep in mind that for most destinations you will need a vehicle
  • Take a bag to keep any garbage you may accumulate on your journey
Transportation options
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