Santiago in Winter

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August 8th 2016
Published: August 12th 2016
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Pros of Santiago: surprisingly clean, very good metro system, impressive parks, mountain views

Cons of Santiago: smog (can't escape because of mountains), lack of cultural flavor

Day Trip to Aguas de Ramon

The longest hike here is a 16 km loop, but you have to start early or the park rangers will turn you back after the water crossing about 4 km in. It was only a 15 minute Uber ride from the city center to the entry point, making it very accessible, but as such it was horribly crowded on a Saturday, so it wasn't really worth going then unless you like hiking like mules roped together.

Day Trip to Cajon del Maipo (see photo at bottom for map of area)

We took the metro to Plaza de Puente Alto, the last stop on line 4 (purple line, 40 minutes or so), and then asked around for a bus to San Jose del Maipo, which is as far as some buses go during the winter. It was hard to get very good information beyond that, especially since it was Sunday and the tourist office was closed. The town of San Jose was nice enough and has some nice mountain views. There were also artisan stalls in the main plaza / park.

After walking around town for an hour or so and not finding any trailheads, we saw another bus from San Jose toward San Alfonzo, deeper into the valley. Somoene recommended getting off the bus at the small bridge in El Melocton, a small town before San Alfonzo. From there, we were told to walk under the bridge and northeast, along the Stream Las Cucas (see map at bottom). There were a few nice waterfalls along the stream, but the trail is unmarked and at times separates from the stream to avoid deep canyons and to climb over some pretty steep and slippery hills. This was good for a three-hour hike with pretty good scenery.

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