Torres del Paine National Park

Cajon del Maipo, Adventure in the Andean foothills

Cajon del Maipo landscape, near Santiago de Chile.
Image: Fundo San Lorenzo, Cajon del Maipo

Cajon del Maipo is a canyon formed by the upper basin of the Rio Maipo in the Metropolitan Region of Chile, in the foothills of the Andes, one hour (just over 50 km.) southeast of Santiago. 

If adventure tourism is what you are looking for, this is the place to be, in an environment where you can do a variety of activities related to snow in winter and rafting the rest of the year, visit hot springs and pools, bungee jumping, canyoning, horseback riding and enjoy countless tourist attractions in a unique natural setting, just a short distance from the Chilean capital. The main urban center of the area is San José de Maipo, with 14,000 inhabitants.

Main attractions in Cajon del Maipo:

Rafting along Rio Maipo

Rafting along Rio Maipo, Santiago de Chile.
Image:  - Tours in Cajon del Maipo  
It is well known that the rivers of southern Chile are the most famous for kayaking and rafting, but in central Chile, a few kilometers from the capital, in the foothills of the Andes, you can feel the same adrenaline as on the rivers further south.

The descent of the Maipo River is about 15 kilometers long, between beautiful views of canyons and green valleys, and although rafting is considered a risky sport, the Rio Maipo does not represent a particular danger and no previous experience is required to navigate it. Rafting on the Rio Maipo is of medium difficulty (class II and III rapids), making it ideal for both beginners and experienced rafters. In Santiago and the city of San Jose de Maipo you will find many tours available, prices generally hover around US$60 per person.

Tour to Concha y Toro Vineyard 

Concha y Toro vineyard, commune of Pirque, Chile
Tour to Concha y Toro Winery
 The quality of Chilean wines is recognized worldwide, this is a guided tour of the facilities of the largest wine company in the country, located in the area of Pirque, Valle del Maipo (Maipo Valley), 45 minutes from Santiago. It was founded in 1883 when the first vines were brought from Bordeaux, France. These vines thrived in the fertile lands of the Maipo Valley, where the conquistadors had already planted the first vineyards during the colonial period. Today, this is a wine region par excellence, where other prestigious wine brands are also produced. At the end of the tour of the Centennial facilities, you will be able to visit the Wine Shop, where you will be able to purchase a wide range of wines and souvenirs to remember your visit to this place.

Camino al Volcan (Road to the Volcano)

Camino al Volcán is a scenic route that leads to the base of San José Volcano in Cajón del Maipo. The road is a remnant of the region's railroad days and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and nature. It is an ideal place for hiking and enjoying panoramic views of the landscape. Visitors can take a public bus in Intermodal Bellavista La Florida to get to this amazing place. Camino al Volcán is one of the many attractions in Cajón del Maipo, a popular destination for nature and adventure lovers.

The road offers spectacular views of the Andes, mountain rivers and forests, making it an ideal place to enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

Visitors can find a variety of services and activities in the area, such as guided excursions, camping, rafting, and natural hot springs, making it an attractive experience for those who want to explore nature in Chile's Metropolitan Region. Keep in mind, however, that it is important to be prepared for changing weather conditions and to have the proper equipment if you plan to engage in outdoor activities in the area.

Volcán San José

San Jose Volcano, with its 5,856 meters above sea level, is a captivating destination for tourism. Of majestic presence and stunning natural beauty, it offers a unique experience for nature enthusiasts and mountain lovers looking for challenges at high altitudes. The dormant volcano provides opportunities for hiking and mountaineering, allowing visitors to witness breathtaking panoramic views from its summit. Surrounding the volcano, the Cajón del Maipo region offers picturesque landscapes, including rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs, providing a perfect setting for relaxation and outdoor activities. Volcán San José is a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable adventure just a few kilometers from the Chilean capital.

Santuario de la Naturaleza Cascada de las Ánimas

This nature sanctuary is a tourist complex in the midst of dense vegetation, providing adventure sports, lodging, and gastronomic services, where the main activity is the hike to the waterfall that gives the sanctuary its name. This natural sanctuary offers a captivating blend of stunning landscapes and outdoor activities that make it a must-visit destination for your travel itinerary.

Cascada de las Ánimas, which translates to "Waterfall of the Souls", is a mesmerizing cascade surrounded by lush forests, towering mountains, and the Maipo River's pristine waters. The sanctuary is dedicated to preserving this unique natural environment and allowing visitors to connect with its beauty while respecting its delicate ecosystem.

Visitors can explore the area through various activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, or taking a guided tour. The trails wind through the enchanting forest, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching and taking in breathtaking vistas. For the more adventurous, white-water rafting in the Maipo River is a thrilling option.

The sanctuary also offers a range of accommodation options, including cabins and camping facilities, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature. It's an ideal escape from the bustling city life of Santiago, offering a chance to relax, unwind, and reenergize in a serene natural setting.
Phone: 56 228611303
Cell phone: 56 998703912

Parque Nacional Rio Clarillo

Image: Javiera Ferreyra - MMA Chile
 This 13,085 hectare National Park is located 45 km. from Santiago, in the community of Pirque, being the closest to the Chilean capital. It is managed by CONAF, the National Forest Corporation. The core of this ecosystem is the hydrographic basin of the Rio Clarillo, which supplies water to the metropolitan municipalities of Pirque and Puente Alto. The park has an environmental information center, hiking trails, (from trails for people with motor disabilities and seniors to others more demanding and of long extension), 7 picnic areas, native flora and fauna to photograph. Rio Clarillo stands out as the only refuge of many animals and birds, some of them in danger of extinction in this area as the Torcaza. More information on
Parque Nacional Rio Clarillo here.

Centro de Ski Lagunillas 

An alternative to the major Winter sports resorts near Santiago, this small ski center run by the Club Andino, at 2200 mts. altitude, has the characteristic of being the only Chilean club of its kind of non-commercial character. There are in total 17 kilometers from San Jose de Maipo to the ski center, which has 200 hectares of skiable terrain and 13 tracks whose difficulty degrees range from easy, medium, difficult and only for experts. In a normal winter, the season should go from mid-June to mid-September. Off the ski season, there are no facilities available nor where to buy. Besides the traditional winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, in summer the surrounding nature invites to activities like trekking, mountain biking and camping.

Embalse El Yeso    

Image: Santiago Tours - Tours in Santiago & Chile 
El Yeso Dam, this reservoir has a capacity of 253 million cubic meters, being the main source of drinking water for the seven million inhabitants of the Metropolitan Region, its waters are characteristic for having an intense turquoise colour, surrounded by glaciers and snowy peaks, it is a tourist attraction on any season of the year. It is formed by the damming of Rio Yeso, one of the most important tributaries of the Maipo River. 

Termas del Plomo  

Thermal waters from the San Jose Volcano, consisting of 3 rustic small pools, there are no facilities, however a dip in these waters is great, in an unspoilt, isolated environment, at the Cordillera de Los Andes, 115 km. East of Santiago and 68 km. of San Jose de Maipo. Although it is not a long road, but being a place of high mountains (almost 3000 meters a.s.l.) you must go prepared to face low temperatures and stocked with provisions. You can also go trekking, or simply take beautiful pictures of the Andean landscape.

Baños Morales

Baños Morales is a small village and thermal bath center located to the southeast of San Jose de Maipo and 92 Km. From Santiago, at the confluence of rivers Morales and Volcan. It is also gateway to Monumento Nacional El Morado, one of the most visited protected areas in Chile. This thermal center is made up of three light brown color pools, rich in potassium, iodine, sodium and chlorine. The average water temperature is always above 25 ° C., very suitable for people with rheumatic and skin problems, and to escape from the stress of the city.

Termas Valle de Colina

Baños Colina is the third of a trilogy of Thermal Baths that you can visit in the area of Cajon del Maipo. This thermal center is made up of nine natural pools arranged in staggered terraces, situated 104 km. from the capital of Chile and at 3500 mts. a.s.l. The waters can reach a temperature of up to 55° C. (131° F.), highly mineralized and from the bowels of the San Jose Volcano. Although it is open to the public most of the year, from October to April are the recommended months to visit the Baths. The infrastructure is very basic but there is a place where to camp and a restaurant. In this unique environment of the Central Andes you can combine relaxation and adventure by hiking, horseback riding or climbing the imposing surrounding hills.

Monumento Natural El Morado

Glaciar San Francisco (San Francisco Glacier, Chile)
El Morado Natural Monument is a Protected Area managed by the Corporacion Nacional Forestal, situated 93 km. of Santiago, in the town of Baños Morales, close to the border with Argentina. The main access road is Ruta G-25, which connects Puente Alto to San Jose de Maipo- El Volcan. The whole area is dominated by the Cerro El Morado of 4,674 meters a.s.l. and which owes its name precisely to the amazing purple color that projects the rock of the south wall. There is only one hiking trail, from the administration to San Francisco Glacier (8 km), approximately 3 hours of climbing, on winter open only its first 3 kilometers to the Aguas Panimavida area, since the accumulation of snow can reach 1 meter high. This tour offered by local agencies allows to know the existence of millenary glaciers just few kilometers from the capital of Chile.