When you’re in Santiago, Chile, it’s easy to forget that the Andes Mountains literally surround you, and that in those mountains, there are secret beauties and astounding landscapes. A mere one-hour drive away, Cajón del Maipo makes you remember.
The central Chilean mountain town of Cajón del Maipo is filled with beautiful high-altitude lakes, hot springs, soaring peaks and even a volcano. The further into this series of mountain canyons you go, the higher the odds are of seeing condors gracing the sky. It is even possible for you to stumble upon a Puma at night, especially in the higher elevations. You will certainly see vivid, prismatic sunsets.
Indigenous groups have inhabited this area for thousands of years, and some minor events took place here during the wars with Spain. There was even an assassination attempt against General Augusto Pinochet here, during his time as president of Chile. But Cajón del Maipo is more famous for its tremendous variety of outdoor activities than for its historical associations.
Cajón del Maipo is a wonderful place for trekking, camping, rock climbing and other outdoor activities. People have been coming here for ages to enjoy the crisp mountain air.
Food options are also abundant, ranging from cheap and tasty empanadas in small, local stores, to delicious French (Le Petite France) or Italian (Calipso) cuisine that will certainly satisfy even the pickiest eater. Hearty meals in the Refugio Alemán (German Shelter) will refresh even the most active outdoors person after a long day of hiking and climbing.
A classic day trip in Cajón del Maipo is to visit the Embalse del Yeso (a high mountain reservoir with beautiful waters) and then go beyond, to the Termas del Yeso (Yeso Hot Springs). A good soak, while breathing in the fresh Andean air, will clear the mental cobwebs away and relax you, while charging your soul with the invigorating minerals of the mountains.
If the outdoors call you, and you need to escape the hustle and bustle of Santiago, then this is the place for you. Let the peaks fill your eyes with wonder and your breath with revitalizing energy – let yourself be elevated by the Andes mountains.