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Cajón Del Maipo

One of the most beautiful things to do when staying in Santiago is to visit Cajón Del Maipo, which is roughly 2 hours by car from Fini Chico. Here the scenery is wild and incredibly beautiful. To get there by car, drive from Fini Chico down to the first main road, crossing straight over into Avenida Florida. A left turn here and you are on the route to Cajón Del Maipo, passing through the lovely village of San José where you can buy everything you need for the journey, including a day's picnic.

View in El Morado national park, Cajon Del Maipo
Fini family with friends at Yeso Lake

After approximately 40 kms you reach a police kiosk marked by a Chilean flag. This is a mini border control. . All cars must stop at the police check-point and declare their destination. Turn left by the kiosk and you will reach Laguna Negro (Black Lake) where you can fish.

Continue on the asphalt road and where it eventually finishes cross the bridge. After 5 kms or so there are two options: either to turn left in the middle of the small village and drive for thirty minutes or so which will take you to Embalse del Yeso. Here you can not only fish but also camp on the far side of the lake at an altitude of 2,500 metres. For more detailed information please see our links page.

Hot Springs

Termas del Plomo hot springs near Argentinian and Chilean border, Cajon del Maipo
Embalse Yeso

Continue on the side of Yeso lake for a further hour or so you reach the hot spring at the Termas del Plomo. This is a small shallow hot water springs with spectacular views of the Andes. There are no facilities here and normally nobody else there. If you climb this mountain, the other side is Argentinian territory.We strongly advise you to have 4x4 if you want to continue to this hot water after Embalse Yeso ,otherwise you can use an ordinary car to the Yeso.

Bathing in the warm water in Banos Morales
Dinosaur

Alternatively if you were to go straight on from the turn off to Embalse del Yeso, (by the cross road) you will have 2 options. The first village which will be signposted from this road will take you to Termas Morales This is a village which rents out cabanas and has beautiful walks. Also within walking distance are the legendary dinosaur footprints which are well worth a look. You can hire Cabañs and stay the night here if you wish.

Colina hot baths at 3500m, Cajon Del Maipo

Alternatively from the original road if you continue straight and after an hour or more you will eventually get to the Termas Colina. This is the best of the hot springs and more accessible than the Termas del Plomo. At both hot springs there are basic facilities for bathing and both are built very beautifully, especially the source of the Termas Colinas which in the later part of the year becomes the base of the dry river and acts as a road. To take a bath in the hot springs you need to pay a small fee.

Pomaire

Pottery for sale in Pomaire

Anyone interested in handicrafts will enjoy visiting the village of Pomaire famous for its clay pottery. Pomaire lies approximately forty-five minutes from Santiago on the road to Isla Negra, where you can visit the main home of Chile's Nobel prize winning poet Pablo Neruda.

Resident potter of Pomaire with some of her wares

Chilean Coast

The dramatic Chilean coast with its many beaches, though very beautiful, is not safe in many places to swim and can be very cold! Particularly challenging to those who, like me, prefer the warmer waters of the Caribbean and Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America.

The best way to see some of the coast from Santiago is to drive to Isla Negra or Valparaiso.The old port is busy and big but well-worth a visit with wonderful museums and lots of hills to go up and down on the old funiculurs Some may like to drive along the coast to Viña Del Mar, Chile's number one coastal tourist resort adored by Argentinians, and then continue their way north.

Basically our advice is this if you are a person looking for beach holiday then Chile is not the country to go to. Chile is about desert, mountains and lakes and even though it has a very long coastal border the water is cold.

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