What’s there to do in Santiago? That seems to be a question I hear often. Everyone talks about traveling to Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, or Arica, and although those are interesting places to visit, Santiago also has great places to explore, especially if you want to get in touch with nature and take a break from city life.
Santiago, Chile’s capital, is found in the center of the country near the Andes and only about a 2-hour drive from the nearest beach. Santiago is full of friendly, welcoming people, and is well known for its mountains which boast excellent trekking opportunities.
If you love nature and are into sports, the trekking here is a “must-do” activity for you! One of the best options near the city is Alto del Naranjo, (“naranjo” meaning “orange” in Spanish), given this name for the vibrant colors of the vegetation during springtime. On this excursion, you’ll be able to admire the amazing “Cordillera de los Andes”, as well as the entire city of Santiago.
If you’re looking for a novel trekking experience, check out this incredible activity here.
The easiest way to get to the trail head is via Puente Ñilhue, where you will start off following the Path to the Pylons, until reaching lookout “Mirador de las Vacas”. At this point, you’ll be able to see most of the ski resorts at La Parva. You can also see Cerro Pochoco, named after a man known as Mr. Pochoco, who used to climb the peak, along with stray dogs, three times a week until his death. People would say that the hiker who crossed paths with Mr. Pochoco three times was supposed to receive a red walking stick or “pochoquero” as a gift for their love of the mountain.
Once you pass “Mirador de las Vacas”, you’ll continue your Alto del Naranjo journey along the path until reaching Vallecito Trail. From there, follow the sign’s indications which will lead you to the end of your journey.
At the top you will find the three famous Quillay, a type of soap bark tree originating in Central Chile and only grown in South America. This is the perfect place to rest and enjoy a picnic in the shade while you appreciate an incredible view of the Andes.
The best time of year to explore these stunning landscapes is in the spring, since there’s not too much sun and no snow on the trail, making it easier for beginner hikers. However, the trail is open year-round, from Tuesday – Sunday, so you can choose the season that suits you best. Be sure to take water with you as it is difficult to get any on the trek. Also, don’t forget to bring some cash (no more than $2.000 Chilean Pesos) for the mountain’s entry fee. Additionally, it is easy to get lost on this trail, so it is recommended that you go with a specialized guide, guaranteeing you’ll get the most out of this adventure.
Finally, don’t forget, if you are traveling in Chile and want to book this and other activities, be sure to download the TheBesty app to book the best tours and activities, discover fun things to do, and find the guaranteed lowest prices on hotel bookings – all in Latin America.