Santiago de Chile
The capital of Chile is one of the most beautifully located capitals in the world with the snow-capped Andes mountains providing the backdrop. They provide plenty of great trekking opportunities and you can even go skiing. The city itself is enormous and by far the biggest on this route so it’s the best place to buy anything you might need for your trip South. It’s also developing into a thriving cultural centre and there is plenty to see and do without leaving the confines of the city.
Just 120km or so west of Santiago you reach the Pacific Ocean and Valparaiso, a really colourful harbour city and one of the most popular backpacking destinations in Chile. It has a big bohemian feel to it and as you roam around the hilly streets you’ll never be far from something quirky. Lovers of the arts will enjoy Valpo. It’s also surrounded by excellent vineyards that you can visit and the locally produced but world famous Chilean wine is well worth a taste.
Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar is literally only 10 minutes down the coast from Valparaiso but is another essential stop on any backpacking route in Chile. It’s home to one of the most popular beaches in the country but it can be a bit chilly unless you visit in the summer (December to February). It also plays host to one of South America’s biggest music festivals each February.
Journey from Santiago to the world-renowned Maipo Valley, where winemakers have been growing red grapes like cabernet sauvignon and carménère as well as white grapes like sauvignon blanc and chardonnay for more than 150 years. As you ride through the picturesque region and rolling vineyards, listen as your guide shares insight into the region’s soil, climate, history, and unique characteristics, all of which contribute to the elevated quality of the wine produced here.
Valle Nevado resort is part of the Tres Valles (Three Valleys) along with neighboring ski resorts La Parva and El Colorado. Combined, the Tres Valles boasts the largest terrain in all of South America, with nearly 7,000 acres of skiable domain. In order to take advantage of the 7,000 acres, you do need to purchase a joint ticket to combine the three ski centers. For weather, it claims up to 80 percent sunny days, but due to Valle Nevado’s altitude and orientation, it generally keeps its snow in good condition for skiers and riders exploring the groomed slopes, bowls, and backcountry.
You can snowboard and ski as high as 3,670 meters (12,040 feet) above sea level, surrounded by 6,000 meter peaks and way above the smog of the Santiago basin. It is one of the few places in the world you may see the rare Andean Condor soaring above the pistes.
El Yeso (Maipo Valley)
Connect with nature in an environment of peace and fresh mountain air with the best views of the Andes. Discover the Embalse El Yeso and let yourself be surprised by the landscape. Cajon del Maipo is a canyon located is the Andes mountain, 83 kilometers from Santiago. The scenery here is wild, just the blue sky above and rivers, lagoons, amazing forms caused by erosion and time on the hills. First go to your destination, continuing along the banks of the Maipo River rapids, stopping at different landscapes like waterfall, view point of the most amazing scene of the Andes Mountains until you get to the Embalse el Yeso. Walk and explore this area where is possible observe wildlife like, condors, eagles, foxes and flora. Enjoys silence and make a cheers for your loved ones with the best Chilean wine and your picnic in front of the lagoon.
El Yeso reservoir, along with the nearby Laguna Negra, is a major source of drinking water for Santiago. Its water has a turquoise hue and is suitable for fishing and windsurfing.