Nature reserve in Santiago

Cajón del Maipo

Discover Cajón del Maipo: a Chilean outdoor haven for hiking, rafting, and thermal baths near Santiago, set against the Andes' dramatic backdrop.

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Cajón del Maipo is an escape into the wilderness just outside Santiago, Chile, offering a rugged landscape shaped by the Maipo River and the Andes Mountains. Visitors come here to engage with nature by hiking, rafting, and exploring thermal baths like Baños Colina. In this natural reserve, the El Yeso Reservoir provides a stunning backdrop with its turquoise waters, while the San José Volcano stands tall, adding to the area's dramatic scenery.

Outdoor Activities in Cajón del Maipo

Cajón del Maipo is renowned for being a haven for adventurers and nature enthusiasts. Hiking trails abound, ranging from accessible walks to challenging treks. One of the must-visit trails leads to the El Morado Natural Monument, an ecological reserve featuring a stunning glacier and lagoon. Here, hikers can enjoy a full day's journey immersed in breathtaking views of the Andean landscape.

For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the thermal baths of Baños Colina offer a chance to soak in healing waters amidst the mountains. Another popular site is Baños Morales, which similarly provides soothing thermal pools, and also serves as the starting point for various hikes.

Rafting on the Maipo River is a thrilling option for visitors to experience the region's wild side. The river's rapids range in difficulty, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters.

El Yeso Reservoir

The Embalse el Yeso is a key water reserve featuring strikingly blue waters contrasted against the Andes' arid peaks. Its accessibility makes it a favored spot for both picnics and photography. Visitors can walk along the reservoir's shores or arrange guided tours to learn about its importance to Santiago's water supply and experience its tranquil atmosphere.

Local Flavors and Culture

Local gastronomy in Cajón del Maipo is a reflection of the region’s history and geography. Restaurants and small eateries offer hearty dishes that are perfect for refueling after a day of exploration. Notably, empanadas filled with a variety of ingredients are a local staple and should not be missed.

Visiting the small town of San José de Maipo can acquaint visitors with the area's mining past and present-day community life. The town also provides essential services, shops, and accommodations for travelers.


The clear skies of the Andes provide an excellent opportunity for stargazing. Visitors can either spend nights out under the stars or arrange for guided astronomical tours, which often include the use of powerful telescopes and insights into Southern Hemisphere constellations.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

While Cajón del Maipo is largely safe, visitors should always take precautions when engaging in outdoor activities by staying informed about weather conditions and seeking guidance from local experts when necessary. It's also vital that visitors respect the natural environment by following established trails, disposing of waste properly, and being mindful of wildlife habitats.

Travel to Cajón del Maipo

Reaching Cajón del Maipo from Santiago requires some planning. The most convenient way to get there is by car, which allows flexibility to explore at your own pace. Public transportation options are available but limited; taking a bus from Metro Bellavista de La Florida station to San José de Maipo is an alternative for those without a vehicle. From there, additional transport arrangements can be made to reach specific attractions within the reserve.

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