SPORTY or NOT, sometimes the city can get too loud and dirty. For me hiking up a hill is the best way to flee the city for a while without having to travel too far. Santiago is SURROUNDED by hills so I found a lot of hills to climb on. The tracks range from short and easy to long and exhausting. The following is a list of hikes I liked. Generally all of them are accessible all year. AND depending of the time of the year they are said to be more or less attractive. ONE thing that doesn’t change over the year is the stunning views of Santiago.
- Cerro Manquehuito (2-3h) easy
Hiking upon Cerro Manquehuito is considered to be a very easy hike. Not just for sporty people, as i consider myself to be, but also for not very experienced hikers. The path has a length of 3,2 kilometres with a latitude of 464 meters. Normally this should not take you longer than 3 hours (go and comeback). If you are living in las Condes or even further east you can easily takes this route as your morning or evening walk. The entrance is in the neighbourhood of Los Trapenses. You get there by public transport with the micro c08 (until Camino Real). Once you are up you have a great view on the Skyline of Santiago and the Andes.
- Cerro Manquehue (3-4h) media
In the same area as Cerro Manquehuito you can hike his big brother- Cerro Manquehue. The entrance in a street called Via Roja. It is not that easily accessible by public transport during the week. But the district Vitacura has initiated a bus for the weekend which leaves at la Rotonda de Lo Curro – a roundabout close to club de golf sport frances. The distance is about 4,8 kilometres with a latitude of 464 meters. This shouldn’t take you longer than 4 hours. As you are higher up the view is even more stunning than the one from Manquehuito.
- Cerro Pochoco (4-5h) media
At the far east of las Condes in the valley of el Arrayana you will find the entrance to a very nice path up the hill Pochoco. The easiest way to get there is definitely by car. But if you like me prefer public transport these are your options:
- Metro Bilbao (Isabel La Católica): Bus C01
- Metro Manquehue (Apoquindo): Bus C01
- Metro Pedro de Valdivia (Nueva de Lyon): Bus 411
Whatever micro you chose, get off at Plaza San Enrique were you have 3 options: hitch-hike; take a taxi ($1.825 – $2.350) or a colectivo (around $800 for 4 persons). Either way you want to be dropped off at “estacionamiento del Pochoco”. There you find the marked entrance to a path that takes you through vegetation and along the hill. It might not always be obvious how to continue, but if you choose a path that goes up – you will find your way. The hike is about 5 kilometres in total with altitude of around 700 meters, which should be around 4-5 hours. Depending on your starting point and transportation choice you can considers this more than just a half day trip.
IMPORTANT: You won’t find water on the path, so make sure to take the general 2 -3 litre of water with you.
- Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón(Salto de Apoquindo) (6-7h) media-difficult
The waterfalls of Apoquindo are one of the many attractions of the Natural Park Aquas de Ramón. The path to reach the waterfalls is around 17 kilometers in length with latitude of more or less 733 meters. Generally it is considered to be of medium to high intensity but it is worth a try. Even if you don´t make it all the way the park has a fascinating nature, with tall cactuses and many typical plants. Also you will find some very appealing resting places close to the river. They are especially attractive on a hot day as they provide shadow which the rest of the path does not. So don’t forget a hat and sun crème.
IMPORTANT: Latest entry to the path of Salto de Apoqunido is 10:00 h. And on very hot days there may be another checkpoint with you have to reach until 13:00. ALSO there is an entrance fee to the park of $2.000. They have toilettes once in a while AND due to the river you have the possibility to restore water.
Opening hours of the park: Monday to Sunday (8:00- 21:00)
- Cerro Provincia (8-9h) difficult
On the same sight of the city as Cerro Pochoco lies the 2750 meters high Cerro Provincia. There are a view ways up, but i chose what they call the “normal way” through Puente Ñilhue the entrance of the Park Ñilhue. Again it is easier to go there by car but if you have to or want to take public transport you have the same options as to Cerro Pochoco. Go to Plaza San Enrique (as described above) and take either a taxi or a colectivo (around $3000) to “Puente Ñilhue” (- Ñilhue bridge, with is a bit further than estatiomente de Pocho). The total track is about 18 kilometres with latitude of 1718 meters. For a medium sporty person like me it will take you about 9 hours. BUT be warned, it is generally not recommended for trekking beginners. Also I would recommend getting up early and considering it a day trip. Don’t rush it, take your time and enjoy the view. The first and last parts are the once most exhausting, as the track is taking you up high fast. The middle part will be more relaxing. So recharge your energy here as you will need it for the last bold part which also includes some rock climbing (1,738 m). The view is as always worth the trouble and if you are especially lucky (which I wasn´t) you may see Chile’s famous bird – Condor.
IMPORTANT: Again take enough water and food with you. Also there is a small fee of $2000 you have to pay to access the Provincia hill. There are time limits to enter. For the path to Cerro Providencia you have to be there at 10 in the morning (latest).
Opening hours of the park: Tuesday till Sunday (8:00 – 19:00)
If you know got the taste of it but do not want to take you first hike in Santiago alone you can come join us at SEN on our annual hikes. AND don´t forget ‘life is a journey, not a destination.’ (Ralph Waldo Emerson) So keep on hiking.
Que te vaya bien.