A hike with views of snow-drizzled peaks, followed by soaks in thermal pools — can you picture a more perfect day? On this small-group tour led by an expert guide, drive through breathtaking El Cajón de Maipo, a canyon slicing through the Andes mountains. Then undertake a 5-hour moderate-level hike through El Morado Natural Monument to enjoy a glacier-side lunch, or trek through Valle de las Arenas and gaze in awe at El Morado's summit and lagoon while you eat. Unwind at the hot springs of Baños Colinas. Round-trip hotel transport from Santiago is included.
After morning hotel pickup in Santiago, travel with your guide southeast of the city through El Cajón del Maipo, a canyon and river valley chiseled into the Andes mountains. Your road follows the course of the Maipo River and curves upward. From the comfort of your vehicle, capture a hypnotizing array of panoramas, including rich vineyards and orchards, arid mountainsides and snowcapped peaks. Make a brief stop at the region’s capital, San José de Maipo, a picturesque adobe-style town founded in 1792, and stock up on any goodies you’d like to munch on during the hike. Back aboard the vehicle, you'll head to either El Morado Natural Monument or Valle de las Arenas (depending on weather and road conditions) for your 5-hour (round-trip) trek of moderate difficulty. Both hiking routes involve similar terrain; you'll begin in an expansive valley surrounded by towering mountains. Follow your guide up rocky slopes strewn with wildflowers and on mountain paths, perhaps catching sight of condors swooping overhead or yellow-breasted cometocinos fluttering by.After a 2.5-hour ascent, you’re rewarded with spectacular views of the hanging glacier of El Morado, or its immense lagoon with floes of ice with the snowy summit in the background, soaring 15,246 feet (4,467 meters) into the sky. Admire this landscape while enjoying your box lunch, usually a sandwich, cereal bar, fruit and juice (vegetarian option available). Afterward, follow your guide back to the vehicle. Treat your sore muscles at Baños Colinas, thermal pools shimmering on mountainside terraces, located at the base of San José volcano. Before dipping in the waters, re-energize with a pisco sour cocktail and cheese snacks. Then start off soaking in the top pool, with the warmest temperature, and work your way down the cliff into the lower pools with cooler waters. As you float in a bubbling hot spring, breathe in the crisp mountain air and take in the amazing views of the Andes. After about an hour at Baños Colinas, climb back aboard the vehicle and make your way back to Santiago, arriving at your hotel before midnight. Please note: A minimum of 2 people per booking is required.