Get amongst the Andes Mountains above Santiago, Chile's vibrant capital, to get the best views of the South American city and a different perspective during your trip. If you're short on time take a day trip, or opt for a longer trek if you're prepared to bed down overnight on one of the peaks amongst the cacti. Treks to suit all levels of fitness and experience are located near Santiago - Aguas de San Ramon Park, Provincia, Rio Clarillo National Reserve, Saltos de Apoquindo and Cerro Pochoco to name a few. Here are the best short treks in and around Santiago.
Cerro Pochoco is a steep trail, open all year round; beginning at Observatorio Pochoco located an hour's drive from Santiago. It's a slightly tricky trek that will take around three - four hours to complete. With slippery pebbles and sand under foot, the descent might prove more challenging than the ascent, but the view, and the chance to see a condor in flight, is well worth the effort.
Saltos de Apoquindo
Take Santiago's "sendero" trail from the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo, and walk up the paved hill, Reserva Ecologica Contrafuertes Cordillerano, to begin your walk. A meandering trail, the Saltos de Apoquindo leads to a refreshing waterfall in around three and a half hours of walking, where you'll rock-hop across the flow of water to reach the bottom of the falls. Follow the trail back the way you came or try the alternate route, which leads out to Aguas de San Ramon and from there, to Plaza La Reina.
An impressive 2,600 metres above sea level, Provincia offers sweeping views of San Ramon, El Plomo, the city below and the Andes. Find the start of the trek near the Puente Nilhue market on Camino Farrollones or at Universidad Catolica's Estadio San Carlos de Aquiquindo. Plan to spend five or six hours hiking and opt to camp overnight on the peak and capture the breathtaking panoramic views of the city lit up at night.
Aguas de San Ramon Park
A mountain range in its own right, Cerro San Ramon runs through Santiago's eastern side and shares its name with its highest peak, San Ramon. Take two days to complete this trek so you can camp overnight and enjoy the views at night of the sparkling city below. Experienced hikers may like the challenge of "The Ridge", a step descent taking you on a third day's journey, into the spectacular Manzano valley of Cajon del Maipo.
Rio Clarillo National Reserve
Head south from Santiago on the Avenida Vicuna Mackenna to find Rio Clarillo National Reserve in the Pirque locale. As well as offering some great Instagram opportunities, the picturesque Clarillo River provides fresh water to surrounding communities. Walk over lower mountain ranges rich in local flora and fauna and if you have a few extra hours to spare, stop by El Morado Natural Monument and the thermal baths of Morales.