Maipo canyon, nature next to Santiago.

The Maipo canyon, located just 50 km from the city of Santiago, is a natural area away from the noise and hustle and bustle of the city.

This area, which flanks the course of the Maipo river, has many outdoor activities: trekking, rafting, mountain biking, canopy, horseback riding, … You can even relax after these activities in one of the thermal centers.

Without a doubt, this is one of the destinations you should visit if you are living in the city of Santiago.

1. When is the best time to visit the Maipo canyon?

Any time is good to approach this place. In summer you will enjoy an excellent weather to do outdoor activities. And in winter, you can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or simply contemplate the views from a warm cabin.

Of course, if you want to do rafting, inquire first in the company to see how the river is. If there is heavy rain, or the thaw makes the channel rise a lot, you can not do the activity anyway.

2. How to get to Maipo canyon?

It is quite simple since is close to Santiago and well indicated. The most direct route is the following:

    • Go through Americo Vespucio heading south.
    • Take exit 41 (Las Torres) and continue along the side lane to La Florida Avenue.
    • Continue along La Florida Avenue and, after a few kilometers, along Camilo Henríquez Avenue
    • At the end of the avenue, turn left, towards Vizcachas.
    • Continue on the road to the volcano. You are already in the Cajón del Maipo (San José is 22 km away).

Map of Maipo

3. Where to stay in the Maipo canyon?

The main town is San José de Maipo, located in the middle of Maipo canyon (48 km from Santiago). Here you have plenty of accommodation options at your disposal.

However, to enjoy the views and the nature of Maipo canyon, we recommend that you rent a cabin or stay in one of the lodges that there is along the route of the river.

As we were enough, rented a cabin with a pool to celebrate the birthday of a friend. Good company and unbeatable views!

Cabin with swimming pool in Maipo canyon

4. How to move around the Maipo canyon?

As you can see in the following map, the places of interest are far apart. So we recommend that you hire the travel with an agency or, better yet, rent your own car to travel the Cajon del Maipo to your liking.

Maipo canyon
Source: Sagarmatha Andean Club

5. Activities to do in the Maipo canyon

In this area, tourism has been greatly enhanced, mainly by adventure. There are a lot of options to choose, so see what’s yours …

– Trekking through the Maipo canyon

In this area of the mountain range there are quite a few trekking routes. However, not all are well signposted, so you must inform yourself or hire a guide to perform them safely.

Trekking in Maipo canyon

You also have available, although a little further north, the Olivares river-Big Leap heritage route. It is a nice trekking to do in a weekend without leaving much of Santiago.

– Rafting in the Maipo river

There are several companies in the area, so you can choose the one that is most convenient for price and schedule. They all leave the equipment and transport you to the rafting area.

Once there, they teach you the basic concepts to carry out the descent safely: the position inside the raft, interpreting the orders, how to paddle, how to stay in the water, if you fall, and get on (in our case it was not necessary).

Rafting in Maipo canyon 1

The first area of the route was simple, to get warm … We paddled quietly and enjoying the landscape.

Rafting in Maipo canyon 2

After a while the rapids area started: Pure emotion! We rowed hard while the guide was directing the raft …

Rafting in Maipo canyon 3

The water splashed our faces, we jumped into the raft because of the waves that formed in the rapids, … but we did not stop rowing and we managed to get out of the situation!

Rafting Maipo canyon 4

We were tired, but it is a totally recommended activity to do here and anywhere else.

– Chilean Rodeo in San José de Maipo

National sport of Chile consisting of demonstrating the mastery of 2 riders dominating a res.

Chilean rodeo

In the cow run competition, the most popular of the two existing, 2 riders follow a res. Each one of them carries out his work: one goes behind it and the other to his side.

Chilean rodeo 2

So until, approaching the barrier, one of the riders tackles the res against the wall. Depending on the part of the animal with which it is tied, and how is the position of the horse in the catch, so will the score obtained (from 1 to 4).

Chilean rodeo 3

It’s a pretty curious sport. If you are in San José, and there is a rodeo, you should not miss it.

El Yeso dam

To get to this dam, nestled in a spectacular spot, you must take a detour, after San Gabriel village, and follow down a forest track.

Detour to El Yeso dam

On the way, which follows the course of the Yeso River, you will see some beautiful views of the summits that make up this canyon.

Views of El Yeso dam

Until you get to the dam, where you can see some wonderful views of the water in contrast to the bare slopes and snowy peaks.

El Yeso dam

– Hot springs in the Maipo canyon

What better than hot water springs to relax from physical activity. In the Maipo canyon you have 3 places at your disposal:

    • icono mapaEl Plomo hot springs: They are natural hot springs. However, you have to pay 6,000 pesos to access the path. They are at the end of the road that passes through the El Yeso dam(65 km from San José de Maipo).
    • icono mapaMorales hot springs: They are formed by 3 well-conditioned commercial swimming pools. They are 48 km from San José de Maipo.
    • icono mapaColina hot springs: Formed by 9 pools, they have a spectacular view of the mountain range. They are located 54 km from San José del Maipo.

– Other adventure sports

In addition to the activities that we did, you have at your disposal agencies that offer you the following adventures:

    • Canopy: Descend with a zip line at full speed over the river.
    • Jump in Bungy: Jump into the void on the Maipo River and feel the adrenaline to the fullest.
    • Cross-country skiing: Enjoy spectacular views while practicing this beautiful winter sport.
    • Snowshoe hikes: If skis are not your thing, but you would like to enjoy nature in winter, try this other option.

We hope our advice will be useful. Also, if you feel more adventurous, go for other natural wonders of Chile: Torres del Paine, Trekking in Navarino island, Pucon, Chilean Araucania, Olivares river-Big leap,…

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