One of the most beautiful things to do when staying in Santiago is to visit Cajón Del Maipo, which is roughly 2 hours by car from Fini Chico. Here the scenery is wild and incredibly beautiful. To get there by car, drive from Fini Chico down to the first main road, crossing straight over into Avenida Florida. A left turn here and you are on the route to Cajón Del Maipo, passing through the lovely village of San José where you can buy everything you need for the journey, including a day’s picnic. Along the roadside there are lots of restaurants and bbq places where you can stop and eat.
Continue on the asphalt road until you eventually cross a bridge. The road starts to go uphill now for several kilometres until you get to a road on your left hand side signposted Embalse Yeso. Here you have 2 options: either go left to visit the lake and beyond some 10 kilometres where you will reach Termas del Plomo. People often picnic around the lake but don’t go beyond this point. In recent years this part has become very touristy and there are many mini day tours coming from Santiago, so if you decide you don’t want to drive yourself you will find lots of tourist offices in the centre who offer tours.
If instead of turning left you continue on this road you will find a signpost to the left for Villa Banos Morales. At 1800 m above sea level it is a small village with 3 pools as well as cabanas for rent. Here you can trek for 5 hours or so towards the San Francisco Glaciers as well as visiting the dinosaur footprints. This national park is run by CONAF, the Chilean forestry commission.
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Alternatively if you pass the turn off to Banos Morales and continue on the road for about an hour or so you will see a signpost for Termas Colina. On this road you will find during the summer season many dwellings with goats, sheep and dogs. These people normally live in villages down below but graze their animals during the spring and summer around the cordillera and return to their villages with their animals around April each year. Almost all of these families make goats cheese and often sell goat meat to people driving by. One good idea for a picnic is if you purchase some hot bread in San Jose then you can buy goats cheese further on to take to the hot springs for lunch. There are many tour companies who do excursions to these pools or alternatively if you arrange with us in advance, we may be able to organise this for you, with picnic included for $300 USD for up to 4 people.