A Bit of Fresh Air in Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón

As the rain washes away the brown husk of Santiago smog, the mountainous countryside looms invitingly in the background.

Photo by Julia Stepowska
Photo by Julia Stepowska

Living along the fault line may have its dangers but a multitude of nearby hikes make up for this fact. Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón spills over into Santiago city, right at the edge of La Reina and Las Condes to the east.

For a small entrance fee of CP$1,500 (US$3) the park offers a range of attractions. This includes three different circuits to choose from (depending on your time and strength), as well as the possibility to ride along the trails by horse, all easily accessible by public transport. The environmental ethos of the park is evident in the ecological toilets sitting high on stilts above giant barrels of compost. From up on the mountainside, the sweeping views of Santiago make Cerro San Cristobal's vantage point seem almost ridiculous.

Photo by Julia Stepowska
Photo by Julia Stepowska

The three trails are:

Canto del Agua: Just one kilometer into the park, this trail boasts Chile's native flora, the perfect spot for a picnic. Adjacent to the trail flows the crystal clear waters of the Estero de Ramón, the sound of which gives the trail its name.

Los Peumos: Climb a little higher along this trail and you get a great panoramic view of Santiago, despite the impending smog, with the new Costanera Centre in the distance. Now the tallest tower in Santiago, from this standing point, it looks even bigger than Cerro San Cristobal. The path continues on, twisting around the edge of a hill spotted with cactus. Below, the Estero de Ramón flows from the base of a rushing waterfall, offering cooling respite to sunbathers on the river rocks. The dry and yellowing terrain morphs into a canopy of trees, surrounding the aforementioned ecological toilets.

Continuing along the trail, you come to a suspiciously wiggly suspension bridge which takes you back to the park administration. Of course, there is plenty of seating and look out points along the 6.2km trail, which should take about 4 hours to complete at a leisurely pace. Be careful to avoid stepping in horse droppings along the way!

Photo by Julia Stepowska
Photo by Julia Stepowska

Salto de Apoquindo: If you’re looking for a more intense walk, keep going along the path, past the waterfall and onto the junction between The Peumos and Salto de Apoquindo (Apoquindo Jump). Here, an old service road that was once used to transport drinkable water, leads to another picnic site which looks out over a spectacular 30 meter drop. This trail, 17.2km, takes around 9 hours to complete.

Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón
Av. Álvaro Casanova 2583, La Reina
am/pm: 8 am to 6 pm (winter) or 7 pm (summer)
Entrance: CP$1,500 (US$3)

How To Get There:
Take metro line 4 to Príncipe de Gales and then take the 212 bus, direction La Reina, until you reach the corner of Príncipe de Gales with Valenzuela Llanos. Walk 1.5km up Calle Onofre Jarpa until you reach Álvaro Casanova, where the park is located.

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