Just outside of Santiago is the weekend getaway spot of Cajón del Maipo, a narrow river valley that snakes its way up to the Andes. The valley has a few small towns in it, with places to eat and stop and shop, but the real prize is way up towards the very top of the (rough) road, shortly before it dips into Argentina, and that is the hotsprings at Termas Valle de Colina.
About a 2.5 hour drive from Santiago, at the foot of the San José volcano, at an elevation of about 8,000 feet are the eight different pale blue pools of the hotsprings, which have been channeled away from their source with different mixes of cool water, to make for comfortable soaking. The waters contain several types of minerals including magnesium and calcium that are said to have curative properties.
From the pools, it’s occasionally possible to see wildlife, such as Andean condors, foxes and less commonly, owls. Generally speaking, October to March is a good time to schedule a visit to Termas Valle de Colina, but since they are in the pre-cordillera, which has unstable weather, it is best to be vigilant about forecasts, as there can be occasionally be blizzards even into November.
People believe in UFO activity here, but even if you’re a nonbeliever, the skies here are stunning both during the day, with sharp peaks against bright blue skies or at night, when on a clear night, with no light pollution, the stars shine bright. Or choose a full moon night for a totally different experience.