Embalse El Yeso

If you want to experience nature at its finest, Chile is definitely the place to be…. and you don’t have to venture very far from the capital city.  Yesterday, I went to Embalse El Yeso, and it was absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend booking a tour because the only other way to get there is by car, and the driving seems a bit treacherous (think dirt roads, sharp turns on mountain roads with no guardrails, and a TON of traffic unless you go extremely early).

I went with Huaso Tours, and my experience was incredible!  The cost is 35,000 CLP, and it is well worth it.  I spoke with Jenni via WhatsApp, who gave me detailed information in English about how to book the tour.  After everything was confirmed, our guide-to-be (Patricio) kept everyone up to date through a group message.

Here’s a summary of the trip and what to expect if you book a similar tour:

We met at Plaza Baquedano around 8:30 AM, checked in with Patricio, and headed out.  The drive to Embalse El Yeso is about 2 hours.  There was a bathroom break right before we arrived at our destination. The cost is 500 CLP, and the bathrooms were well stocked with toilet paper, soap, and paper towels (which is saying something because public bathrooms in Chile can be hit or miss).  Soon after, we parked the van and walked a couple of kilometers uphill toward the reservoir.  It was rather cold, and the road was icy.  Though the hike was not difficult, I would recommend shoes with good traction.  We got to the reservoir around noon, took some photographs, and enjoyed the fresh mountain air.  A little before 1:00, my friends and I headed back to the van for a picnic lunch.  By that time, the temperature had increased considerably… and so had the traffic.  People and cars were blocking the road, and the ice was melting, causing large pools of muddy water to form.  It’s important to keep in mind that this will slow you down when descending.  After arriving at the van, we all enjoyed a fantastic lunch: turkey sandwiches, fruit, cheese, cookies, olives, juice, and several glasses of wine.  We started our journey back to Santiago sometime around 2:00, but we stopped a few times along the way in order to take photos of the gorgeous scenery and have a couple of snowball fights. 🙂 We returned to Santiago at around 5:30, just as the sun was setting.

It was a fantastic day; Embalse is a must see for those who are travelling to Santiago.

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