Not too far from Santiago, up a mountain road with over 60 curves, sits Valle Nevado, a ski lodge in the Andes Mountains. Santiago is pretty much surrounded by mountains and I wanted to get up close to them.
There’s no public transportation to Valle Nevado, so I booked a half-day tour with Turistik. It cost CLP $23,400. The good thing about it is that it wasn’t really a tour, just a ride up the mountains to relax for a couple hours. Just one tip – it’s cold up there. Even in summer, bring a jacket/coat and maybe a hat and gloves.
Like the other tours, I was picked up at Patio Bellavista by a service bus at 8:30am. I was taken to my tour bus and we headed out of the city and up the mountain. Once at the top, we were given a few options. We could take the ski lift up to the very top for some spectacular views (CLP $15,000), sit at the café, or watch the condors. I chose the latter two.
The views were great and it was nice to sit and warm up with a hot chocolate. Just a warning: coffee prices are a little high, and food prices were very high.
The real highlight of the day for me was seeing the condors. They are huge, graceful birds that don’t flap their wings to fly, but glide instead. Their wingspan can be up to 10.5 feet!