chilean andes

The Valle Nevado ski resort boasts more than 37 slopes of varying difficulties. (Photo: Getty Images)


Reach ‘Peak’ (See What We Did There?) Chile on an Andes Day Trip

Santiago enjoys a privileged location. Every winter, snow covers the mountains that surround the city making for an unmatched postcard panorama.

It’s no surprise that, year after year, thousands of tourists from Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and other countries in the Americas and Europe flood the city —only to leave it behind for a 45-minute trip towards the Chilean Andes mountain range.

During the period from July to September, the small village of Farellones awakens from a long slumber to welcome the incoming stream of so-called “snow lovers”.

Farellones: The First Mountain Village

Twenty miles away from Santiago, Farellones is accessible by driving down a zigzagging road with forty curves that starts in Santiago. With stone houses reminiscent of Switzerland’s famous chalets, Farellones is the first point of interest en route to the ski resorts.

In the heart of the picturesque village is the El Montañés Restaurant, a must-visit icon of the Chilean Andes. In addition, for those who are looking for something to do besides skiing and snowboarding, the Farellones Park awaits, where sledges and bikes can be rented, and it’s even possible to take a ski lift and enjoy the unbeatable panoramic views of Santiago’s three famous valleys.

From Farellones you can reach three ski resorts in a matter of minutes: La Parva, El Colorado and Valle Nevado.

Valle Nevado: South America’s Largest Ski Resort

chilean andes
Valle Nevado (Photo: Getty Images)

Located 25 miles outside of Santiago, this ski resort boasts more than 37 slopes of varying difficulties. As well as having a ski school and an equipment hire shop, Valle Nevado offers a range of activities that will delight visitors.

Among them is Heli Ski; a helicopter adventure, supervised by expert guides, that will take you to explore untamed valleys covered in virgin snow, armed only with a pair of skis or a snowboard.

For those who are not so fond of snow sports, Valle Nevado has other more relaxing activities, such as the ski resort’s heated swimming pool, live music days or a gastronomy tour of the more than five restaurants and bars that can be found on this side of the Andes.

La Parva: The Mountain’s Best Sunsets

As well as being home to a ski school and an equipment hire service, La Parva is characterized by its incredible gastronomy. The La Marmita de Pericles Restaurant offers a varied menu notable for its raclettes and fondues, as well as local dishes such as Magellanic roast lamb.

Those seeking something a little lighter —but just as delicious— might want to visit the La Alfonsina Restaurant, located at the foot of the ski resorts, from where you can enjoy the best sunsets on the mountain, either with a marshmallow-topped hot chocolate or a glass brimming with chilled beer.

El Colorado: A Family Ski Resort

chilean andes
El Colorado (Photo: Getty Images)

Located in the heart of the three valleys, between La Parva and Valle Nevado, the El Colorado ski resort provides a more family-oriented experience. This is the place for those looking to enjoy a day skiing, either on the unbeatable slopes or on the areas with virgin snow.

And if what you are looking for is a day of relaxation, at the El Parador restaurant —found at the foot of the ski resort— you can order classic Chilean sandwiches, such as the Barros Luco or a pork loin sandwich with avocado and mayonnaise, accompanied with a classic pisco sour.