The city of Los Andes has a population of 55,000 and an altitude of 2,690 feet. It was founded by a decree by Mr. Ambrosio O’Higgins on July, 31 of 1791, with the name of Santa Rosa de Los Andes. The climate is dry, typical of the Andean foothills; therefore it can be visited at any time of the year.
Los Andes is situated in a pre mountain range area which comprises the communes of San Felipe, Santa María, Putaendo, Panquehue, Catemu, Llay – Llay, Calle Larga, Rinconada and San Esteban. These places are situated in the midst of a marvelous nature, along a great historical and cultural richness. Its farm areas are dedicated most exclusively to fruit growing for export and industrial crops of high value, counting with many very well equipped packing and cold storage plants in the area.
In Los Andes area you can found the best snow in the famous Portillo Ski Center (Centro de Esquí Portillo), right next to the beautiful Inca Lagoon (Laguna del Inca), the Wine Circuit of Aconcagua Valley which is part ot the Wine day tours in Central Valley(Circuito del Vino del Valle del Aconcagua) has been organized, and it’s highly appreciated by the connoisseurs of fine wines and cultural sites of great interest.
Within the city:
Government house of Los Andes (Gobernación de Los Andes) building, declared national monument, and built between 1888 and 1891, with a neoclassic style. On the western side is the Saint Rosa Church (Iglesia Santa Rosa) that keeps a polychrome image of Saint Sebastián of Los Andes, a work of art by the Bavarian Jesuits of Calera de Tango dating to the XVII century.
In the Workshop of FEPASA (Maestranza de FEPASA [Av. Argentina 51]), the Chilean Association of Railway Legacy (Asociación Chilena del Patrimonio Ferroviario) is restoring the old machines, wagons and locomotives of the Trans-Andean Railroad to turn this place into a museum. It houses the Carril Gondola (Góndola Carril [a bus transformed into a railway wagon]), declared national monument.
Former Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Monasterio del Espíritu Santo), declared national monument, built between 1924 and 1925, and later restored in 1993. It’s an austere brick building, where Saint Teresa of Los Andes professed until her death. This place was transformed into the former Monastery´s crypt (cripta del ex Monasterio); here lay the remains of Saint Teresa until 1987, when they were moved to Auco. The Monastery’s Museum of Religious History (Museo Histórico Religioso del Monasterio) is situated on the second floor. It exhibits photographs and clothing of the Saint and recreations of aspects of his Carmelite life as well. Visiting hours is from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6:30 pm. The admission ticket is $500.
In front of to the former monastery is the Museum of History and Archeology of Aconcagua (Museo Histórico y Arqueológico de Aconcagua). This museum was set up in an old house with many patios, and is home to a collection of ceramic and lithic objects from various cultures that occupied the Valley of Aconcagua. There are also arms and furniture from the Independence. Visiting hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6:30 pm. The admission ticket is $500.
Santa Teresa de Los Andes Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is located nearby the city of Los Andes in the Auco esplanade and from here you can see the whole Valley of Los Andes (Valle de Los Andes). This is a place of worship situated between large hills. In October of each year there’s a traditional pilgrimage, where more than 160 thousand persons come to worship the Chilean saint Teresita de Los Andes. The journey is 16.7 rough miles of walking, between the old Chacabuco ranch, owned by the Saint’s grandfather, to the Sanctuary of Saint Teresa. During this walk the faithful pray, sing and dance. Masses are held during summer from Monday to Friday at 8 am in the monastery and at 12 pm in the temple, Saturday at 8 am, 10:30 am, 12 pm and 5 pm, Sunday at 8 am, 9:30 am, 11 am, 12:30 pm and 5 pm. During Winter the mass of 5 pm it’s held at 4 pm. During religious festivities there are masses at additional schedules.
Handcrafting in Los Andes
There are 4 factories in Los Andes that elaborate practical and decorative hand-painted products. They all sell their products to the public, and show the process of modeling and painting. CALA, founded in 1948 by Italian ceramists, produces more than 200 different items with refined designs using the majolica technique of double firing. Cerámica Razeto (Razeto Ceramics) makes decorative and practical objects using the casting technique. Oropesa Ceramics (Cerámica Oropesa) makes typical Chilean figures using the burnished technique. Manque Ceramics (Cerámica Manque) produces enameled pieces.
There’s a permanent traffic of farmers to the cities, thus there are many restaurants offering their services, called “picadas” (local food at convenient prices), spread in the area. Some are formal, other have the rural enchant. All offer local food, specialized in a variety of pig dishes, with wine and grape wine (chicha) of the area. We’ll introduce the most famous ones.
– San Regís House (Casa San Regís), which occupies the main building of the San Francisco de Regis ranch, a big colonial house with an imposing architecture, dating to the XVIII century, belonging to the family state Toro Mazóte. There’s lodging attended by its owners and is part ot the Wine day tours in Central Valley
-Cariño Botado, which was baptized with this name since once the town got ready to see the Liberator Army (Ejército Libertador) passing by, but it changed its route. On the road there’s the beautiful Country House (Casa de Campo), a place for social gatherings with good gastronomy. It’s the operational headquarters of Maitenes Expeditions (Maitenes Expediciones).
-Bianchini Smoked and Dried Beef Factory (Fábrica de cecinas Bianchini), with a remarkable assortment of Italian type of smoked and dried beef Italian. It’s open all year round from 8 am to 10 pm. Its traditional restaurant offers great Italian and German food. Its cafeteria offers the traditional tea time with cakes and a great variety of smoked and dried beef, and hams.
Vineyards and wine tours:
Vineyard of the Monastery (Viña del Monasterio), restaurant with typical food located in an old house that counts with cellars of a vineyard where a Wine Museum (Museo del Vino) has been created with used items in wine traditional manufacturing. It has an event, sales and tasting rooms for its own wines. It’s open from January to March, from Tuesday to Thursday, from 9 am to 6 pm; Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm; Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
San Esteban Vineyard (Viña San Esteban), its cellars and bottling plants, renewed in 1996, and an archeological site with petroglyphs inside the precincts. It has a sales room. Visiting hours are Monday from 2 pm to 7 pm, Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2:30 pm. The cost per group up to 10 persons is $2,000 each, and more than 10 persons $1,500 each. The visit to the petroglyphs is free. Visit it as part of the Wine day tours in Central Valley
Outdoor/hot spring/ski in Los Andes:
Portillo ski center:
Portillo ski center is one of the oldest and most classic Chilean ski center of South America, with a maximum capacity of 450 guest, offers and incredible ski experience. It offers 1 triple, 2 quad chairlifts, two doubles and 5 Pomas. Portillo hotels: Gran Hotel Portillo, Inca Lodge Portillo and Octogon Lodge Portillo each of them for a different type of traveller.
San Francisco de Los Andes is a native and private park of 21,003 acres near the San Francisco marsh, whose source is the Lagoon of Cruz del Padre (Laguna de la Cruz del Padre). About thirty ecological and adventure tourism trips are offered here such as horse riding, walking, sport fishing and fly-fishing, horse riding and paragliding classes. The activities are held during the day for all ages and physical conditions, plus there’s the option to enjoy a barbeque at midday.
There’s a project of developing a Private Ski Center here with three ski lifts, at a similar altitude than Portillo ski center. It also has a good restaurant with meat grilled on a disk and local food specialties. Visiting hours are from September to March, from 8 am to 8:30 pm; from April to August, from 8 am to 4 pm. Reservations must be made for the restaurant.
El Corazón Hot Springs
Located at 4.3 miles from Los Andes at an altitude of 2,952 feet. Here there are hot springs and a hotel that’s open all year round. The place has a restaurant famous for its international cuisine.
There are swimming pools with temperate water, a SPA with a swimming pool at 86° F, Jacuzzi at 95° F and bubbling beds. Its water springs from the live rock at 69º F.
Its waters are recommended for the treatment of respiratory disease, the nervous system, rheumatic pain, arthritis, mental fatigue, sleep disorders, back pain and sciatica.
Lodge & Resort Nevados de San Esteban. Here, in 51.8 acres, we have a harmonious eco-tourism complex. It offers lodging in Swiss alpine type of bungalows with excellent comfort, good level restaurant and bar, events room, covered and temperate swimming pool, sauna, tennis court, mini-golf, horse riding and walking.
Hiking and trekking in Los Andes
When going to the inland area of these magnificent valleys, enclosed by high massifs and hills, you will be able to practice mountain activities in the cape of the Aconcagua river, all the way up to the Juncal river’s source, and you will get an extraordinary view of the Juncal hill, the great Aconcagua and the foot of the high Los Leones, the big glacier of Juncal, where you can see the cracks of the most northern snowdrift in South America, the Morro Verde, among others. It’s recommended to inform the authorities before ascending any hill.
From Santiago use route 57 to Los Andes through the urban highway Costanera Norte.
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