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Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo with picnic

Post updated on 01/07/2022

Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo with picnic
An immensity of turquoise water with the backdrop, simply, the Andes Mountains. Did you know that this scenario is one of the most visited destinations in Chileespecially for those who are in Santiago?


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So it is. This artificial lake is actually the Embalse el Yeso. a reservoir with 250 million cubic meters and eight kilometers long, responsible for supplying around 80% of the Chilean capital.


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It was built in 1964 and it’s such a beautiful place. We were there in April 2019 at the invitation of destination Chile and we can guarantee: it is an unmissable tour.

Check out our experience at Embalse el Yeso!

HOW IS THE TOUR IN THE CAJON DEL MAIPO REGION: EMBALSE EL YESO

the reservoir Embalse is located in Cajon del Maipoin the region of the Rio Maipo Valley, about 100 kilometers from Santiago and 2500 meters above sea level.

Maipo River Valley - Cajon del Maipo: Embalse el Yeso with Picnic
Maipo River Valley – Cajon del Maipo: Embalse el Yeso

like the tour starts very early – it usually starts at 6 am (this was our departure time), the tour is combined with a stop in a small village in Cajon del Maipo for breakfast.

We stopped to eat at Cumbres del Maipo restaurant. On site, you can order the buffet free (or Boca Livre, as the Chileans say, kk) and eat all you want or buy whatever items you want. We opted for the free one at a cost of 5 thousand pesos per person.

Among the options, there were cakes, salami, cold cuts, breads, eggs, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice, yogurts, among others.

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It was well worth it because just one cup of chocolate was around 2000 pesos.

Breakfast at Cumbe del Maipo - Cajon del Maipo restaurant: Embalse el Yeso with picnic
Breakfast at Cumbe del Maipo restaurant – Cajon del Maipo: Embalse el Yeso

On this tour (offered by Destino Chile as a 2 in 1) we also had a little time – about two hours – to enjoy the famous thermal pools of Baños Colinaat the foot of the Cordilleras.

The waters are naturally heated by the San José volcano and reach 50 degrees.

Learn more about Termas de Colina in this post.

Baños Colinas - Cajon del Maipo: Embalse el Yeso with picnic
Baños Colina – Cajon del Maipo
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Access to Embalse el Yeso

After enjoying the warm waters, we continue to the Embalse reservoirhighlight of the tour.

The journey to the Embalse is partly on an asphalt road and partly on land. In the summer, there is a lot of dust and those who have allergies can prepare themselves because it will attack kkk.

It’s a very dry place.

Road to Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Road to Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Access to Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Access to Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

amazing place

Just before we arrived at the dam, the guide Victor asked everyone in the van to close their eyes and only open them when he told them to.

And when that moment came, it was “WOW”. Surprising!

Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

Although we had already seen the images on the internet several times, we were not prepared for that live and color look. It’s spectacular. A setting worthy of a computer screen saver.

The dam water is blue. But they say that it changes color depending on the light, and can become more greenish or even gray.

In winter, the landscape changes, as the mountain ranges in the background are all white from the snow. It must be beautiful too.

Embalse el Yeso dam in Cajon del Maipo
Embalse el Yeso dam in Cajon del Maipo

Our first contact with Embalse was from the top of the road, in a kind of stone lookout.

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That’s where those traditional photos are made that are often the envy of friends on Instagram and other social networks.

Viewpoint at Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Viewpoint at Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

Care must be taken, as the stop is made near a cliff with some loose rocks that can become dangerous for those who don’t know where to step.

Photos at the Embalse el Yeso Viewpoint in Cajon del Maipo
Photos at the Embalse el Yeso Viewpoint in Cajon del Maipo

When we run out of poses and angles, we head to the shores of the reservoir.

As I said before, we did the tour with Destino Chile. Unlike some other agencies, Destino takes the tourist by van very close to the water, called prainha.

It even got to the water. Which is very cold!!!

Embalse el Yeso reservoir banks in Cajon del Maipo
Embalse el Yeso reservoir banks in Cajon del Maipo
Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Place called 'prainha' in Cajon del Maipo
Place called ‘little beach’ at Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

Picnic

And it is there, in that scenery that looks like a painting, that a delicious picnic takes place, closing with a flourish the tour that lasts all day.

Our menu was elaborate: strawberry, pear, wine, juice, salami, cheeses, snacks, peanuts, pâté, breadsticks and crackers. All delicious and fresh.

Snack prepared by Destino Chile in Cajon del Maipo
Snack prepared by Destino Chile at Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Picnic on the banks of the Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Picnic in Cajon del Maipo

After eating all these delights, we head back to Santiago, ending the tour around 18:00.

When to visit Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

The best time to visit the Embalse is between November and April, in summer, when the roads are clear of snow and it is easy and safe to reach the banks of the dam by vehicle.

Test on the banks of the reservoir
Rehearsal on the banks of the Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

In winter, due to the snow, the road becomes more dangerous and slippery. At this time, cars can’t get as close to the reservoir as we did.

Mamis in Cajon del Maipo
Mamis at Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo
Danubia posing in the beautiful scenery of the region
Danubia posing at the beautiful Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo

It is necessary to leave the vehicle in a more remote place and walk for about three kilometers (around 1 hour and 30 minutes walking) until reaching the dam. Go prepared!

And depending on the road conditions, the tour is not even done.

Update: In May 2019, a rock on the road to Embalse rolled and killed two Brazilian children.

According to the information, even on a tour with tourist reception, they were in a forbidden place. So keep an eye out.

Tip: due to the access not so easy, it is recommended to do the tour with a trusted agency.

Safety must come first. Also, it is very important to know which company to choose. Some of them leave people in that place I told you above, three kilometers away, and you have to walk a lot even in the summer. Even the picnic is done up high, away from the water.

We highly recommend Destino Chile.

Find out why we chose the company in this post.

Cajon del Maipo


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