Las Siete Tazas is an amazing long-weekend getaway from Santiago.
My best friend from Wisconsin had recently landed in Chile to visit me and this was a perfect place to take her, a magnificent showing of the beauty Chile has to offer. We headed to Molina, near Curico, which is about 4 hours by bus, and then from there a bus leaves for the park a couple times a day. We stopped at the local Unimarc for groceries and then ligered around the bus stop area, buying empanadas from a little stand and salivating over the delicious smelling anticuchos being cooked outside a nearby restaurant. As a forewarning, the ride is a couple hours, extremely bumpy, and very dusty. If you’ve been drinking lots of water, I urge you to go to the bathroom beforehand or the trip will be loooooooonger than you can even imagine! Trust me, I learned the hard way.
Along the way, the bus stopped at Velo de la Novia and we took some pictures from afar. It offered a glimpse into the beauty the park beholds, with insanely celeste water and lush vegetation. There were a few stops once we got into the park for those who were camping or staying in cabins in different parts. We were camping and stayed in the CONAF sites in Parque Inglesa at the end the the road (about $4000CLP/night). I highly recommend this option, not only because the park itself is beautiful and peaceful, but also because it is only minutes away from the actual 7 Tazas site. A bus leaves from Parque Inglesa each morning and heads out, dropping you off at 7 Tazas or other parts of the park. This means moving between sections is easy, cheap, and you can take advantage of seeing as much as possible.
Camping in Parque Inglesa
With clean, but dusty, campsites, nice facilities, and supposedly hot (we had cold) water, this tree-filled campground sits along the most gorgeous river I have ever seen. We could have spent our entire time walking from one part of the river to the next, climbing down the rocks from one little private paradise to another, sunbathing over the rocks and gravel that laid the ground. This is what we did the whole first afternoon and next day and it was one of the most relaxing experiences imaginable. However, another warning, as beautiful as the water is… it is downright FREEZING. It was too appealing not to get in, so we sat in the sun, chatted, read, and napped, until we had soaked up enough heat to handle a quick dip in the icy river.
The campground is nice and spread out, with many of the sites directly overlooking the river. I definitely want to come back here to have barbecues, play outdoor games, and just kick back while enjoying the tranquility. Teresa and I went in March and the nights were very, very cold. It got dark pretty early so headlights are a must, especially considering the araña pollito that crawls around. A bonus to the early nights, however, is the stars. We sat out for quite some time, gazing up at what was the biggest, most dense cluster of stars either of us has ever seen. It was absolutely breathtaking and we both wished we we’d had a high quality camera to have saved that memory.
Las Siete Tazas and Salta de la Leona
We hopped on the morning bus and made our way to the 7 Tazas. They are 7 little teacup pools that get filled by the one above and fill the one below. The entrance into the park is $2000CLP and there is a short trail to get there. While Teresa and I considered them crystal clear and darn stunning, everyone says that they are “nothing” in comparison to what they were before the 2010 earthquake. I guess that the powerful 8.8er shook the country and moved plates in a way that emptied out a lot of rivers and lakes, including the 7 Tazas and Salta de la Leona. Still, they are worth seeing.
We made our way to Salta de la Leona and were greeted by a big araña pollito, quite the experience for Teresa who hadn’t seen a spider of that size. I assured her they are safe and harmless, but that didn’t exactly quelch our fear that it’d pounce as we tried to pass :)
I had had some friends come here a couple months prior and the pool underneath the fall looked 10x that of which we saw in March, so it definitely fluctuates with the the summer and its dryness. We spent a couple hours here, laying in the sand, having lunch, chatting, and just exploring the area.
On the way back, we met two comical ladies that were walking the trail, one who was obviously Chilean and one who was obviously a foreigner. We were at a little lookout and the Chilean woman started talking to me about how small the 7 Tazas were in comparison to the last time she’d come 20 years prior. While we were talking I noticed the other lady was taking pictures of us. I was a bit surprised but could tell she was simply enthusiastic about her experience in Chile, haha. We ended up introducing ourselves and learning eachother’s stories. They were the mothers of a Chilean guy and Czech girl who had gotten married. Although they spoke different languages, the Chilean mother was taking the Czech mother to see the sights around her hometown. They enjoyed eachother’s company and got their points across through exaggerated sounds, gestures, and motions. It was quite the enjoyable, and funny, sight. They offered us a ride to Curico, which was right along our route back to Santiago, and we graciously accepted.
They took us back to Parque Inglesa to pack up our tent and then we all shared coffee before jumping in and beginning a hilarious trip to Curico. The Chilean mother swerved around the windy, dusty roads and the Czech mother screamed “whoa, whoa” while doing her best to pronounce “lento, lento (slow)” in Spanish. Then, they’d look at eachother and laugh. When passing pretty scenery the Chilean mother would stop, make a camera with her hands, and the “click” sound with her mouth, and the Czech mother would excitedly jump out of the car and snap a bunch of photos with her phone. The two ladies were simply lovely and it was endearing to see the bonds, and experiences, that can be shared without words.