Los Andes: Forever gazing at the mountains

There can be no other name for this city. The snow-capped mountains watch over its inhabitants’ peaceful existence

Santuario Auco
Santuario Auco. Foto: Rodrigo Pizarro

Los Andes’ Plaza de Armas still retains the peace it must have been steeped in when it was founded in 1791. It was declared a typical area because of its historical buildings, such as the Provincial Government Seat and Post Office; the house of Nobel poetess Gabriela Mistral; the Post Office that Ambrosio O’Higgins, founder of Los Andes during the Spanish colonial era, ordered to be built; and the old Convento del Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit Convent), of the Order of Descalced Carmelites.

Los Andes is 80 kilometers from Santiago, and is part of the Valparaíso region. It is an obligatory stop for travelers who cross the Andes from and to Argentina. However, Los Andes is much more, because of its closeness to the ski resorts of Portillo and El Arpa, as well as to the agricultural city of San Felipe and its inviting spa, Termas del Corazón. There is also a private park where fly fishing can be practiced.

In the vicinity there are Catholic sanctuaries and the mountains, eternally waiting. We recommend the hiking paths to the Andean heights up to Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), and enjoying a meat empanada that you can buy from one of the food sellers along the border crossing.

Main Attractions

Former Convent of the Descalced Carmelites

Declared a National Monument because of its incalculable Heritage value, the original Convent was inaugurated in 1925 and consists of the old cloister and an adjacent church with certain Gothic influences in its architecture. This is where the first Chilean saint, Teresita de Los Andes, lived as a Carmelite nun. Avenida Sarmiento with  Los Villares.

Santuario de Auco

The most important Catholic Church in this area, located a few kilometers southeast of Los Andes, where the remains of Saint Teresa of Los Andes are interred. The Sanctuary nestles between mountains and in it a moving atmosphere of devotion and faith reign. This is also where the new Carmelite Monastery was built. There is a shop where religious books and local handicrafts are sold. Carretera San Martín s/n Auco Rinconada de Los Andes, Chile. Telephone Nos.: (34)- 401714 – 401940.

Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

From a height of 3900 meters, right on the border of Chile and Argentina, the enormous statue of Christ is a symbol of accord and peace between the two nations. Inaugurated in 1904, created by Argentine sculptor Mateo Alonso, this bronze figure stands in the midst of a formidable natural scenario with a view of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in Latin America. The road can only be negotiated by 4WD vehicles.

San Francisco de Los Andes Lodge

This is a private 22-hectare park with splendid views of the Andes Mountains, horseback riding, cabins for visitors, and the only chance for tourists in the region to practice fly fishing in a lake specially reserved for the activity. Phone: 34-482516

Baños del Corazón and Termas de Jahuel hot springs

The mountains also offer hot springs. Baños del Corazón are located only 7 km east of Los Andes and have a hotel and spa service. The Jahuel hot springs have a quality hotel, a complete spa, and thermal pools. An ideal place to rest after the mountains.