This lodge provides a great place to spend 2 or 3 days to take in beautiful scenery, hike a couple of trails, and maybe visit thermal baths.
The lodge is accessible via a gravel road from San Gabriel, just beyond the fork to Cajon del Maipo and Banos Morales. We took the bus from (#72) from Bellavista de la Florida Metro Station to San Gabriel, and then negotioated a ride to the Refugio. If you have acccess to a rental car, it would have made for a much easier experience in arriving at the lodge. Our skills in Spanish are limited, and arranging the ride from San Gabriel to Lo Valdes, and also making conversation with staff at the lodge would have been enhanced by better skills in the language.The lady who looked after us at the weekend had excellent english, and was most helpful.
The lodge appears to be very popular at weekends, and was pretty full on our visit. A number of families had kids, but they were mostly well behaved. One of the family groups invited us for a chat and a glass of wine, which was appreciated. If you can manage it, a weekday visit would provide a more serene atmosphere.
The lodge is part hostel, part hotel. The bathrooms/showers are communal, and were kept in a very clean state. We had no problems with waiting for access or queing in our stay. Our private room, although basic, had a hand basin, and double bed, with great mountain views.
The breakfasts (included in the approx. $48 pp rate) were good. Ask for cafe grano, rather than the "instant coffee". Dinners were basic, but wholesome (steak, pork chops, chicken). The wine and beers were very reasonable in price, especially considering the remote location.We asked for a packed lunch for a hike, and there was essentially enough for two, with hearty sandwiches, fruit and juice.
On one of the nights one of the two docile and friendly dogs at the Refugio, decided to bark for a couple of hours. This kept us awake for quite a while (another reviewer noted this, also). Our room was right over the lobby, where the dogs reside. It may be advisable to ask for a room at the opposite end of the lodge.
We walked from the refugio, along the gravel road, to the El Morado trail head near Banos Morales, about half an hour each way. This is an amazing day hike to the laguna, and then on to the base of the glacier. The views are wonderful in any direction.
We didn't go there, but a trip to the Thermal Baths at Banos Colina was highly recommended by other guests.
- Also Known As:
- Refugio Lo Valdes Chile/San Jose De Maipo, O'Higgins Region