I wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited Chile’s capital, Santiago. It’s a city with ice-capped mountains surrounding it, but it also has a desert vibe. Santiago is a big city full of active people who love to hike. If you’re looking for the best view of the city and don’t mind hiking, I’d suggest going to Cerro Manquehue!
This is a great hike that, while short, is pretty steep in certain parts. But the hard work is paid off when you reach the top and get to look at the surrounding area.
In this guide, I’ll review everything you need to know before venturing to find the best viewpoint in Santiago, Chile.
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Where is Cerro Manquehue Located?
This hike is located in the northern part of the city and is around 25 minutes from Plaza de Armas. It’s back behind a neighborhood through winding streets but it’s easy to find.
The trailhead is located off Via Roja, and there will be plenty of parking along the road. You’ll know you’ve made it when there are a lot of people walking on the road towards the starting point.
How to Get to Cerro Manquehue from Santiago
The best way to get here and around the country is to rent a car. This can be expensive, and most people, like myself, don’t take this route.
What we did is we took an Uber. Technically, Uber is illegal in Chile (and many other Latin American countries), but there were plenty of them available.
They might ask you to sit up front, and this helps it to not seem like an Uber. The ride was cheap; it probably cost us $10 on the way there and slightly more on the way back.
Things to Know Before Hiking Cerro Manquehue
Santiago is a large city, and it has a unique environment. This hike is harder than the hiking details might lead you to believe, so it’s best to be prepared.
Things to Bring
We did the hike in November. It was hot and sunny, so you want to make sure you come prepared! Below are a few things I brought with me on this hike and that I typically bring with me everywhere.
If you’re looking for something easier to hike (still with good views) or simply want something that will take less time, there’s another hike right next to this you can do.
Cerro Manquehuito is Cerro Manquehue’s little brother. This hike is close to the same distance but the elevation gain is a lot less, which makes it much easier.
In order to do this hike instead, you’ll want to follow the same trail at the beginning and follow the signs pointing to Cerro Manquehuito.
Hiking Details for Cerro Manquehue
- Distance: This hike is a 2.9-mile out-and-back hike.
- Duration: On average, it will take people 3 hours to go up and back down. This depends on your fitness level and which route you take.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to hard because of the increased elevation gain throughout.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,893 feet or 577 meters.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public
Taking Via Roja Route
The road where the trailhead is located is called “Via Roja.” Right around the bend, you’ll see a large fence and a ton of cars (especially if it’s the weekend) parked on the side of the road.
This is such a popular area to go hiking or to do outdoor fitness that we saw a lot of health workers.
If you’re driving your own car to do this hike then I suggest getting here as early as possible not to have to worry about finding a post to park.
Cerro Manquehue Difficulty
This hike might seem short and easy but it’s not. Normally, 577 meters of elevation gain isn’t a lot, but it’s the fact that this is gained in 1.5 miles.
Along this trail, there is also minimal to zero shade from trees. The sun was out, and even with sunscreen, I still got sunburnt.
When we finished the hike, there was an ambulance at the trailhead treating someone for what looked like a heat stroke. Be careful during this hike, and stay hydrated!
The Best Views in Santiago
I’ll admit, I haven’t been to every top viewpoint or mirador in and around Santiago. What I do know is this view on top of Cerro Manquehue is one of the best in the city.
Once at the top (and throughout the hike), you’ll have spectacular 360 views of Santiago below, the white-capped mountains, and everything else around.
This hike might be short but it sure felt like we hiked a mountain and were rewarded with the ending.
Best Places to Stay in Santiago, Chile
- Eco-Hostal Tambo Verde: This is one of the top-rated Eco-hostals in Santiago and it’s easy to see why! The layout of this place helps you feel a state of zen.
- Verde Madera Hostel B&B: One of the best values for money you’ll find in all of Santiago! This place offers high-class service and cheap prices.
- Casa Ribera Hotel Providencia: Looking for a hotel with hostel prices? Look no further than Casa Ribera!
Is Hiking Cerro Manquehue Worth It?
Absolutely! I think hiking up to Cerro Manquehue was the highlight of my trip to Santiago, Chile. I’m a sucker for a good viewpoint, and this one didn’t disappoint.
There’s no better way to see a city than to go to one of its best hikes surrounding it. If you think this hike might be too difficult, that’s totally fine!
Cerro Manquehuito offers amazing views of Santiago, too, for half the cost! Both of these hikes are popular so arrive early for better photo opportunities!
Final Thoughts on Hiking Cerro Manquehue
If you’re like me and immediately try to find a stellar viewpoint hike in a new city, this is it. There’s no wonder many people are hiking in this area on the weekend. Chile is an amazing country, and everyone seems to have an appreciation for nature. Don’t miss this hike on your trip here to Santiago!