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Chile is a country that is blessed with natural beauty. Encounters with natural wonders is a common occurrence during a tour in Chile. Just 200km south of Santiago, Chile’s capital, is one such natural phenomenon – Siete Tazas, or The Seven Teacups. Picture clear, gushing water flowing between seven natural rock pools in a series of waterfalls, before converging into the Rio (River) Claro. Nestled in the Radal Siete Tazas National Park, it has long been a favourite with Chileans, and it’s time for you to discover it.
- It really will be one of the most stunning things you see during your time in Chile.
- El Salto de La Leona and El Vela de Novia are two huge waterfalls with drops of 20m and 40m respectively.
- For those interested in wild floras, there are a number of rare plant species that can be found within the park.
- It is close to Parque Inglés where you can do some excellent trekking.
- There are campsites available so you can spend more than just a day here – and trust us, you will want to.
- There is a clear direction on how to get there and you will need to take more than one bus if you are leaving from Santiago.
- They charge foreigners double the entry fee to Chileans (although it is still only 4,000 pesos/ USD 6.50).
So far you might think that a visit to the Seven Teacups will exclusively consist of looking at the waterfalls but this is far from the case. There are all kinds of activities that you can do while you are here that will fill up your day and make you want to stay forever.
Seven Teacups really is heaven on earth for avid kayakers. The pools that make up this natural wonder are connected by waterfalls that range from 1-10m in length and are both fun and challenging to navigate by kayak. The rapids are usually considered between grades IV and V, which means that the Seven Teacups is usually reserved for the more experienced kayaker. Tours normally spend a few days kayaking in this region with one of the main highlights being the chance to plunge down the Throat of the Devil – a two-tiered, 180 degrees drop that will get your adrenaline pumping.
If you are travelling to Chile to kayak, check our guide to the Best Kayaking Tours and Rivers in the country.
If you like adventure sports then you are bound to have come across the term canyoning. It is a way of travelling through canyons using a variety of different techniques, such as climbing, abseiling and scrambling. The rugged rock pools that make up the Seven Teacups are ideal for canyoning, so long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet along the way.
3. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
Not for the faint hearted, one of the most daring activities you can do in the Radal Siete Tazas National Park is to paddle board along the babbling rapids of the Seven Teacups. You will be tossed around by the powerful water and have the chance to career down waterfalls. If you ever needed an excuse to attach a go pro to your head, this will give you a very solid one.
Getting thrown around by white-water rapids is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you prefer to keep your feet on terra firma then you’re in luck because there are plenty of opportunities for some gentle hiking around the Seven Teacups. You can walk to beautiful look out points and admire the waterfalls that cascade right in front of you or stay in the forest and keep your eyes peeled for exotic birds.
If one day isn’t enough for you then take a tent with you on your Seven Teacups expedition and stay for the night. There are loads of places to pitch a tent and there is a good chance you will find an area all to yourself. This is an amazing way to fully immerse yourself in nature. The rivers that run through the park have nice clean water that can be turned into drinking water with the help of some purification tablets but you will need to take your own food with you.
Siete Tazas is pretty much a year-round destination.
- Summer (December to March) is probably the best time since you will have more daylight hours and a lot of sunshine. The only downside to this is that the waterfalls can dry up a bit during this time.
- From April and November, you are still likely to have sunshine but the nights will get quite cold.
- If you are planning on kayaking then aim to be there in November or December.
The Radal Siete Tazas National Park is located 200km south of Santiago and 73km southeast of Curicó. It is also just 9km away from the beautiful Parque Inglés, which is well known for its trekking routes.
The most common starting point for those travelling to the Seven Teacups is Santiago. From Santiago you will need to take a bus to Molina, which takes between 2 and 3 hours. Once in Molina, change bus at the same station you arrived at and head to Parque Inglés – this takes another 2.5 hours and can be quite bumpy. If you decide to drive then make your way to Molina on Ruta 5 Sur and then carry on east towards Radal Siete Tazas National Park.
- If you are planning on camping then make sure you take everything you need as there is nowhere to buy things in the park.
- You will need to pay an entrance fee of 4000 pesos (approx. USD 7) for foreign adults and 600 pesos (approx. USD 1) for foreign children.
- Carry Chilean pesos, since most stores in the park are kiosks and paying with debit or credit card is not possible.
- There are many campsites available – free and paid, and most feature toilets, showers, and cooking space.
- You do not need any special permits to enter the park.
There really are few places on earth as breath taking as the Seven Teacups in Chile. Still relatively unknown among foreigners, the park lacks the crowds that most natural havens such as the Torres del Paine National Park or the Atacama Desert usually witnesses, so you are free to be alone with your thoughts and the trees.
Travelling to Chile? Chat with a local travel specialist in Chile who can help organize your trip.
Marie-Lou Goullieux Travel Expert in Chile
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Ezequiel Fernandez Estelrich Travel Expert in Argentina & Chile