There is only one in Parque Inglés, called Flor de la Canela, which is at the very place where the bus from Molina arrives.
It is simple, cozy place with a la carte meals, soft drinks and some wines (selection seems to be limited), and is expensive by Chilean standards, given the small size of portions and the cost of beverages.
This is (supposedly) explained by the fact that everything, from fuel to supplies, must be brought especially from Curicó or Molina, although monopoly is a suitable explanation too.
Anyway, service is good and friendly, they take credit cards and, if you're raving for a salad, a roasted chicken or French fries, and don't mind paying US$ 3 for a Coke, this is your place to come.
The same owners operate a "fast food attachment" of this restaurant, which sells French fries, sandwiches and other take way food for a fraction of what you'd pay for the same things in the restaurant. It is also a grocery store with reasonably priced items (or, as much, slightly overpriced), and an expensive bed & breakfast.
There is a satellite-linked payphone here; it takes $ 100 and $ 500 coins, and allows to call anywhere in the world.
You cannot miss the restaurant/grocery store: besides being the place where the bus arrives, it is full of inscriptions in different languages (English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Portuguese, Russian, etc.)
Again, it depends on what your plans are.
You can stay in Radal itself, 15 kilometres W of Parque Inglés, and have family and rustic fun, some music I guess and impromptu partying.
Or you can stay at one of the campings in Parque Inglés and set out to have any kind of nightlife you imagine: from a relaxed talk to a crazy drinking binge till you forget who you are (to do this, you do not need to wait for night-time, actually...). Bear in mind that there is no disco or anything of that sort in Parque Inglés: the closest thing to that, is the restaurant and its satellite TV.
Or you can gather next to a campfire in the CONAF camping -or at any other, if noise allows for it- have a drink or a tea, and a talk, listen to some music, or just enjoy being there, under the Milky Way and surrounded by Nature. My choice.
Dress Code: No dress code, but you better bring some warm jacket if going out, as nights are chilly in the Andes
From Santiago, take a PULLMAN DEL SUR bus (hourly, from 5 AM till 9 PM daily) to MOLINA.Ticket price: $ 3000 (US$ 6).Journey length: 3:30 hours. PULLMAN DEL SUR leave from Alameda bus terminal in Santiago (subway station: Universidad de Santiago, connected directly to the ticket offices); as you emerge from the subway escalator, the ticket booths...more
The best way is to take a bus from Molina to Parque Inglés.BUSES HERNÁNDEZ leave from the Rural Bus terminal in Molina, which is 4 blocks NW from Pullman del Sur terminal, and just one and a half west from the main square.In summer, they leave several times a day, from 7 AM till 430 PM, between September and early April, or while snow allows to...more
There's nothing to buy here, but groceries at the two stores.
One, is the previously mentioned Flor de la Canela, and the other is San Sebastian store, next to the former, in front of the bus stop.
Prices are sometimes marginally lower than at Flor de la Canela, and sometimes they sell hotdogs and sandwiches to take away.
At the ranger's office (visitor's centre), there are stickers and posters related to the Chilean National Park network.
What to buy: Not precisely "special": groceries, soft drinks (Coca Cola, etc.), snacks, etc.
What to pay: About 30% to 100% more than anywhere in Chile.
Note that sometimes, ice cold drinks are subject to a surcharge of 50%.
Although the trail, in normal conditions, is clearly marked and assessed as safe, there are a few places where it is quite narrow, passing steep hillsides falling into the river or going to steeper descents further ahead.The first of them is some 45 minutes ahead of the camping place next to the river with a sign that says "El Bolsón 1 hora" ('1...more
Although the park has lots of water all around, the trail that leads to the interior of it has no water in summer, despite the several dry riverbeds one encounters enroute, for at least the first 2 to 3 hours of walk (depending on your pace and load).Only at the second shelter (which is actually a wooden gazebo) there is a nearby stream that, in...more
It would sound as obvious to many who can face the challenge of touring the park in winter, but bear in mind that, even for those highly familiar with the area, deep snow and fast changing conditions can disorientate anybody quite easily, regardless of how much they could know the area.Under no-snow conditions, tracks and paths are clearly visible,...more
Luggage and bags:
Backpack suitable for long hikes, and a small daypack for when you venture into further areas from your camp place. If staying at the B&B, bring a backpack anyway, as loading something else on the bus rooftop, or carrying a suitcase around, is difficult (there's no pavement anywhere in Parque Inglés)
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In SUMMER , bring light garments (shorts, T-shirts, miniskirts, etc.), plus a long sleeved shirt and trousers for the evenings, and a breakwind -ideally waterproof too- jacket. Fleece jacket (nights are chilly, even in summer), swimwear, sandals, trekking boots.
In WINTER: Trekking boots (ideal: Goretex-lined), gaiters, waterproof pants, Goretex parka, down jacket, gloves (2 pairs), fleece jacket, pants and balaclava, warm socks (several pairs), spare shoes. A polypropylene 1st layer is very useful and helps in lowering packed weight.
ALWAYS bring sunglasses (in winter, glacier-type sunglasses are the best).
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The usual: hand soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and anything you might need. The nearest drugstore is in Molina, 2 hours away.
Photo Equipment: Travel light... if you can. If using a 35 mm./digital SLR, bring: the shortest wide angle lens you have (great landscapes everywhere), the most powerful telephoto you can (lots of wildlife around), a cable release, a small tripod (not essential: you can substitute it with a pack or stone), polarizing filter, blower brush, lens cleaning fluid. Spare batteries (mostly in winter).
The last time, I carried a digital SLR, an 80-200 professional line (thus heaaaavy) zoom, a 600-mm. mirror telephoto and a 20 mm. wideangle lens, plus POL filters.
We left the laptop at home.
Osa with a digital SLR and a 600mm. miror telephoto: powerful and light enough to be carried anywhere (see the that in the other pictures for this section)
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: In SUMMER: 3-season tent, warm sleeping bag, sleeping mat, camping stove, cookware, supplies for 1 extra day (just in case), fishing line (for hanging clothes), walking sticks/skipoles.
In WINTER: The same as above, plus a 4-season or expedition-type tent, down sleeping bag, extra fuel for 1/3 more time than expected, VHF radio/SAT phone, supplies for 2 extra days, snowshoes or X-country skis, skipoles, sandals or windsurf slippers (for river crossing), GPS receiver, compass, maps.
Our TNF VE-25 expedition-type tent in Valle del Indio: a suitable tent for this place (see it in the other pictures for this section)
Miscellaneous: A VHF radio to communicate with the rangers, or a pair of them or FRS/GMRS radios (such as Motorola Talkabouts) to communicate between team members is useful.
If nervous, and doing the Guamparo/Sillabur trek, bring a satellite phone, as no cell/radio service is reliable up there.
This is our favourite camping spot in Radal: it is a high valley, crossed by a crystal-clear stream which downstream becomes Claro river, peaceful, with a delicious flat sandy (yet firm enough to set tent's stakes) averywhere, with lots of excellent hidden camping spots, with water always handy, away from all Parque Inglés' noise, and with stunning...more
Slightly W of the Laguna de las Ánimas, there is a lower valley called Valle de Tiburcio, with an extraterrestrial landscape of scattered rocks, a slim and tall waterfall and an amazing view anywhere you look.It's pretty much like being in Mars, if you think of those pictures sent by space probes.The area a is quite flat mesa, marshy in some...more
This is truly an off-the-beaten-path place: a circular lagoon "hanging" in amidst a somewhat martian landscape of vertical cliffs, hidden rivers running through intrincate rocky formations, bright white volcanic "sand" and red ground, and a crystalline, warm water filling the perfect perimeter of the lagoon.Its name (meaning Lagoon of the Souls, or...more
I visited the siete tazas after the earthquake and it is still interesting and a nice hour long walk around the park even if there is no water. As for the river, there is still a river running down the valley it just isn't running into the geological formation known as the "7 cups" (or "tazas" in Spanish) so agriculture that relies on this water...more
The following are the co-ordinates for the entire route, starting on CONAF's Visitor Centre (CONAF), and ending in laguna de las Ánimas (LAS ANIMAS LAGOON).It is color-coded to indicate recommended places for camping (other than Valle del Indio and Laguna de las Ánimas itself, just in case), all of them with water handy.Value signs (º, ', ") were...more