Only 31 miles (50 km) from Chile's capital Santiago you'll find San José de Maipo—standing in the middle of major attractions such as Cajón del Maipo and Embalse el Yeso. The trip to San José de Maipo is one of its kind because it offers not only views of the Andes mountains and hiking, but also bathing in Las Termas (hot springs) and wine tasting in Maipo Valley. This journey is best traveled by car, not only for its comfort but also because your exploration opportunities massively increase. Besides, it only takes about 1.5 hours.
The second best is to arrange a private transfer or book a customized tour for this route. There are also buses available and take between 1-5-2 hours, sometimes being a combination of a subway and a bus. Some people simply catch a taxi in the city and head to San José de Maipo for a few hours.
By Car Rental or Private Transfer
Duration: 1-1.5 hour
Renting a car to travel from Santiago to San José de Maipo is the fastest and best option. Get a suitable car for this journey, a 4×4 is recommended especially if you're planning on visiting a lot of the exploration routes along the way—this is the whole fun of the journey after all. Many of the roads that lead to major attractions, such as Embase el Yeso and the hot springs, are unpaved and in rougher shape.
Begin your drive in Santiago on Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins and head to the Maipo Valley Wine Tours—only 10 minutes away. Spend a few hours winetasting and from here, continue driving on Camino al Volcán, which is the main road. It usually takes 1-1.5 hours but with detours, hiking, and sightseeing it can easily become a whole-day trip.
Private transfers are also great for traveling from Santiago to San José de Maipo and it's the second-best option. Private transfers take equally as long as driving by yourself with the main difference being that you don't have to worry about planning or driving on your own.
By Private Tour
Duration: A few hours to a few days
There are several tours you can book for this trip. You can select one single tour or combine several different ones. For example, in this 5-day tour, you'll be exploring many aspects of Santiago, San José de Maipo, and Maipo Valley.
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Taking a bus from Santiago to San José de Maipo usually takes 1.5-2 hours. You have two main options when choosing the bus. The first one is to combine your journey with a subway which is the shortest route. You can take the subway from Vicente Valdés to Puente Alto which takes approximately 15 minutes and then get on a direct bus to San José de Maipo which lasts about an hour.
To get to the bus station you can either take a taxi or a subway from Irrarázaval metro station. Both buses and subways usually run every 20 minutes or so. The other thing you can do is to get on a bus at the Av. Matta in central Santiago and then transfer to a second bus in Puente Alto. This will take you approximately two hours.