How to get there
Where is Nevados de Chillan? Nevados de Chillan
(aka Termas de Chillan) is located in Valle Las Trancas, 78km east of the city of Chillán. Chillan is 499km (about a 5 hour drive) south of Santiago
The Nevados de Chillan ski resort is near the town of Las Trancas which is about 7km down the hill.
Getting To Chillan
Lan Chile has domestic flights into Chillan that operate from Santiago. However many people just use the Santiago international airport as the major gateway airport to Termas de Chillan.
(in Spanish) provides a very economical and comfortable train ride from Santiago to Chillan with three schedules per day.
(in Spanish) has daily buses from Santiago to the city of Chillan.
Getting to Valle Las Trancas and Nevados de Chillan
The Gran Hotel can arrange return transfers from the airport (in Chillan or Conception) or train station to the resort. These bus shuttles are complimentary for overnight guests at the Gran Hotel, or private transfers can also be organised.
The other option is to catch a public bus. Regional buses leave Chillan from the Terminal de Buses Rurales. Rembus (229 377) go from Chillan to Valle Las Trancas and Nevados de Chillan 6-7 times daily. The trip takes 1.5 hours and it only costs $CLP2,200 (2009 price).
Alternatively, Buses Nilahue
(in Spanish) have a daily bus at 2:50pm from Santiago Terminal Sur to Valle Las Trancas and Nevados de Chillan. The trip takes 7 hours and costs only $10,000 (convert here
Taxis will also happily take you from Chillan to Termas de Chillan, but it could cost as much as $US100.
It's easy to organise car hire from either Santiago (city or airport) or Concepcion (city or airport). Use one of our recommended car rental search engines such as CarRentals.com to get a good deal on a hire car.
get onto Ruta 5 (Autopista Central) going south (sur). This is the main highway south and the trip is reasonably fast with a speed limit of 120km/hour. Travel past the towns of Rancagua, Curico, Talca and finally San Carlos. There are various toll ways on the highway that cost about $1,900 a pop per car. Have cash with you and try not to run over the hordes of people trying to sell their wares at the toll booths.
Take the turn-off to Chillan. On the outskirts of town turn left into Av Ecquador and then right into Av Argentina. Go straight (with a veer to the left) at Av Collin which will get you onto Ruta 55 to Pinto. All these turns are signposted with small greens signs indicating the way to Termas de Chillan/Nevados de Chillan.
The road that travels out through the Valle Las Trancas is wide and nicely paved, and there are various petrol stations on the way. If you haven't already looked at the road report, check whether chains are required for the drive up the hill on arrival in Las Trancas. Chains can be rented from Hector and Patricio (fonos: 81525858 or 74836772) 24 hours a day. They may be operating in Las Trancas opposite the hostel (Hostelling International Las Trancas) or further up the hill depending upon the road conditions. The arriendo cadina (chain hire) may cost about $10,000 per day depending upon how good you are at negotiating in Spanish. The price will include the fitting and removal of chains, and they may ask for your driver's license as a deposit.
The drive from the town of Las Trancas up to the resort is only 7 km. It's a very easy drive although sometimes on cross-over day on Sundays the traffic may be heavy. The road isn't paved but it's wide and not steep, and the road is fringed by trees on either side which gives you a sense of security (unlike some of the roads at resorts at Tres Valles). The casino and Gran Hotel are a couple of kilometres before the top of the road which goes up to the mid-base of Nevados de Chillan. This last part of the road is a bit steeper.
Getting From Las Trancas to the Ski Resort
If staying in Las Trancas, some of the accommodations (e.g. Hotel Pirimahuida) organise shuttles up to the ski hill. The other alternative if you have a car but don't want to drive all the way up is to catch a shuttle that operates from a parking area about 3km up from Las Trancas. For an adult it costs $3,000 one way and $3,500 for a return trip. Hitchhiking also seems to be a common mode of transport.
Getting Around Nevados de Chillan
The accommodations and facilities of the resort are spread across three main areas. The main centre for the Nevados de Chillan ski area is about a quarter of the way up the ski area where there is a day car park. The next major hub is a couple of kilometres down at the Gran Hotel and the casino. From the hotel down to the bottom of the ski area there are various condos that are dotted amongst the ski trails. There is another day car park at the base area.
It's possible to ski and use the lifts to get between these areas, or alternatively there are shuttles that operate between the three areas. It's also an easy walk from the Gran Hotel and casino down to the bottom of the ski area.
Getting Around – Las Trancas
The whole town is quite spread out so it’s difficult to get around without a car. However from each accommodation, restaurants or ski shops are never too far away.