Hiking Cerro La Campana

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Located about halfway between the capital of Santiago and the port city of Valparaíso, Cerro La Campana is a beautiful 6,170 ft (1,880 m) mountain.

Despite not being all that tall, it was one of the most interesting and unique mountains that I’ve ever climbed for three special reasons.

First and foremost, Charles Darwin climbed it while stopped in Chile on his second voyage.  In fact, towards the top of the mountain, I found a plaque commemorating the visit of ‘Carlos Darwin’:

 

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“We spent the day on the mountains summit, and never has time passed so quickly for me. Chile extends from our feet like an immense panorama bordered by the Andes and the Pacific Ocean” – Charles Darwin

This quote also describes the second special thing about Cerro La Campana.  On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Andes on the other (including Acongagua, the tallest mountain in the Western hemisphere).  While it wasn’t quite clear enough on the day we climbed, it still made being on the summit a fascinating experience.

The third, and more personal, reason this mountain is special to me is because it was the first time I really bonded with my host brother.  I hiked it with him and two of his friends, and we had an awesome day.  I was finally getting comfortable with Chilean Spanish, and I mark this hike as a turning point in the relationship with my best Chilean friend.

It’s a very doable day-hike with a huge payoff at the summit, and I definitely recommend it to anyone in the area.

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