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I decided to walk to Valpo along the coast from Viña del Mar, an upscale suburb to the north famed for great beaches.
Having walked the beaches the previous evening, I started near the castle.
There were plenty of runners and cyclists, but not many walkers.
Birds are always a highlight in Chile. Pelicans have always been some of my favourites.
Originally a port and fishing centre, much of the coast has not been improved for pedestrians.
Fishermen use mobile phones now.
There’s a lot of traffic on the coastal road. At one point you are pushed inland by train tracks.
Parts of this 3 hour walk I did enjoy.
Other sections I found annoying. Graffiti EVERYWHERE was starting to bother me.
A real highlight near Valpo is watching sea lions close up on this abandoned concrete structure. It’s amazing they can get up there. It’s entertaining to watch them negotiate who gets the prime real estate. And who gets pushed off back into the sea.
The best part was arriving in Valparaíso and joining a free (for tips) walking tour. The daughter of one of the gentlemen in our group had tons of fun sliding down a cement ramp.
I walked it myself in January 2017. It is true that the government stopped the funding, but I must disagree about the fact that “a large proportion of the trails are closed”. Only about 5 out of 43 stages are closed (that’s less than 15%).
There’s a lot of room for improvement but Huella Andina is still one of the best ways to hike-thru and discover the argentinean side of the northern Patagonia.
The Huella Andina is a series of routes totalling about 600km. They are not all connected.
Some sections are signposted and marked. Some are not.
In 2017 the government of Argentina officially stopped funding the trail project Huella Andina. Some national parks maintain some routes with other funds but a large proportion of the trails are closed and becoming quickly overgrown. Several parts of the Huella Andina were not traversable since the season 2016/2017.
I checked in person with Club Andino Bariloche and the Nahuel Huapi National Park Office about their section of the Huella Andina. It exists. But is far less popular than the other hikes.
They gave me a free map of the Huella Andina showing about 27 hours of hiking over 4 sections. Difficulty of those sections was rated easy to severe. In fact, a parks officer recommended hiring a guide for the 10 hours between Refugio Jacob to Los Cesares.