San Alfonso, about six kilometers southeast of El Melocotón and 1,106 meters above sea level, made news in 1997 when local residents successfully forced relocation of a natural gas pipeline from Argentina by establishing a private nature reserve at Cascada de las Ánimas.
A short distance up a tree-lined dirt road before the entrance to Cascada de las Ánimas, look for the scale miniature railway circling the house and gardens of José Sagall (“Pepe Tren”), as well as his assortment of full-scale antique railcars.
About 100 meters farther south, the former Estación San Alfonso is a national monument as part of the military short line that also hauled Santiaguinos to their weekend getaways from the capital.
Hostería Posada Los Ciervos (Camino el Volcán 31411, tel. 02/8611581, US$37 d for bed and breakfast) is an aging, somewhat ramshackle place that still manages to exude personality. Its restaurant has good desserts.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition