If you’re looking for the requirements to enter Chile in 2022, you’ve just arrived at the right place. In this post, we will report the latest updates regarding sanitary measures and the travel requirements you need to know before your trip to Chile.
The international terminal (T2) at SCL (Santiago Airport) is now located in a separate building than the domestic terminal (T1). 7-min walking distance.
Watch this video for detailed information about arriving at T2 and going to T1:
Here is the information regarding the current border situation in Chile.All this information is valid, starting December 1st 2022.
You don’t need to do any application to enter Chile. Just need valid passport.
Bring prof of vaccination (in paper or photo). This may or may not be required by local authorities.
Please note that the covid-19 vaccines recognized by the ISP (Chilean Institute of Public Health) are the following:
Make sure your vaccine certificate is issued by an official body in your home-country. Vaccine certificate must have a QR code or barcode.
When booking your domestic flight, allow 3 to 4 hours between the arrival of your international flight and the departure time of your domestic flight, just to be sure you’ll be on time.
Once you enter Chile, you have 90 days to travel (normal tourist visa).
Your flight has landed in Chile. As you leave the aircraft, local officials will indicate the line you need to follow for your passport control.
If you are flying into Chile, you may or may not be asked to take a PCR test here at the airport upon arrival (free of charge). As of March 10th, it is being performed randomly. However, if you are not pulled aside to take a PCR, you should proceed to Passport control. If you are selected to take a PCR Test, the results take up to 24 hours (our current guests have experienced getting the lab results within 10-12hours).
You will see QR codes to be scanned published on the walls of the airport hallway. This is the digital affidavit for the Agricultural Service and Customs. You can do it while you wait in line for passport control.
Followed by Passport control, you will go to Customs and SAG (Agricultural Service) control. There is a mandatory Digital Affidavit that all adults must fill-in. This is done online upon arrival (at the airport), you can access the form here: https://djsimple.sag.gob.cl/ Click on INICIAR TRAMITE and follow instructions.
Travelers will be able to make their domestic flight connections the same day they arrive in Chile. NO quarantine is required.
If you are coming from the USA or Europe, most international flights arrive at SCL between 7am and 10am. Make sure your domestic flight departs from SCL at noon (12:00) or later.
Collect all your luggage from the baggage carousels, and proceed to exit the automatic doors. If you are taking a domestic flight, proceed to Terminal T1 following T1 signs. It is a 7-min walk from T2 to T1.
Cycling in southern Chile is definitely a must-do if you are a bicycling enthusiast. More than just transportation, it allows you to access the hidden corners of the Chilean territory without contributing to climate change.
Bicycle riding is becoming more and more popular due to all the benefits it brings to people’s health and wellbeing. It is also a way of contributing to a more sustainable world. Moreover, it is the best eco-friendly way to visit Chile.
Geographically, Chile is one of the most versatile, safe and unique places to bike in the world. Furthermore, the fact that Chile is located in the Southern Hemisphere allows bikers from the northern parts of the world to enjoy a taste of summer in the off-season provides a great reason for a trip to check it out.
Noteworthy, and since 2016, Chile has won the award of “Best World Adventure Tourism Destination” at World Travel Awards. Correspondingly, you can find a great variety of world-class adventures in the famous Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route. Also known as the Interlagos Network, this southern part of Chile crosses areas booming with resources in terms of its landscapes, environmental and cultural value.
In other words, this 2.000-kilometers destination of (mostly) paved road connects six different circuits running through three regions, where you can see 26 large rivers, 22 lakes, 17 active volcanoes and 12 national parks.
As you can guess, this special part of Chile promises lots of fun rides with the breathtaking landscape. In this blog, we give you 3 reasons why cycling is an incredible travel adventure to do in Chile.
1) The Lake and Volcano District is Chile’s bike-friendly destination
From Temuco to Puerto Varas, we take you to bike the most scenic routes of the Lake and Volcano District. Your cycling adventure will be full of amazing landscapes composed of lakes, active volcanoes and the Andes mountain range. Moreover, you will observe some incredible endemic fauna and flora.
Cycling the roads of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is the best way to explore this fascinating part of the country. Consequently, you will pedal alongside the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks. In addition, you will visit local Mapuche villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.
During our bike tours, you’ll get to explore the following highlights:
Kütralkura, Chile’s first UNESCO Geopark in the Malalcahuello National Reserve, always with the Lonquimay Volcano watching you.
The Andes Mountain Range at the Alto Biobio National Reserve.
Pucón the Capital of Adventure Travel and the Villarrica Volcano, the most active of the territory
The 7-Lake Route and the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, an awarded land trust for conservation.
Puerto Varas, the Llanquihue Lake with the largest bike lane, the Osorno Volcano and the Petrohue Waterfalls.
2) Pick your style: MTB, Road or Gravel Bike
Thanks to the abundance of roads surrounded by active volcanoes, pristine lakes and the Andes mountain range, the Lake and Volcano District has a lot of biking trails to offer. You’ll absolutely get fascinated by the diversity of landscapes at the wheels of your bike.
As mentioned above, the special part of Chile is full of surprises. Indeed, this destination offers even a huge variety of biking trails. If you are an adrenaline seeker, an avid challenger, or an amateur cyclist, you will definitely be amazed by our bike travel adventures.
Our Mountain Bike Adventure was especially designed by Ernesto Araneda, one of our top cyclist guides. He is the former national champion of XC MTB in 2004 and three times winner of silver medal at the Pan-American Games of XC MTB.
This travel experience will take you off the beaten path, including the best bike trails of the Lake and Volcano District. You will absolutely love riding among endemic tree forests or descending the Villarrica Volcano in the famous national parks of the area.
If you’re more into paved roads, don’t worry. Our famous road cycling experience will make you ride the most beautiful and scenic roads of Chile. From the Malalcahuello National Reserve, through Pucón to Puerto Varas, this journey will never cease to surprise you.
Finally, our last ride in the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, gives you the opportunity to push your limits. Indeed, you will get to climb the Osorno Volcano and one of the steepest climbs of South America.
The group departure dates for our 8-Day Road Cycling Tour are already available for 2022-2023, check them out!
The last modality we added to our bike fleet, and by far the most versatile way to pedal the hidden off-the-beaten routes of the Lake and Volcano District. As a result, the gravel bike gives more possibilities when connecting sections and areas of both dirt and asphalt.
And this is where we see a great opportunity to explore the dirt roads of the Lake and Volcano District. For us, it is an extraordinary chance to add new routes in all circuits where bike tours are not operated today due to lack of asphalt.
But not everything is about physical activity, adventure and amazing landscapes. So, we also make sure our bikers’ belly gets well treated with our delicious Chilean cuisine. During the bike rides, you will have all the necessary snacks to refill energy. For lunch, you will either get to eat the typical Chilean food in our selected restaurants, or get to have a zero-waste buffet picnic, prepared by our drivers on a perfect scenic spot.
Food in Chile is, likewise, one of the highlights of our bike tours. Great wine, fresh and flavorsome produce, seafood and all kinds of meat will be part of the daily menus. We are prepared to cater vegetarian, pescaterian, gluten free and dairy free food.
On the other hand, and since 2019, we’ve been changing and improving our great picnic tables. Indeed, with the ambitious Zero Waste Challenge, we aim to reduce the generated waste during our travel adventures.
And to make it memorable, you will experience an indigenous encounter with the Mapuche communities. You will have the privilege to share a typical dinner, drink some YerbaMate and learn more about their ancestral culture.
As they are the first inhabitants of this ancestral territory, sharing with them is a great opportunity to really know the human identity of the Chilean territory.
Why choosing Amity Tours for your next bike adventure ?
Amity Tours, as a company, has been specializing since 2003 in active adventures such as hiking, trekking, skiing and cycling. Our headquarters are in the town of Pucón, located in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
Our main motivation to offer adventure experiences in this region is quite obvious. Along with being the best place for outdoor activities, we truly believe it is one the most beautiful regions of Chile. If not the most!
The philosophy of Adventure
First of all, we are proud to call ourselves a boutique adventure tour operator from Chile, where luxury nature tours are our standard.
At Amity Tours, we are all fanatics for new adventures. Our guides are living in a constant adventurous state, showing and sharing the most beautiful places of Chile to our fellow travelers. Our drivers are always on the move, they can’t stand still and love to explore new places on our scouting trips. Likewise, the whole office team spends its free time in a national park, or on a campground together with friends and family.
That is why one of the main cornerstones of our philosophy is ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we define “adventure” as an experience where culture and nature are the main elements.
At Amity, we aim to provide the best travel experiences in Chile. For us, it means that this comes with excellent service, comfortable hotels and great local food, beer and wine.
Secondly, we make sure you find a true friend in our team of experienced and professional guides and drivers. They will show the best of Chile. Along with them, you’ll get to meet local people at every destination. Finally, they’ll make sure you discover the best hidden places that will take your breath away.
As a responsible travel company, we want our travel adventurers to get the best experience possible. This is why we’ll make sure that safety always comes first.
Here are our most important measures taken during our bike trips:
Our professional guides and drivers always have with them a VHF radio. Communication is the main element in our staff.
We use SAG vehicles to carry all the food, water, snacks and all the gear needed for such activity. For those who can no longer ride, our vehicle is here to pick them up.
The helmet while riding is mandatory.
Van stops every 10 km or 20 km depending on group pace. Just to make sure everyone’s ok and enjoying the ride.
In our road cycling tours, for every 9 riders, 1 professional guide is in charge of guiding and support, and in our mountain biking tours, we use 1 guide per 6 riders.
At the beginning of our tours, we make sure a technical briefing is given regarding road rules and trail conditions.
Spring season has already arrived in Chile and we can’t wait for the upcoming bike adventures in Chile’s top destination! Discover the Lake and Volcano District, a fascinating part of the Chilean territory, where adventure meets nature and connects with the local human identity!
The winter in Chile is almost coming to an end. But before it happens, we went tasting the great snow powder during the ultimate ski adventures in southern Chile. During 7 days, we immersed in the beauty of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
Last week, we traveled and enjoyed the winter sports with a very special delegation. Our friendly team, led by Cristián, Guido and Bernardo, received our international friends at Temuco Airport for a fantastic voyage. Outdoor adventures with spectacular landscapes, traditional and vanguardist cuisine, ancestral Mapuche culture and great 4-star hotels were the main ingredients.
In this post, you will discover the best of 4 circuits of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route during winter.
In the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, the Araucania Andina is the northernmost of the 6 circuits constituting this part of southern Chile. Thanks to the presence of the Lonquimay, Llaima volcanoes and all the other active volcanoes around, we can observe how the volcanic activity has been shaping the landscape for ages.
At the same time, the circuit not only stands out for the geothermical activity of the area. Indeed, the Araucania Andina is also home to vast forests of the ancient araucaria tree (also monkey-puzzle). In fact, they are one of the oldest forests on Earth as its origin goes back to 180 millions years ago. On the other hand, the landscape also features imponent mountains of the Andes range, pristine lakes and whitewaters.
Ski Adventures at the Corralco Ski Resort
The Corralco Mountain Resort is located in the south slopes of Lonquimay volcano. This excellent ski resort is known for its excellent snow conditions. Proof of that, both the French and the USA ski racing teams have been training in Corralco since 2015, including Olympic gold medal Ted Ligety.
Likewise, Corralco offers uncrowded ski runs for all levels of ski and snowboard lovers. The view from above is stunning, overlooking fantastic peaks of the Andean Araucanía, such as Sierra Nevada (2.554m) and Llaima volcano, as well as more distant landmarks like Lanín volcano (3.780m) to the south. Not to mention the vast 2,470 acres (1.000 hectares) ski domain to go off-piste through valleys and gullies.
With the favorable weather conditions, our guide Guillo led our adventurers to ascend the Lonquimay volcano. From the new top t-bar lift, this activity consists in a 2-hour hike until reaching the massive crater of the Lonquimay volcano. Upon arrival at the top awarded by striking views, we then began skiing off-piste to the bottom of the slopes.
Snowshoeing El Coloradito trail
For non-skiers, we had another amazing adventure. In effect, we lived a fantastic journey through the most representative natural scenarios of the Araucaria Andina circuit. Ancient forests of Coigues and Araucarias, high steppes, mountain edges, views of volcanoes and remarkable geosites.
After exploring the Lonquimay volcano in the Araucania Andina circuit, our adventure followed with the visit of the Sietelagos circuit. Encompassing 7 different lakes, this circuit possesses special characteristics such as the lush Valdivian forest and the Mocho-Choshuenco stratovolcano.
Highligh of the circuit, the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is a 100.000 hectares privately protected area in the Patagonian Andes. There, we stayed in the luxury Nothofagus Hotel and SPA, immersed in the middle of the temperate rainforest.
Foye Mapu Cultural Center
First thing first, we started our day in the Sietelagos circuit with a cultural encounter. As the Mapuche communities are the first inhabitants in the southern parts of Chile, visiting this Mapuche center is a must-do in order to connect with the Human identity of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
Located at Panguipulli village, the Foye Mapu is a Mapuche cultural center run by Isabel Naguil and her family. As they belong to the Mapuche community, they shared with us their ancestral traditions, lifestyle and gastronomy.
Pirihueico Lake and natural hot springs
We ended our first in the Sietelagos circuit with a boat trip on the Pirihueico lake of glacial origin. During 30 minutes, and with the Mocho-Choshuenco at sight, we navigated the virgin shores of the lake alongside the native forest.
Upon arrival, we enjoyed the hot springs made of wooden jars made with old trunks in the middle of the forest. Finally, we headed to the Nothofagus Hotel and SPA for a well-deserved rest before another day full of outdoor adventures.
During this day, we experienced the fantastic adventure of climbing 2 volcanoes in one day. After an early morning breakfast, we went through the native forest until reaching the snow. There, a cat ski was waiting to take us for an hour-long ride to a plateau, at the skirts of Mocho volcano.
As there aren’t any ski lifts, skinning and hiking are the only ways to reach the top of Mocho (2.422 meters / 7.946 feet) volcano. The views are absolutely amazing, overlooking the Lanín and Villarrica volcanoes. Afterwards, we went up skinning and climbing the Choshuenco volcano (2.415 meters / 7.923 feet) with breathtaking views over the Lanín and Villarrica volcanoes.
On the other hand, for the non-skiers of the group, we experienced a magic randonnée walk crossing one of the slopes of the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano. There we could also admire a stunning view over the active volcanoes around.
The Norpatagonia circuit is the shortest of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route. It comprises a territory formed by two large hydrographic basins: the Puyehue lake in the north, and the Rupanco lake in the south. Additionally, this beautiful Andean landscape highlights the silhouette of the Puyehue and the Puntiagudo volcanoes, not without mentioning the presence of Valdivian Temperate Rainforest.
As the weather conditions were not favorable for the ascent of the Casablanca volcano, we went for a snowshoe walk in the Puyehue National Park, before leaving towards the final circuit of this trip through the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
For this last stage of this travel adventure, we stayed in the fantastic AWA Hotel & SPA. Located at the shores of the Llanquihue lake 20 minutes away from Puerto Varas, this hotel offers excellent accommodation with great SPA services.
After a cosy resting night, our travel adventure followed. So, as a grande finale, we went to explore the unmissable natural attractions of the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Todos Los Santos lake, Petrohue falls with the Osorno volcano in the background were the elements composing the landscape of the park.
Have you ever heard about the Red Interlagos in Southern Chile ? Also known as the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, it crosses through areas of immense landscape, environmental and cultural values. Without a doubt, visiting this part of the Chilean territory is a must-do as you can compare its natural beauty to other wonders like the Atacama Desert and Patagonia.
At the present time, the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route features more than 2.000 kilometers of roads. All together, they connect 6 tourist circuits passing through 3 regions: La Araucanía, Los Lagos and Los Ríos. There, you can witness some of the greatest natural beauties in Chile such as 26 big rivers, 22 lakes, 17 active volcanes and no less than 12 national parks.
Moreover, there exist 7 ski resorts and more than half the thermal areas of Chile. All these elements and so much more await you, come and see what southern Chile has to offer!
Araucanía Andina Circuit
The first circuit of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route starts in Curacautín. There, you can admire two mountain areas characterized by the presence of the Lonquimay volcano and the Llaima volcano. Both of them also corresponds to two huge river basins of the Cautín and the Bíobío rivers. Not to mention the most characteristic icon of the circuit: the Araucaria Araucana tree (commonly the monkey puzzle tree). Indeed, it is a tree considered sacred by the Mapuche-Pehuenche culture.
In the middle of spectacular landscapes dominated by ancient forests, rivers and mountains, you can find some protected areas. First, there is the Malalcahuello National Reserve surrounding the Lonquimay volcano where you can find the Corralco Ski Resort, Chile’s top place to practice winter sports.
Second, you can visit 2 incredible national parks, such as the Tolhuaca but also the Conguillío. Interestingly, the latter is part of Chile’s first geopark, the Kutralkura, which is part of UNESCO Global Geoparks since 2017. Thanks to the large number of sites of geological interest, this special place reveals part of the natural environment where dinosaurs lived.
Under those circumstances, The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) refers to the Conguillio as one of the last refuges in the World to preserve the landscape where dinosaurs lived.As a result, part of the documentary “Walking with Dinosaurs“ was filmed in the park.
Hence the high volcanic activity, the area allows the presence of various hot springs in the circuit. Among which there are the Malleco, manzana and Cañon del Blanco hot springs. By far, our favorite are the Malalcahuello hot springs, located in the Corralco hotel.
If you love mixing active adventures in nature with relaxing rest at hot springs, we suggest you to take a look at our following travel experiences:
Furthermore, the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route is framed by the Villarrica volcano. In reality, Chile’s most active volcano is the great natural monument of the Araucanía Lacustre circuit. Bordered by the Lake of the same name, you can also find the quaint city of Pucón. It is the capital of adventure tourism.
As a matter of fact, this circuit stands as a safety pin in the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route. To put it differently, you can find an impressive list of outdoor adventures to do. For example, you can hike through thousand years old forests, or ascend the Villarrica volcano. As well as rafting on the Trancura river, in addition to relax in natural hot springs. Above all, you can get the chance to connect with the roots of the Mapuche culture. As they are the first inhabitants of the Chilean territory, sharing with them will allow you to learn more about their ancestral traditions and their cosmovision.
Obviously, the Huerquehue and the Villarrica national parks are the unmissable protected areas to tick off your travel bucket list.
Get to know this incredible area in the following travel experiences:
In the Sietelagos circuit, the lush evergreen forests of the Valdivian rainforest will always accompany you. Alongside the only temperate rainforest in South American, you can also appreciate the beauty of 7 surprising lakes such as Calafquén, Panguipulli, Riñihue, Pellaifa, Neltume and Pirehueico.
The circuit has a strong Mapuche cultural identity, and an historical past linked to old wooden ports. Moreover, there exists an ecosystem that has hardly been explored. For instance, The Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is the natural icone of this circuit. There, areas of scientific and conservation interests overlap globally. In fact, it is home of a great natural diversity. Thanks to its particular geography, you can find lakes of glacial origin, eternal snow on the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano and countless water streams.
To visit the best of the Sietelagos circuit, we recommend you to take a look at:
To point out, the Ranco Lake is the third largest in the Chilean territory. With an extension of 442 square kilometers, large cattle farms, exuberant lush Valdivian forest, waterfalls and breathtaking cliffs surround the lake. The fully paved road passes through villages and corners full of history which refer to a valuable railway heritage.
On the other hand, the Futangue Park is one of our favorite places to visit around Ranco Lake. With more than 100 kilometers of trails, this place marks the beginning of North Patagonia. Close to the Puyehue National Park, Futangue is a private nature reserve is located at the feet of the Andes mountain range.
Important to realize, this area has some of the best preserved specimens of the Valdivian forest. Thus, it is one of the most biodiversity centers on the planet.
In the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, NorPatagonia is the shortest and narrowest circuit. But not the least attractive. In fact, the Puyehue national park and the lake of the same name are both not-to-be-missed attractions of the area. Around them, you can visit natural hot springs, exuberant evergreen forests, ski center and active volcanoes.
Like every parts of southern Chile, this area also features a great volcanic activity due to the presence of the volcanic complex Puyehue-Cordón del Caulle. they are two coalesced volcanic edifices that form a major mountain massif in Puyehue national park. Consequently, recent eruptions have left huge beds of lava.
For many, the Llanquihue lake circuit simply represents the golden brooch of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route. Surrounding Chile’s second largest lake, this circuit traverses the shadow of the mighty Osorno, Calbuco, Puntiagudo and Tronador volcanoes. They are some of the most beautiful landscapes in southern Chile.
Without a doubt, Puerto Varas is the base of the Llanquihue circuit. This city, like the other cities around the lake, gives account of an architectural identity strongly marked by the German influence. This legacy was left by the first German settlers in the 19s century. Not without mentioning the city of Frutillar which is part of the Creative Cities Network by UNESCO.
Among the natural attractions of the Llanquihue circuit, we find the Vicente Pérez Rosales national park, the Todos los Santos lake, and Chile’s largest bike path.
Chile is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Within the country, you can find a diverse variety of landscapes including vineyards, volcanoes, deserts, beaches, lakes, glaciers and ancient forests. Adventure, people, nature are just a few of the reasons to travel to Chile in 2022.
In South America, Chile is the gateway to some of the most beautiful landscapes. Whether you want to hike up glaciers, explore mountains or paddle down rivers, the Chilean territory has it all! As well as its natural beauty, it also has a rich cultural history and many interesting things for travelers to do and see.
Indeed, with the Andes on one side and the Pacific on the other, there exists a world-class list of adventures to do. It’s more, in the Lake and Volcano District, Chile’s top destination, you can witness a blend of indigenous culture and European heritages that combine for a welcoming embrace.
Here are five reasons to travel to Southern Chile in 2022!
To point out a few of Chile’s dazzling array of adventure experiences, you can:
Get your adrenaline working on a bike in the beautiful foothills, valleys and scenic routes
Hike the stunning national parks surrounded by ancient forests
Ascend some of the most active volcanoes in the world
Raft on the gorgeous and thrilling rivers and take on the heart-pounding runs of class 4 and 5 rapids
Kayak the pristine lakes
Skiing in the austral winter
And the list goes on and on…
2. Unexplored Travel Destination
Chile is a wonderful country full of contrasts and outstanding extremes. It is the largest and narrowest of South America. 4329 kilometers in length and 177 kilometers wide. Viewed from the map, it looks like a thin line drawn between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain range; the longest and second highest of the planet.
As a result, Chile has been relatively cut off from the rest of the world due to its remote location. Therefore, the number of overseas tourists is not as overwhelming as in many other places, and there are areas in the country where you can find yourself to be the only visitor. People are friendly and there is no imminent danger.
Regarding the sanitary situation due to the global pandemic, Chile has become the first country in South America to inject the 4th dosis, and the second in the word after Israel. Consequently, Chile has positioned as one of the most effective countries worldwide to fight the covid crisis. Thus, ensuring a safe territory to visit.
3. Diverse Culture
Chile has a rich cultural heritage stretching back over 500 years. The Incan civilization was well established in the area when Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia arrived in 1540 with soldiers and indigenous laborers. So, after independence from Spain in 1810, Chile began developing its own unique traditions and customs. Therefore, this reflects its complex history as an amalgamation of European culture with influences from the indigenous communities who have inhabited this territory well before the Europeans.
Under those circonstances, it’s hard to pin down a single cultural identity for Chile. Since the country opened up immigration to the Germans in the 1800s, entire towns in the Lake and Volcano District have been taken over by German settlers. There, you can find traditional homes, churches, and schools that will transport you to Bavaria.
From Santiago de Chile to Puerto Montt (the gateway to Patagonia), we find a wide variety of landscapes with lands covered with forests of araucarias and dotted with lagoons, rivers or lakes. Moreover, here and there, we can admire the active volcanoes of the Lake & Volcano District. Not without mentioning the northern beauties of the Atacama, the world’s driest desert in the world. Or even the Chilean Patagonia, a region of immense untouched beauty, where you will find some of the most jaw-dropping natural wonders in the world.
All in all, they are the perfect spot for nature lovers who enjoy outdoor adventures. Here’s a few suggestions of the best adventure travels you can experience when visiting Chile in 2022.
Hiking the most stunning national Parks of the Lake and Volcano District
In this 8-Day hiking tour, you will explore the most beautiful trails located in the national parks located in the unmissable Lake and Volcano District. Surrounded by mountains, pristine lakes and active volcanoes, you will explore the best hidden corners of Southern Chile, including UNESCO Kütralkura Geopark and Biological Reserve Araucarias.
The group departure dates are already available for the 2022-23 summer season!
Gravel biking the dirt roads of Southern Chile
Discover and pedal the hidden off-the-beaten routes of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District with the new gravel modality. During 8 days, you will explore the most famous national parks of the Lake and Volcano District, witnessing the most volcanic landscape between ancient forests and pristine lakes.
Moreover, you will also connect and share with the Mapuche communities, an authentic cultural encounter with the first inhabitants of this ancestral territory.
2022 group departure dates are already fully booked, save your spot for the 2023-24 summer season!
Explore by bike, by foot and kayak the northern and southern Patagonia
This multisport travel adventure is a true authentique experience, during which you explore the best hidden gems of both the Lake and Volcano District and Patagonia. In other words, this exclusive program covers and connects the wild and diverse landscapes of the Torres del Paine National Park, to the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park. Not without mentioning a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant araucaria trees of the Conguillío National Park.
During 14 days, you will:
Bike between surreal lagoons, horseback ride through the wilderness, kayak pristine rivers and lakes with the best views of Torres del Paine Massif
Ride on the most scenic routes of the Lake and Volcano District, between snow-capped volcanoes
Discover the Patagonian Route of Parks and explore the Pumalín Park, an area run by the Tompkins Conservation.
Group departure dates are available for booking, don’t miss your chance!
5. Traveling with a local tour operator
When you travel, it’s important to support local businesses. One of the best ways to do this is by choosing a tour operator based in Chile. As a matter of fact, we are better able to provide a unique experience than the big foreign companies.
When visiting southern Chile with Amity Tours, our friendly team will allow you to explore this fascinating territory in a much more personal way. Plus, you’ll get to connect with the local communities, see how they make their living and respect their ancestral traditions. Thus, we are better able to provide you with a more authentic experience.
On the other end, we are fully commited to a responsible tourism. In effect, in 2019, we started our journey towards sustainability with our Zero Waste Challenge. This ambitious project aims to reduce the general waste generated during our travel adventures, creating a local circular economy and reinforcing a close connection we have with our local partners who share the same future vision of implementing a sustainable tourism in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
Not only we are working every day to minimize our impact on Planet Earth, we also taking part of an another ambitious project. Thanks to the Wiñolfe Anumka reforestation project, we recently manifested our wish to offset our 2019 carbon footprint in addition to our upcoming round trip to Switzerland to the Adventure Travel World Summit.
Together, with this local community based in Curarrehue, we planted 198 native trees and gave back to earth. It goes without saying that we plan on planting more and more each year that goes by.
Spring and summer seasons are getting closer. So, this means that a great high season will soon take place in Southern Chile! Follow our adventures on Instagram, and start planning your next travel plans in Chile by contacting us and we will provide you with the latest updates!
Chile is the best spot to ski in South America. Located along the Andes mountain range, it’s a country full of contrasts, with changing climate and geography. The presence of such natural wonders has allowed the country to be elected the World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination since 2016 according to the World Travel Awards.
In addition to be the best adventure travel destination in the world, Chile also offers great snow conditions. Indeed, from July to mid-October, you can enjoy winter sports in 18 different ski resorts. The most famous are concentrated near the Capital, Santiago de Chile.
But, if you are an adrenaline-seeker and love breathtaking landscape while skiing, the Lake and Volcano District is the best place to practice your favorite winter sport in Chile.
As of matter of fact, we can say without a doubt that Chile is a country of volcanoes. Indeed, with no less than 2.900 volcanoes which 80 of them are still active, you can slide over more than one of them.
Corralco Ski Resort is located 120 kilometers from the city of Temuco. Nestled in the heart of the Malalcahuello National Reserve, Corralco is the best ski resort in Chile. Additionnally, and over the last few years, it has become a world-class destination preferred by hundreds of beginner and advanced skiers.
Located 1.450 meters above sea level and on the southeast slope of the Lonquimay volcano, the ski resort offers a luxury hotel with comfortable facilities and excellent service. In winter, Corralco counts on a skiable domain of more than 1,000 ha. for alpine skiing and snowboarding, with its 6 lifts you can access 29 runs of different levels of difficulty. The skiable terrain surrounded by a unique forest of ancient araucarias and views of the Lonquimay volcano.
All of these elements have led the experts to categorize Corralco Ski Resort as a unique destination for the practice of ski, snowboard, splitboard and randonnée. As a result, it’s no surprise that Corralco has played host for the US Ski Team and for the Burke Mountain Academy to practice this sport during winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, Los Ríos Region
Located in Panguipulli, in the middle of the Patagonian Andes, the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve mainly focuses on the care and conservation of the native species and the Temperate Rain Forest.
The Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is located 860 kilometers south of Santiago, in Los Rios Region. This reserve has a little explored ecosystem. In fact, it has a great diversity thanks to its particular geography: lakes of glacial origin, eternal snows on the Mocho and Choshuenco volcanoes, and countless water courses. As a result, the main purpose is the conservation of the native species of the Temperate Rain Forest.
The Bosque Encantado Ski Center is within the biological reserve, at more than 1.000 meters high. Accordingly, it has 3 runs of 1,200, 1,300 and 1,400 meters. And for those who are not so familiar with the white sport, there is also the possibility of trekking with snowshoes, tubing, glaciological tour and snowmobile rides, among others.
In all our ski experiences including Huilo-Huilo, we go Cat skiing until we reach the glacier plateau. From there, we skin up to Mocho volcano, a 40-minute hike up to summit this “easy” climb. Then, we ski down back to the plateau and aim North, towards a much more challenging climb: the Choshuenco volcano. You won’t believe your feet and eyes, as you attack the slopes of this side of the montain.
Huilo-Huilo is a great place for outdoor activities. Indeed, it is surely one of the most outstanding spots to practice summer skiing in Southern Chile.
3. Pucón Ski Center, La Araucanía Region
Commonly, when talking about skiing in Chile, the first thing that comes to mind are the ski centers located around Santiago. But if you’re really looking for real ski adventures mixed with mindblowing landscapes, we highly suggest to go south.
Approximately 785 km south from Santiago de Chile, you can find Chile’s capital of adventure travel: Pucón. Located at the foot of Villarrica Volcano (2,847 meters), and the lake of the same name, Pucón is the best place to be for nature lovers. In fact, this quaint little town offers plenty of outdoor activities to do.
Pucón Ski Center is located 16 kilometers from Pucón, on the northern slope of the Villarrica volcano. This is Chile’s most active volcano, blowing smoke all year round. There, you can enjoy about 30 kilometers of skiable terrain. Likewise, given the fact that you’re sliding down a volcano, you get to marvel at an incredible scenic view of La Araucanía Region.
Ski Resort Map
Notably, the Pucón Ski Center is one of the most beautiful in Southern Chile. In fact, it has a certified ski/boardercross run for skiing/snowboarding, with international teams coming in for “summer training”.
Also, Pucon offers 9 lifts, and 20 runs for all types of levels. Hence, it is a great place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, especially if you decide to climb up the crater of the Villarrica volcano.
During our skiing adventures including Pucon, we support our backcountry access with powerful snowmobiles, so you can rest assured that you’re going to get a lot of fun.
The best part of a ski experience in Pucón consists in hiking up to the open crater, and then skiing all the way down to the ski center, with excellent snow conditions. Accordingly, as every adventure activity in the mountain, the ascent of the Villarrica volcano must be carried out by a professional mountain local guide, along with the appropriate mountain gear.
Ski Adventure Experience in Chile
If you are still wondering where to enjoy summer skiing, check out our last ski adventures we had with our international friends!
Our ski experience in Chile is unique. Basically, you can expect some great luxury hotels with SPA to relax after a full day of skiing. But also excellent restaurants to enjoy local cuisine paired with the best local wines and beers.
Furthermore, we use exclusive services such as cat-ski and snowmobiles, in order to explore the best hidden parts of the Lake and Volcano District.
Contact us for more info about the 2022 ski season in Chile and follow our great active adventures in Chile!
The Llanquihue Lake is located in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Ensenada, Las Cascadas and Puerto Octay.
The Llanquihue Lake is located approximately 1,000 km south of Santiago de Chile, in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the lake Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Las Cascadas, Ensenada and Puerto Octay.
Indeed, what makes the Llanquihue lake an interesting cultural destination to visit is the cultural identity that defines the Los Lagos region. In fact, the Huilliche Mapuche indigenous group along with the European settlers compose the social and cultural legacy of the area.
From 1852, the Spanish and German colonists began to arrive in the area of the lake. As a result, they contributed to the territory in various ways.
Until today, the arrival of the German settlers has left a strong influence over the architectural style of the area. Thus, when visiting the Llanquihue lake, sometimes it can feel like a journey to History as we get to appreciate the original large houses, sheds and churches built by the German pioneers. Interestingly, some of them are now restored and turned into boutique hotels.
Lago Llanquihue Circuit
At Amity Tours, we love this destination. Since 2003, we have visited and cycled the iconic Llanquihue lake every spring and summer season with our international friends. It’s more, we truly believe that cycling is the best eco-way to appreciate its deep blue waters, wonderful landscape dominated by the Osorno volcano, hills and natural reserves.
With the new gravel bikes, we said goodbye to summer season by cycling the Llanquihue lake loop ride. In this post, you will follow the gravel bike adventures we lived.
Well-known as the bike-friendly destination in Chile, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bike lane (82 kilometers), gravel cycling the Llanquihue lake is an authentic adventure to live when visiting the Lake and Volcano District. First, we get to appreciate the imponent presence of the Osorno volcano (2.652 meters) whose conical shape seems to emerge from the water of Llanquihue lake.
Second, the intense green of the Austral forests surrounding the lake, especially in the east side where the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park remains.
Gravel Cycling Llanquihue lake
We started our gravel bike adventure from the small town of Frutillar. Located on the northwest shore of the lake, and 45 km from Puerto Varas, it is the other attraction of Llanquihue. Both towns stand out for their well-preserved German-style houses.
In 1856, Frutillar emerged as a shipping dock with the arrival of the German pioneers. They settled around the lake and then dedicated themselves to agricultural and livestock work. For this, they installed different types of farms such as dairies, mills, breweries, along with emporium stores.
In addition to the Historic heritage, Frutillar enjoys the presence of the unmissable Teatro del Lago. There, the famous “Frutillar Music Week” festival takes place every year. Thanks to the strong musical activity, UNESCO designated Frutillar as part of the Creative Cities of Music Network in 2017. This network integrates another 180 cities around the Planet.
Leaving from Frutillar, we cycled towards Los Bajos area on a road that mixes asphalt and gravel. Always bordering the Llanquihue lake, the route passes by various gastronomic ventures from elegant tea houses to farm-style restaurants. They have become one of the great attractions of the area.
After another 17 km, we finally reached Puerto Octay on the northeast end of the Llanquihue lake. Watched over by the volcanoes around, this quaint little town never ceases to surprise us with the German architecture and heritage. That’s why in 2010, the CMN (Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, or National Monument Council), declared Puerto Octay as a Traditional Zone since it is one of the most picturesque and best preserved towns of the Llanquihue basin.
Wandering through Puerto Octay to admire its typical large houses is like a journey to the 1800-1900 century. Indeed, the population increased in these years as a connection point with Osorno and reached a certain economic boom.
Our bike adventure continued on a gravel road towards Playa Maitén where we took a break for some photos on the beach. Playa Maitén received the first 21 German families who settled around Llanquihue lake.
Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, we weren’t able to appreciate the Osorno volcano nearby. Nonetheless, during a bright summer day, we can easily admire this imponent volcanic element.
Finally, the last kilometers led us to our final destination of the day: Las Cascadas village. This part of the Llanquihue lake is a beach resort of fine sands, where the last German immigrants arrived between 1870 and 1880. Interestingly, this area is full of various waterfalls immersed in abundant green nature.
What’s more, Las Cascadas is also the starting/ending point of the largest bike lane in Chile, with no less than 82 kilometers from this sector to Puerto Varas, with another stretch from Ensenada to Petrohue.
There, we were well-received in our favorite lodge located at the shores of the lake.
On the next day, after a good breakfast, our gravel bike adventure continued and we started cycling from Las Cascadas lodge towards Puerto Varas. It goes without saying that this part of the Llanquihue lake is fascinating. Indeed, we get to cycle through the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, one of the highlights of the Lake and Volcano district.
With 253,780 hectares of evergreen forests, this national park is located in an area where volcanism has been the main factor that shaped the Andes mountain range, along with tectonic and glacier processes. Moreover, it is part of the Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Andes.
From the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park the bike lane takes us through the forest, always with the Osorno volcano at sight. And after 65 km of cycling around the Llanquihue lake, we finally arrived at the quaint city of Puerto Varas. Along with Pucón, Puerto Varas is the other capital of tourism in southern Chile. With remarkable views of the Llanquihue lake and the Osorno volcano, this city is also a reflection of European colonization in the late 1700’s thanks to the strong German architecture.
There we stopped for lunch to gain some more strength before the last 33 km of our gravel bike circuit. After leaving Puerto Varas we quickly reached Llanquihue. This urban and industrial center started to develop with the arrival of the first colonists, and afterwards the rail.
Besides, Llanquihue is where the lake drains and the course of the Maullín river starts.
Finally, we reached the last point of our gravel bike adventure, back to Frutillar. We cycled the last 20 km passing through the countryside on a winding road surrounded by small lake beaches flanked by large trees, churches and ancient harbors.
In Frutillar, we visited our friends of Cancagua, a spa where the hot tubs are located in a natural ravine of native forest overlooking the Llanquihue lake.
Cycling the Llanquihue lake circuit is an incredible experience to live when visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!
Discover all our active adventures in this fascinating territory by following us on Instagram.
Home of the Mapuche indigenous people, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District has a wide range of natural and cultural highlights. At Amity Tours, we are always exploring new routes or beautiful sites, and yet we still get surprised about the great diversity. Recently, we went on to discover the Pacific coast of La Araucania region for our newest gravel bike tour.
During our last scouting trips, we focused more on the mountain part of La Araucania Region. Indeed, we travelled to the amazing Conguillio National Park for some gravel adventures alongside Llaima volcano, in addition to biking alongside the Araucaria trees (Monkey Puzzle Trees) towards Mamuil Malal pass, the border with Argentina.
In this instance, we wanted to get to know more in depth the Pacific coast side of La Araucania Region. Thus, we started at the Temuco Airport (ZCO) and drove towards the west, passing through the town of Freire. There, we visited a very charming lady with their famous handicrafts.
After a nice lunch at Teodoro Schmidt, we went on the gravel roads until arriving at the famous Budi Lake.
Facts about Budi Lake
In Mapudungun, “Budi” means “salty” and it is the only salted lake in Chile. The Budi Lake is located near the Pacific coast of La Araucanía , and is part of the county of Puerto Saavedra.
Comprising a total area of 65 square kilometers, the lafkenche (“men of the sea”) communities inhabit around the Budi Lake. As one of the last biodiversity reserves of La Araucanía Region, it is home to almost 200 native flora, in addition to 156 species of endemic fauna.
Throughout history, the steady raising of the ocean and tidal cycles have been sculpting the lake. But in 1960, a huge earthquake permanently shaped the Budi lake since wide areas of low altitude were flooded forever.
During our stay at Llaguepulli at Budi Lake we got to know a few families of the Mapuche Lafkenche community. We had a nice chat around the bonfire at their typical ruka and enjoyed a tasty home made dinner.
The Lafkenche group mainly lives by the Pacific Ocean and around the Budi Lake. Their traditional house is a ruka lafkenche, whose construction is mainly covered by the kuna, a plant of the territory. The main feature of the typical housing is the stove located at the center of the house where the family and invited guests meet.
Regarding the lafkenche gastronomy, we find a strong association with the sea. Indeed, the main typical dishes are based on seafood products, fish and seaweed. In addition, the Lafkenche Mapuche also incorporates wild fruits to give the dishes a unique flavor.
Among the cultivable products in the lafkenche cooking, the potato stands out. Actually, the Lafkenche territory supplies a large part of the potato demand of Chile.
One of my personal goals when travelling to the Budi lake was finding one of the famous pilwa bags. I have been looking for it for a long time, but wanted to buy it directly from a local producer.
On our way around the Budi lake, I found a very friendly Mapuche woman offering me one of her bags. Of course I did not doubt any second and bought one of her self-made treasures.
What makes these bags so unique?
The pilwa is part of the identity and craft tradition of the Mapuche Lafkenche who live around the Budi lake. They are made from the plant known as “chupón” (Greigia sphacelata), a vegetable fibre that grows around the lake. This specific plant is giving rise to basketry products such as bags, baskets and key rings. A 100% biodegradable material which offers a great alternative to the plastic products generating a vast amount of waste.
As part of my own Zero Waste philosophy, I love finding local, climate friendly products and contributing to the local circular economy. Something that is also reflected in our company’s values like the Zero Waste Challenge. Also check out our Sustainable Practices.
After a very unique night spent in one of the traditional Rukas, we woke up with the sound of the singing birds and the mooing cows, in addition to the familiar smell of the bonfire that provided us with heat during the night.
The generous breakfast gave us the energy to continue our adventure in the Pacific coast of La Araucania.
Only 11 kilometres from the small village of Llaguepulli, we reached the beautiful Puacho beach. Several installations give evidence to the ritual ceremonies (Nguillatun and Traditional Horse Racing) taking place at this beach.
Bordering the Pacific Ocean we enjoyed great unpaved roads and spotted a Lile cormorant colony (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) on the northern side of the beach. The lile, or red-legged cormorant is an endangered bird and one of the most beautiful cormorants in Chile. We could observe their spectacular flights and hunting activities while enjoying the nice ocean breeze.
On the northern end of the Budi lake and turning west to the Pacific Ocean we got to the city of Puerto Saavedra.
Puerto Saavedra is the main urban center of the Saavedra county. This place, which in Mapudungun means “The melody of the river when it sounds” is located in front of the river mouth of the Imperial. In addition, here the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Budi lake and Imperial river converge.
The city was founded by the sea in 1887 by Cornelio Saavedra. However, the 1960 tsunami devastated the town, which later had to be rebuilt behind the dunes of the sector.
There, we enjoyed a tasty and fresh seafood lunch looking at the riverside. Afterwards, we continued our journey passing by the city of Carahue and Nuevo Imperial.
On our way to the nice little town of Capitan Pastene, the pine plantations predominated the landscape and gave evidence to the importance of the wood production in this area.
Capitán Pastene: the little Italy of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
The Italian and Chilean traditions blend together in a unique way in Capitán Pastene. Indeed, the original recipes have been transferred from generation to generation as well as its inhabitants’ hospitality.
Capitán Pastene is the village that illustrates and represents the Italian migration, specially those italians from the Emilia-Romagna region. In fact, its tradition has remained unchanged as of now. There, we can visit the pasta factories and buy artisanal sausages and hams. But above all, you can also taste the original recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
The smell of fresh pasta, real prosciutto and Espresso transferred me to one of my beloved little italian towns visited during all the holidays in my childhood. Nothing prepares you to dive into this little Italian oasis.
Capitan Pastene is surrounded by pine plantations, small traditional towns and Mapuche communities, that is why you would never expect an italian town in the middle of that surrounding. We stayed at an Italian-Family owned Hotel L’Emiliano.
L’Emiliano is one of the first tourist businesses of the area. Besides offering accommodation for families and couples, this warm and spacious place also provides a rich and varied gastronomy. Indeed, its unique flavors and food combinations will take you straight to Italy.
As a result, the menu features delicious fresh homemade pastas stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables and seafood. Not without mentioning the desserts delighting the palate with tiramisu or strawberry panna cotta.
Unmissable sites at Capitan Pastene
Walking around the nice little town, we could feel the efforts of the Italian immigrants due to the beautiful buildings and unmissable sites, such as:
The church of San Felipe de Neri, located in front of the main square. Since 1943, the church has been commemorating Saint Philip Neri, who was born in Florence, Italy.
Cinema Pastene. As the oldest movie theater in Chile, this cultural heritage belongs to the Viani Family. And what’s more, the place has maintained its original structure and design since its construction (year 1016).
The Prosciutto de Don Primo Cortesi museum. This typical Italian character reflects in a special way the settler from Emilia Romagna.
The Molino Rosatti. Built in 2016, this mill has ever since been keeping secrets and anecdotes of the new village Capitan Pastene.
I enjoyed visiting this authentic village a lot, but at the same time feeling curious about the other interesting places of La Araucania region to visit.
Leaving little Italy behind, and only driving a few kilometers we immersed ourselves into a total different surrounding: the Kuel valley.
From ancestral times until the 19th century, the Mapuche communities constructed artificial and sacred earth mounds with the shape of a volcano. According to the anthropological study of Tom Dilehay, these mounds were used to bury the important persons and to serve the machis to feed the relationship between the ancestors and the living population. Moreover, the local family members used them as a map or as a reference physical node for families and lineages in the community.
In Purén-Lumaco valley, we can find the highest concentration of earth mounds in Chile. In effect, there still exist more than 300, which are more than 1,500-years-old. Thanks to them, we can learn more about the oldest monuments and rituals of the Mapuche people.
Inside the kueles, there is soil and material which come from other parts of the valley. This means that this work would have required the effort of many people. Some kueles are several meters high, which leads to presume that the ones who built the kueles were dedicated to this activity.
With this new knowledge I really got curious about the local Mapuche traditions, which vary depending on the geographic conditions in which each Mapuche group is settled. Indeed as people of the land (Mapu Che) they adapted their traditions due to the local conditions. That is why we can find differences between the Mapuche Lafkenche, Wenteche, Pewenche and Nagche.
Mapuche Nagche, the human identity of the Nahuelbuta mountain range
In Mapudungun, Nag Mapu means “Land of the plains”.
The territory of the Nagche group skirts the southeast side of the Nahuelbuta mountain range. At first sight, the differences between the other territorial identities are hard to distinguish. One of them is the way to speak the native tongue Mapuzungun. Indeed, there are phonetical differences in how the Wenteche and Lafkenche speak Mapuzungun.
Another different aspect is the clothing. For example, the Nagche women decorate their clothes and plait with bright-coloured wool, or with silver inlaid wrappers. Also, they wear one-coloured aprons with breastplates, just like the blouses. In other territories, the women wear blouses and floral aprons.
Moreover, we can notice distinctions in their ancestral housing. Actually, the traditional Nagche “ruka” has an oval plan, the roof is made with straw bundles and the side walls are made with wood.
Whereas the Lafkenche ruka has a circular plan and both the roof and sides are covered with straw. Finally, the Pewenche ruka has a square plan, and the roof is made with a structure resistant enough to support the weight of the snow.
In their spiritual realm, the Nagche have been integrating the accordion to traditional music instruments in their prayers when praying or performing healing rituals such as Machitún or We Tripantu.
Another difference in the spiritual part of the Nagche culture, the integration of the cinnamon tree as an element of great importance during the spirituals prayer and healing rituals. Unlike the nagche, the wetenche and lafkenche groups in La Araucanía Region commonly use the maqui, colihue and laurel trees.
In addition, it is worth noting as they live by the Nahuelbuta mountain range, the nagche easily have access to the pine nut, the fruit of the ancient monkey puzzle trees that grow in the region. But more importantly, they also have access to countless medicinal plants.
Mapuche Museum at Purén
Another great place to learn about the history of the Mapuche is the very interesting Museo Mapuche de Purén, located in the historical park of Purén overlooking the town. There you can find archaeological pieces, textiles and crafts.
The threats of the forestry plantations
Nowadays it is quite hard to distinguish the kuels or other important mapuche sites in this area. That is why you will always have to be accompanied by a local Mapuche leader, who can explain to you the historical and actual use of the ceremony spots.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of the forestry plantations and the agriculture, the ecosystems of the area have been heavily degraded and fragmented. Thus, the native vegetation has reduced to small sectors such as the Nahuelbuta National Park and the Contulmo Natural Monument.
From an environmental point of view, the forestry plantations are the major contributor to the drought currently present in La Araucania region. Indeed, the planted trees by the industry like pine and eucalyptus are high water consumers. As a result, this has not only caused the social and economic poverty of the area, but the drought has also affected culturally. A clear example of this: the decrease of the plants ancestrally used as natural medicines.
That is why it is so important keeping as much protected area as possible. One very good example is the beautiful Nahuelbuta National Park.
Nahuelbuta National Park
Founded in 1941, the Nahuelbuta national park is located on the highest zone of the Nahuelbuta mountain range, in La Araucanía Region. One of the last strongholds where the araucaria araucana lives, it has beautiful hiking trails and natural lookout points.
The park covers an area of 6,832 hectares, characterized by big forests of araucaria trees, most of them are thousands-year-old. As as specie native to the Andes mountain range, the Nahuelbuta national park is responsible of its protection.
You can hike 2 main walking trails in the Nahuelbuta national park. The first one is Piedra El Águila located 1.460 meters above sea level. There, you can find a lookout point with a spectacular view over the Andes mountain range, the valley, the Pacific coast and ocean. Second, the Cerro Anay (1,450 m.) offers a 5-kilometer hiking trail with stunning panoramic views over Los Nevados de Chillán, and the Villarrica volcano.
Back home I felt so grateful for the amazing opportunity to learn about the Lafkenche and Nagche culture and to enjoy the great trails on the coastal side of the Budi Lake. Not to forget the short excursion to little Italy, which stayed in an interesting contrast to the Mapuche culture and invited me to learn about the colonial history of Chile.
The Mapuche are one of the greatest warrior people in Human History. They are admired and considered as indomitable, by chroniclers and historians.
With great success, they first confronted the Inca Empire and then, the Spanish Empire. As of today, the Mapuche People are still alive more than ever.
Lautaro (“leftraru”), a famed Mapuche warrior (or “weichafe”), considered the William Wallace (Braveheart) of La Araucanía, was one of the great leaders, who managed to innovate and defeat the Spanish army, observing the military strategies of the Spaniards and incorporated it into his people.
Geographically, the “Wallmapu” is the ancestral Mapuche territory, covering a vast area from the Pacific ocean (west side in Chile) to the Atlantic ocean (east side in Argentina), and with the Andes Mountains in the middle.
On the west side, the Mapuche ruled in La Araucanía Region. In general, La Araucania Region recognizes 4 sectors. Indeed, each of them has some cultural differences, due to the natural environment where they have developed: Pewenche (mountain range), Wenteche (upper valley), Nagche (lower valley) and Lafkenche (Sea).
Every Mapuche seeks to live in balance with Nature, as their ancestors did. The Mapuche people understood their role in Nature as part of it, and in no case as “masters” of the Universe, as some Western religions put it. For the life of the Mapuche, the human side, the natural side and the spiritual complement each other harmoniously, leading them to find the Küme Mogen (Good Living).
The Mapuzungün is the ancestral Mapuche language. Interestingly, each word has a meaning associated with the human being, the behavior of nature and its deepest beliefs. It is a reservoir of knowledge (Kimün) and way of thinking (Rakizuam).
Despite many attempts to make the culture of the Mapuche people disappear, it remains more alive than ever. Actually, they are constantly transforming and evolving, without losing sight of their roots and principles that guide their way of seeing the World.
The Mapuche human being
In Mapuzungün, the literal translation “che” means people, and “mapu” means land. Therefore, the meaning of the word “mapuche” is “People of the land”.
However, being “che” for the Mapuche people is something much deeper. In fact, it has to do with complying with certain behavior norms harmonizing the relationship between people, Mother Nature and the Spirits.
The different Mapuche groups per territory
Throughout the various territories that make up the Wallmapu, we find a changing diversity according to the territory.
For example, the Lafkenche cuisine’s best specialties are mainly seafood, whereas the Wentenche and Nagche’s are more based on a great variety of cereals a meats (horse, chicken, lamb, and beef). Finally, the Pewenche’s special dishes are based on “piñones”, the nutty seeds of the araucaria tree or “Pewen“.
In geographical terms, the Pewenche territory encompasses both sides of the Andes mountain range, between the Maule River and the Lonquimay Volcano. Before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores, they were hunters and gatherers of pine nuts (piñon, pewen or pehuén), seed from the araucaria tree that gives the name and essence characteristics of the pewenche culture. Thanks to this, they elaborate gastronomic products such as pine nut flour, jams, muday (ancestral drink), among others.
It is not without saying that the Pewenche consider the araucaria as a sacred tree thanks to its medicinal properties. Thus, we understand that their ancestral culture is closely related to the natural environment in which they live. Likewise, they maintain a deep bond with their territory and understand that the land cannot be separated from culture and identity. Pewenche people consider the Araucaria tree as their Mother, because “she” feeds them with her pine-nuts.
Wenteche and Nagche
The daily life of the Wenteche and Nagche people develops around the nature of the different river-valleys located in La Araucanía Region. This territory is delimited by the pewenche territory (East), and by the lafkenche territory (West).
The typical Wetenche housing is associated with the rukawenteche, whose construction is mainly covered by the collected plants (küna) found in wetlands and swamps of their territory.
Regarding the traditional gastronomy, the wenteche and nagche food has a strong base of meats (mainly chicken, beef, and horse), and cereals, mainly wheat (cachilla), in addition to legumes such as peas, beans, chicharo, and quinoa, among others. Thanks to these raw materials, they make preparations such as moulting, mote, roasted flour, catuto and locro. They mostly complement typical dishes such as casserole, roasts, zimita, and others.
On the other hand, the Wetenche and Nagche are the best at collecting wild fruits such as maqui, boldo, michay, mora, and mosqueta. Moreover, during the rainy seasons, they collect native mushrooms such as the digüeñe and changle. These strains are later incorporated in the traditional dishes to generate flavors of greater nutritional value.
Generally, in comparison to other Mapuche territories, it should be noted that the Wenteche and Nagche are more characterized by the apiculture and the intensive cereal production. In addition, thanks to the raw materials from the territory, they produce handicrafts associated with the ancestral way of dressing, but also everyday items. As examples of the Wenteche handicrafts, we can find blankets woven with wool and natural dyeing, ancestral Mapuche ceramics as well as silverware like trapelacucha, chaway and trarilonco.
The Lafkenche mainly live by the Pacific Ocean and around the Budi Lake (the only salt-water lake in South America). Their traditional house is a ruka lafkenche, whose construction is mainly covered by the kuna, a plant that can be found in wetlands. The main feature of the typical housing is the wood-fire stove or “kütralwe”, located at the center of the house where the family and invited guests meet and greet.
Regarding the Lafkenche gastronomy, we find a strong association with the sea. Indeed, the main typical dishes are based on seafood ingredients, fish and seaweed. In addition, the Lafkenche also incorporate wild fruits and berries to give the dishes a unique flavor.
Among the cultivable products in the lafkenche cuisine, the potato stands out. Actually, the Lafkenche territory supplies a large part of the potato demand of Chile.
The Huilliche inhabit Los Ríos and Los Lagos Regions. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, they populated the lands located from the Toltén river to Chiloé Island. Actually, the word “Huilliche” means “People of the South”.
The Chezungun is their native language, which has roots of the Mapudungun language. Both languages differ in vocabulary and phonetic intonation patterns. However, the grammatical structure is the same.
For clothing, they used garments woven with wool of llamas and guanaco, which were then dyed with vegetable fibers in order to add color. They used to live in wooden buildings with woven straw roofs, which had a single room. There was also a space to prepare the campfire, cook and heat.
Economically speaking, their system was based on horticulture, livestock and fishing. They grew corn, potatoes and quinoa, in addition to raising llamas and guanacos. They built their own tools such as wooden weapons and also vessels to carry vegetables and fish.
Within the society, composed by tribes, they organized themselves according to a patrilineal system. Indeed, they excelled at being peaceful. However, due to the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, they started to develop warrior skills in order to defend their land.
The Mapuche spirituality
The oldest Mapuche pray every day at the beginning of the day, to give thanks to Nature and divinity for the fruits received. Also, they perform collective ceremonies, such as the Nguillatún, during which they give thanks for the harvests and prosperity of the year. Moreover, in certain times of climatic difficulties, they request for the end of droughts in the Wallmapu.
An important aspect of the Mapuche spirituality is to combine the observation of the physical environment with metaphysical aspects. An example of this is the use of dreams in order to guide their conduct or influence decisions.
The roles in the Mapuche society
The Mapuche social structure is based on “lof”, which isa basic social unit composed of patrilineal and consanguineous groups. They are principally based on kinship, as one of the essential characteristics between each lof.
A main authority figure in the Mapuche society is the lonko. Indeed, as the traditional authority figure, the lonko role is essentially the Head of each lof. In order to fulfill his role, he mustcompletely master leadership skills, but also the dominion of the word and the capacity to deal and manage conflicts. More importantly, these skills must come as natural talents in order to be able to lead the Mapuche society and inspire respect to his spiritual peers.
To resume, the lonko stands out as ritual authority, as well as the machi role. Alongside him, the machi is the other major actor in the Mapuche society. As a natural medicinal healer, he or she is the one with closer ties to Divinity than the rest of the Mapuche members. Hence, the machi conducts most religious ceremonies such as Nguillatún, as well as curing physical diseases with medicinal plants.
Spiritually, the machi understands and practices her/his healing rituals from the perspective of the Mapuche cosmovision. Indeed, she/he is able to perform healing ceremonies (Machitún or Nguillatún) during which she/he falls into a trance. Thus, the machi can detect what evil is afflicting the patient. Finally then, she/he can prescribe her/his healing recommendations with purifying spells through chants.
The worldwide-known influential Mapuche people
It is not without saying that the living culture is also observed in the daily life of the Mapuche. In fact, they have been able to integrate within the cities, working like any person, although in permanent contact with their communities of origin. Visiting relatives, participating in ceremonial activities such as the Nguillatún, recreational activities such as the Palin game (field hockey-like), designing handicrafts, speaking their mother tongue Mapuzugün and teaching their culture to their children, friends and everyone they value, respect and want to make the Mapuche culture known to the World.
Elisa Loncón Antileo, the spokeswoman of the Mapuche native people
Elisa was born on January 23rd, 1963 in La Araucanía Region of Chile, where she lived her childhood in the Lefweluan community. As of today, she is a mother, professor and defender of the linguistic and cultural rights of the native people. Her native tongue is the Mapudungun, moreover she speaks spanish and english languages.
She graduated with an English degree from La Frontera University in La Araucanía Region. Later, she carried out postgraduate study in the International Institute of Social Studies of Hague (Netherlands) and the University of Regine (Canada). In addition, she holds a PhD in Humanities from the University of Leiden (NL), not without mentioning a PhD in literature from Universidad Católica (Chile).
In 2021, Mrs. Loncón was elected as one of the representatives of the Mapuche people for the Chilean Constitutional Convention. Following the inauguration of the body, Loncón was elected President of the Constitutional Convention to represent the collective and plurinational voice of the Chilean people.
Flor Calfunao Paillalef, the Ambassador of the Mapuche People
Flor Rayen Calfunao-Paillalef was born on August 28th 1961 in La Araucanía Region. She belongs to the Juan Paillalef community (Temuco city). Since 1996, she has lived in Switzerland. She is the ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Mapuche to the United Nations.
In 2008, the city of Geneva recently gave her the “Exiled Woman, Committed Woman” award for her continuous work on denouncing the human rights violations that the Chilean Government daily commits with the Mapuche community.
However, on July 11th of 2018 after a 10-year long process, Switzerland definitively denied her asylum request, and also ordered her deportation to Chile.
In light of this decision, Flor Paillalef then decided to fill a complaint to the UN Committee of Torture, aleging a violation of her Rights under the Article 3° of the Swiss Convention. As a result, the Committee urged the Swiss to reconsider Flor’s asylum application.
In conclusion, the Mapuche people want to be the main actor in the processes of the social transformation currently taking place both in Chile and around the Globe. Therefore, we invite you to understand and learn more about this ancestral way of life and spirituality through the visit of the beautiful landscapes present in the Mapuche territory, our Lake & Volcano District.
Hopefully, when you return home, you will have lived a true ancestral experience giving you a more meaningful perspective of life.
Every year, the Mapuche people have an ancestral tradition. Indeed, between June 21 – 24, they celebrate the beginning of the new year.
Since inmemorial times, the day and night-sky stargazing has been one of the fundamental human activities. As a result, it has been possible to establish schedules, seasons of the year, weather forecasts, effective organization of sowings and harvests, as well as creating a complete system of spiritual beliefs.
Astro-bodies (like the Sun, the Moon, the shooting stars, the Milky Way, etc), are the stars understood from diverse cultural perspectives. Actually, they have a direct influence on the configuration of society.
Right from the start, the Mapuche People developed an extensive knowledge of astronomy and astrology. This has enabled them to have a complete notion of the changes in the position of the sun and other stars. And, in consequence, the variations produced in nature and human beings.
Thus, that understanding led them to grasp accurately the language of the earth, its evolutionary stages, and the beginning and end of each year.
In the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the longest day of the year in terms of daylight, the June solstice is also called the summer solstice. On the other hand, June 21 is the shortest day and the longest night of the year for those who live in the Southern Hemisphere.
Accordingly, it is also the beginning of winter season. The corresponding solstice points the largest distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Solstices happen twice a year, in June and December. The June solstice happens around June 21, when the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. The December solstice takes place around December 21. On this day, the Sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn.
For the Mapuche, this coincides with the end of the harvest season, but also the beginning of the sewing period. According to their cyclic vision of the cosmos, the sun is the precursor of life. Consequently, their beliefs establish that the sun is born when the winter starts, is young during the spring, a grown-up in the summer and old in the fall, when the trees shed their leaves and the animals change their fur.
We Tripantu, the Mapuche New Year
The We Tripantu, or We Xipantu, is determined by the lunar cycle, which controls nature, the weather, rainfalls, the animal and plant life. Moreover, it also has much to do with the Mapuche daily life, their religion, philosophy, and their worldview.
In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native languague, “We Tripantu” means”new year” or “sunrise”. Actually, it is an important celebration coinciding with the Inca ceremony of the Inti Raimy. They perform a Nguillatún, during which they are thank, pray and honour to the sun, source of wisdom and renewal.
We can define the We Tripantu as the end of the old year, and the beginning of the first cycle of a new year or new life, characterized by the return of the sun. A new cycle of production begins, the beginning of the most intense rains that prepare nature to welcome and encourage the wonderful growth of new life.
The We Tripantu Ceremony
On the evening of June 23, the rites begin with the families gathering around a stove while they eat typical dishes and the elders of the community tell stories. In the early morning of June 24, all the Mapuche members of the gathering leave the heat of the fire to make contact with the cold waters of rivers, streams and springs near by. There, they purify their body and spirit before the new sun rises to coincide with the new year.
Traditionally, the We Tripantu ceremony is accompanied by prayers. Then, each family returns home playing their traditional instruments and singing allusive songs. Some communities include popular games, baptisms and rituals in order to affirm their beliefs, as part of the festivities, and also to strengthen ties among all.
Thank to this cultural expression, we come to understand the profound relation that the Mapuche people maintain with Mother Earth. Actually, they deepen the consciousness of the Human Spirit engaging in a dialogue from their heart to guide the bond with Ñuke Mapu.
Geographically, the Chilean territory is located in one of the greatest areas of volcanic & seismic activities in the whole world.
The Pacific Ring of Fire, close to the Andes mountain range, carved by water, ice and volcanoes. With more than 2.000 volcanoes and 90 potentially active, Chile has one of the largest volcanic chains in the world. Indeed, great historical eruptions, such as the eruption of the Calbuco Volcano in 2015, have had regional and global consequences.
In this article, you will learn more about the most active volcanoes located in the beautiful Lake & Volcano District.
The Lake and Volcano District
From Santiago de Chile to Puerto Montt (the gateway to Patagonia), we find a wide variety of landscapes with lands covered with forests of araucarias and dotted with lagoons, rivers or lakes. Moreover, here and there, we can admire the active volcanoes of Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. They are the perfect spot for nature lovers to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling & skiing.
Kütralkura Geopark – Lonquimay Volcano
The Lonquimay volcano is located 130 kilometers north-east of Temuco city, in the Araucanía Region. It is part of Chile’s first Geopark. The UNESCO highlighted Kütralkura Global Geopark as one of the most active volcanisms in the world. Indeed, it is geologically located in the heart of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Surrounded by the magical landscape of Southern Chile, the Lonquimay volcano becomes more attractive as it enters the Andes Mountain Range. In the horizon, we can admire the other volcanoes around, like Tolhuaca, Callaqui, and Copahue (northbound) and Llaima, Sierra Nevada, Villarrica and Lanín (southbound).
During autumn season, the native tree leaves show their golden colors and the snows slowly covers the volcano, which makes the area remarkably beautiful.
In winter, the area is fully covered by snow, in addition to the endemic araucaria tree forests that also get covered by a white coat. This makes it possible to enjoy winter sports at Corralco Ski Resort, located on the slopes of Lonquimay volcano.
During spring and summer, the thaw radically changes the appearance and color of the volcano. Due to the solidified lava constitution, it takes a reddish color, leaving only the eternal ice on top.
Moreover, the massive summit of Lonquimay does not only allow us to the natural beauties around, such as the lagoons, rivers, volcanoes, etc. It also gives us the chance to see a tremendous crater, of more than 800-meters long (one of the largest of Chile’s southern volcanoes), completely covered by a glacier.
Regarding its volcanic activity, the Lonquimay became particularly well known for the events that happened during Christmas in 1988. During an eruption that lasted approximately one year, it sculpted a small crater near the north slope. As a result, the “Christmas Crater” was born. Located in the lower part of the Lonquimay, it is possible to visit it with a guide, as it is still active.
Conguillío National Park – Llaima Volcano
From Temuco city, the Llaima volcano already makes itself noticeable with its two visible peaks. Located 80 kilometers from this city, it is part of the eastern landscape. Also, the Llaima occupies a large part of the Conguillío National Park where it stands out as the highest summit.
The presence of “Los Paraguas”, a small ski resort located on its western flank makes it the perfect place to visit during winter. Thank to this, it helps in being the most visited volcano in southern Chile. Surrounded by araucarias forests and by beautiful mountain lakes, the Llaima and surroundings give us the opportunity to enjoy wonderful landscapes.
Historically, it is one of the most active volcanoes in South America, and one of the largest in the southern Andes. The western, south-western and eastern flanks possess more than 29 km2 of glaciers. Shape-wise, it is an almost-perfect cone, although it consists of two peaks and about 40 cones of adventitious slag. The northern summit exhibits a crater of 350-meters wide, and more than 300 meters in depth. Between 1994 and 2009, the open crater presented an active fumarole with gas emission and water vapor, but nowdays the main crater is blocked by layers of ice and lava (from 2008 and 2009 eruption). Lastly, the southern summit has remains of a small cone made of slag nested in a blocked crater of about 200 meters.
Regarding the volcanic activity of the Llaima, the historical record includes 48 eruption between 1640 and 2009. During these events, lava flows, lahar formation, pyroclastic projection and occasionally the generation of pyroclastic flows occurred. Finally, the last eruptive cycle began in May 2007, with a weak ash emission. A moderate strombolian eruption followed with lahar generation in January 2008, culminating in April 2009 with a vigorous strombolian eruption.
Villarrica National Park – Villarrica Volcano
The Villarrica or Ruka Pillan is an active volcano with the largest historical record of eruptions in Chile, and even South America. Geographically, it is located at the south of the Villarrica Lake, and at the north of the Calafquén Lake. It is a stratovolcano located on a volcanic chain aligning it with the Quetrupillán and Lanín volcanoes.
At the top, we find an open crater of 200 meters of diameter. Generally with continuous fumarole and a quasi-permanent lava lake, whose surface has variable height depending on the moon. Moreover, an important glacier covers the Villarrica, and extends for 30 km2.
The volcanic activity of Villarrica began about 650,000 years ago. Throughout the years, it has developed explosive and effusive eruptions, with the emission of magmatic material essentially. As product of the explosive post-glacial activity, voluminous pyroclastic flows and formation of boilers were generated mainly 13,900 and 3,900 years ago. Lastly, since 1558, there have been about 49 eruptions, mainly of an effusive nature.
The impressive last eruption happened in 2015
The last explosive eruption was recorded on March 3, 2015. It generated a lava source almost 2 km high above the crater. In addition, an almost 12-kilometer tall column of tefra remained held for almost 19 minutes. It was pretty scary !!
Besides being the most active volcano, the Villarrica is undoubtedly the main natural attraction in Southern Chile. Indeed, the ski center located at the base of the volcano (1,400 meters) is the perfect spot for summer skiing and snowboarding.
As a matter of fact, Pucón Ski Center is one of the most beautiful in Southern Chile. In fact, it has a certified ski/ boardercross run for skiing and snowboarding, with international teams coming in for “summer trainning”. The ski resort offers 9 lifts, and 20 runs for all types of levels. Also, it is a great place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, specially if you decide to climb up the crater of Villarrica volcano.
In spring and summer, the base of the Villarrica volcano is perfect for climbing and hiking activities. Through the endemic araucaria and nothofagus tree forests, the hiking trails in the area are infinite. However, the most impressive hike to do is certainly the one that takes us to the open-crater. From there, the view is breath-taking and allows us to see the different volcanoes, lakes, lagoons around, and the unmissable Andes as landscape.
Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park – Osorno Volcano
The Osorno volcano is located approximately 50 km from the quaint city of Puerto Varas, between the Llanquihue and Todos Los Santos Lakes. It belongs to the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
It is in this area where volcanism has been, along with tectonic processes and glaciers, the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range. In fact, the Osorno is a stratovolcano that belongs to the Southern Volcanic Zone of the Andes. It forms a transverse volcanic chain along with La Picada, Puntiagudo and Cordón Cenizos volcanoes. Like the Llaima and Lonquimay volcanoes, the summit of the Osorno is covered by a glacier.
The volcanic activity of the Osorno began some 200,000 years ago, building itself as a stratovolcano immersed in the ice field dominating the landscape during the so-called Santa María glacial period. The post-glacial eruptive activity is characterized both by the occurrence of eruptions from the central crater, and by the activity of parasitic centers located on the flanks.
Historically, the eruptive activity of the Osorno volcano has been characterized essentially by episodes of low explosivity. As of now, the faint fumarole since the beginning of the 20th century under the ice of the summit seems to have attenuated.
Last, but not least, the Osorno volcano is the highlight of our top bike tours in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. Indeed, besides getting to cycle your way towards the Petrohue falls, you have the chance to challenge yourself and climb the road to Osorno volcano as it is South America’s steepest climb.
In Amity, we are blessed to operate our top travel experiences in the beautiful Lake and Volcano District. Together with our friendly team of expert guides, you can explore the best volcanic attractions of southern Chile. Either by hiking,skiing or cycling, the visit of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire is a must-do when traveling to Chile.
Last week, we celebrated the re-opening of Conguillio National Park by exploring new gravel bike routes. With the Llaima volcano always at sight, we explored the park across colorful ancient monkey-puzzle tree forests.
Since 2003, Amity Tours has been the leading adventure travel operator of the Lake and Volcano District, Chile’s world-class destination. Among our main domains of expertise, cycling the incredibles routes of southern Chile is our main specialty, and the year 2021 marked a milestone in the history of Amity Tours.
Indeed, we decided to renew our bike tours with the new gravel modality. As we all know, the gravel bikes are buzzing in the world of cycling, and we certainly could not stay apart. Since the arrival of our new gravel bike fleet, we have been working on the best cycling way to explore the off-the-beaten routes of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
What is a Gravel Bike?
A gravel bike is a drop-bar bike designed to let you ride over many different surfaces. The drop handlebar and road bike-like design mean that you can make good progress on the road, but with wider tyres, lower gearing and stable handling you can also head off-the-beaten tracks.
A gravel bike will typically give you a more upright riding position than road bike geometry, with a longer head tube and shorter reach. That should result in more comfort on long rides and also lets you shift your weight around to tackle obstacles and off-road descents.
Scouting new routes in the Lake and Volcano District
Finally, we could change the office seat for a bike saddle and explore the routes we previously designed at our desks with a bike route planner software. Armed with a bunch of zero-waste snacks, bicycle tools and good mood we hit the road towards Conguillio National Park.
Travelling in times of COVID-19 is a big privilege. Thus, after 1 month of lockdown, we felt so grateful to be able to visit again one of the most beautiful parks of Chile. Starting from our operation center based in Pucón, Chile’s capital of adventure travel, we initiated the road trip on our pickup.
During the first 70 kilometers, we tracked routes on GPS, searching the most beautiful roads and trails, in addition to enjoying the spectacular views over the Villarrica lake and volcano. Moreover, we took advantage of the moment to stop by our beloved and exclusive Santa Amalia Polo Lodge.
Gravel Biking in Conguillio National Park
Conguillio National Park is located in La Araucania Region, approximately 110 kilometers from Temuco city. Without a doubt, Conguillio is one of the highlights of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, and part of the Kütralkura Geopark by UNESCO. Indeed, with 60,831 hectares and altitudes ranging between 700 and 3,125 meters above sea level.
More importantly, the unparalleled beauty of Conguillio National Park is mostly expressed in the native thousand-year-old Araucaria tree forests and also the remarkable lava flows like long black scars drawn in the landscape. Truth to be said, the landscapes are impressive: the active Llaima volcano (3,125 meters), the extinguished Sierra Nevada volcano and the pristine Verde, Captrén and Arcoiris lagoons.
Upon arrival at the park, we could immediately observe the presence of the Llaima volcano on our left-hand side. This volcano is the highlight of Conguillio National Park. Historically, the Llaima volcano is one of the most active in South America, and one of the most voluminous in the southern Andes.
Afterwards, we kept pedaling until arriving to the famous Truful Truful Canyon. There, we could observe the fantastic 20-meter waterfall, along with the geological and eruptive history of Conguillio National Park. In other words, standing in this special part of the park is like a trip to the past. Indeed, it reveals how the Llaima volcano and the effects of the ancient glaciers deposited in the valleys haven been shaping the landscape for the last thirteen thousand years.
These surprising changes are projected in layers of land that were eroded and cut vertically by the effect of the Truful-Truful River.
Following our adventures, we kept gravel cycling towards the andean volcanic lagoons. We first arrived at Laguna Verde (green lagoon) that connects with the Truful Truful river and through which it drains. At this time of the year, the water level is at its lowest point and the lagoon seems to be very small. During the rain season, and especially in spring, we can appreciate the full size and greenish color of the lagoon.
Right after, we entered the extensive colorful temperate-rain-forests of ancient and native Nothofagus trees. On the way, we stopped by the Arcoiris Lagoon. Formed by the damming of the waters of a estuary, the lagoon is product of lava flows from the Llaima volcano, the great sculptor of the landscape of Conguillio.
Following the smooth gravel road, we finally reached the impressive Araucaria trees. These monkey-puzzle trees with the Sierra Nevada Volcano in the background let you feel like reaching another world. We even spotted two Condors overflying the forest. What a majestic animal, flying through the wind with its enormous wings.
Finally, we reached our last point of interest: the Captrén Lagoon. The Lagoon doesn’t cease to surprise us with the dozens of trees submerged in the water, which can be easily seen.
The water is a mix of green, deep blue and transparent color, making this lagoon a unique place. There, we can also admire the contrast between the volcanic remains surrounding the Captrén, and the lush forests of intense green color.
Visiting the Conguillio National Park in autumn is just a blast. The golden-colored native forests and stunning sunsets invite to fill your camera with unforgettable pictures, and fill your heart with strong energy from Mother Nature.
Amity’s best choice of accommodation: La Baita Conguillio
La Baita Conguillio is Chile’s first ecolodge. Pioneer in the area, with a recognized prestige for the quality and warmth of the services delivered. La Baita Lodge is equipped with 6 comfortable rooms designed with native wood and looms, added to large windows that overlook a ravine from where the wonderful araucarias hang.
The restaurant offers a healthy and organic menu with products from local suppliers, while its SPA offers great relaxation with a massage room and several hot-tubs amomg the native forest.
And not to forget the famous hot-tub under the open sky! Can you imagine a better way to relax your muscles after a challenging biking day? We felt so lucky! Arriving at the lodge and immersing ourselves into the warm water, watching the starry sky and chatting about the beautiful day we just spent together!
Contact us for more info about our active trips in the Conguillio National Park, and check out Instagram and Facebook to follow our adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
It all started with a big dream: Amity Tours wants to become a Zero Waste Company. As simple as that. What might sound easy, is in fact the beginning of a long journey. A fascinating one without any doubt. Let’s dive into the beginning of this long sustainable trip.
As a company offering responsible tourism in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, Atacama Desert and Patagonia of Chile since 2003, we decided to take a new challenge towards becoming a Zero Waste Company. As a result, we are implementing several new measures:
While we were investigating about how to become a Zero Waste Company, a whole new world opened up. We learned about sustainable practices for tour operators and found great local alternatives for our previous waste problems.
During these searches we stumble over the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency website. A global community who has declared a climate emergency and came together to plan a better future for tourism. We immediately declared as Amity Tours and committed to act in order to cut global emissions in half over the next decade. We just finished our first Climate Action Plan.
Being part of the Tourism Declares Community means sharing ideas, challenges and solutions, so that together we can create a new, regenerative tourism industry built on the principles of climate justice.
During our journey we read a lot about carbon footprint, how to offset it or even how to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon offset, carbon removal, carbon capture, carbon neutral, climate positive… A complete new area for all of us, and we got a little confused with all these different terms. In a few words we would like to explain each concept in order to give you an idea about our decisions.
Offsetting your carbon footprint
Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way for companies or individuals to manage the carbon emissions that are not able to completely eliminate. The emissions are getting calculated and an equal amount will be invested in projects that reduce or remove emissions.
Need an example: It is like, eating a chocolate bar with 500 calories. Afterwards you bike to the Caburgua Lake and burn the 500 calories. That is how the actual impact (in terms of calories) of eating the chocolate bar would be zero.
Now let’s apply this concept into carbon offsetting: The chocolate bar in this case would be the carbon footprint and burning the calories is offsetting it into projects where carbon is getting removed from the atmosphere (by buying carbon credits from projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy).
Carbon removal or Carbon capture
Carbon removal means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades or centuries in plants, soils, oceans, rocks, saline aquifers, depleted oil wells, or long- lived products like cement. source: Tommorows Air
Getting Carbon neutral
Carbon neutral means taking action to reduce and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as an organisation puts into it. Being carbon neutral means that an organization has a carbon footprint equal to zero.
Getting Climate positive
Getting climate positive is going one step further then reaching the carbon neutrality. That can be reached by creating greater environmental benefits, than the actual carbon footprint. You can remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for example.
At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions. Since the beginning of our trajectory we have been focusing on responsible and sustainable tourism practices. A fact that also gets reflected in our Conservations Tours.
Amity Tours and Conservation Tourism
We love supporting projects, that are providing benefits to the local communities and environment. Here a few examples we have worked on during our 18 years:
An amazing example of how geo-sciences connect with local culture for the conservation of the geological and cultural heritage of this landscape in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District.
Mapuche Tourism – Valle del Kuel
The objective of the project was to put in touristic value the heritage resource “kuel” of the valleys of Lumaco and Purén. A heritage considered by national and international archaeologists as one of the most important and unknown of the original Mapuche people.
Asi Conserva Chile and WWF
The project sought to value, through the design of tourism conservation products, private and community conservation initiatives that make up the trade association “Así Conserva Chile“.
A 100% tour operator pilot focused on conservation tourism was implemented. Where we assured in it all the skills and abilities necessary to sustain itself over time.
A tour where you can discover the wonders that Charles Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean rain forest, and watch the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science.
Route of Parks of Patagonia
Our most recent project is a 14-day Multisport Route of Parks, Patagonia. In this tour you will discover Torres del Paine National Park, the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park, and a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees in Conguillío National Park.
Nature, diversity, local communities and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences leaded by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!
Our latest inquiry ended up in a local tree planting project.
In April 2021 the platform Wiñolfe Anumka has been launched. This brand-new project is the response of the inquiry we at Amity Tours made one year ago. We now get the possibility to offset our carbon emissions on a local basis. Wiñolfe Anumka is a Mapuche Pewenche community network offering reforestation of native forests through their own nursery network.
Beginning of 2020 we contacted our local partner, Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias to discuss a solution about offsetting our not avoidable carbon emissions on a local basis. Since many years we are working together with the award winning community based project, sending clients from all over the world, to connect with the local culture. We did share with them our vision, about a reforestation project in Kurarewe, located just a few kilometers away from our headquarters. After our first meeting, we invited a forestry engineer to join the project.
Together with a local company that is dedicated to landscape management, environmental education and regeneration, we stared working on gathering relevant and scientific information. We then calculated the CO2 emissions produced by Amity Tours (approximately 50 Ton CO2), and hence the amount of native trees to be planted to neutralize these emissions. As a result we learned that we must plant at least 14 tree clusters, each formed of 20 different native especies, to be able to offset the 50 tons CO2 in the next 20 years. Together with Wiñolfe Anumka we will be working on the implementation of this great goal.
Local is our solution
At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions to support the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future. Indeed carbon offsetting alone won’t fix the climate crisis. Despite that, we are convinced that each step towards a climate positive society is worth any effort.
At Amity Tours we want to make changes, share progresses and solutions. It is one of our main goals to motivate other companies and individuals to join the Zero Waste Movement and to participate actively in the big challenge of changing unsustainable habits. We are not only a tour operator but also a consultant company and are aware of our responsibility by sharing practical knowledge.
La Araucania Andina is located 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile. Geographically, this destination is formed by two large mountain areas: the Lonquimay volcano and the Llaima volcano, hence the outstanding volcanic activity of the area. Demographically, the core historical-cultural identity is strongly marked and linked to the original Pewenche people, the first inhabitants of La Araucania Region.
More than just a destination, it is where starts the famous Lake and Volcano District of Chile. The main natural attraction in this special part of La Araucanía Region is the Kütralkura UNESCO Global Geopark. There, you can witness how the volcanic activity has been shaping for ages the impressive landscapes of southern Chile.
In this week’s post, you will discover the best natural places to explore in La Araucania Andina.
Area of globally recognized biodiversity, Kütralkura is Chile’s first geopark. With six protected wilderness areas of diverse landscape, 5 volcanoes, and a geological history covering the last 250 million years, it in fact is no surprise that UNESCO declared this outstanding territory the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve in 1983. Dominated by the presence of the Llaima, Sierra Nevada, Lonquimay, Tolhuaca and Nevados de Sollipulli volcanoes, the notable geological features are of mainly volcanic, tectonic and glacier character.
The richness of the Kütralkura geopark does not solely lie on its natural wonders. But also on its people who play a big part in the culture of this ancestral territory. First inhabitants of Southern Chile, the Pewenche are an indigenous subgroup belonging to the Mapuche community.
Pewenche people take their name from their dependence for food on the seeds of the pewen (pehuen) or monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana). They consider the Araucaria tree as their Mother and protector.
It should be noted that the Pewenche have their own cosmovision, social system, and ancestral arts. In addition, they have great knowledge and wisdom related to the use of medicinal plants (known as “Lawen” in their Mother tongue). In Mapudungun, “Kütralkura” means “stone fire”.
Tolhuaca National Park
Located on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range, the Tolhuaca National Park is a spectacular scenery of native flora and fauna. With 6.474 hectares of Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) forest, the geological formations shape the characteristic mountainous reliefs of the park. Moreover the presence of the Tolhuaca volcano also highly contributes in this landscape composition.
In the Tolhuaca National Park, you can easily access Laguna Malleco by a good trail that does not take more than an hour to hike. There, you can walk through a forest of coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and araucarias, leading to great views towards the Malleco waterfall. In addition, the hiking trail offers the the opportunity to also visit the Culebra waterfall.
Conguillio National Park
The Conguillio National Park is located in the heart of the Kütralkura Geopark, highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Originally, with an area of 60,832 hectares, the Conguillio used to form two different parks: Conguillio National Park and Los Paraguas National Park. Then they merged and formed the current park.
In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native language, the word Conguillio is “Ko-nqilliu”. The meaning is “pine nuts in the water”, or “to settle by the pine nuts” based on the abundance of araucarias (known Monkey puzzle tree) and the existence of lakes surrounding the volcanic area of the park.
Among its main attractions, the Llaima volcano (3.200m) stands out the most. Dominating the landscape, the volcano is surrounded by its lakes of volcanic formation and its forests of ancient araucarias. What’s more, the forests of this native tree are 1,200 year-old!
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) refers to the Conguillio National Park as one of the last refuges in the World to preserve the landscape where dinosaurs lived.In this place, the UK’s broadcaster filmed part of the documentary “Walking with Dinosaurs“, more specifically the chapter centered on the Upper Cretaceous: “Death of a Dynasty”.
Our favorite activity to do when visiting the Conguillio National Park is hiking the Sierra Nevada trail, a high volcanic mountain range. The trail starts near the Conguillio Lake, and crosses a spectacular forest of araucaria trees. During the hike, there are three scenic viewpoints over the lake; the trail culminates in a large open viewpoint, outside with great views over both Llaima volcano and Conguillio lake.
Malalcahuello National Reserve
Located in the northeast part of La Araucanía Region, Malalcahuello is the must-see place to visit in Chile. Indeed, the volcanic and glacial activity of the Lonquimay volcano (2.865 meters) has strongly been shaping the landform of the reserve. With the Christmas crater (cráter Navidad) that completed its last volcanic eruptive process in 1990, the Malalcahuello Reserve is more like a surreal landscape where recent volcanic slags combine with ancient araucaria forests.
As a result of the volcanic geography, the 31.260 hectares stand out for its great diversity of flora and where the native forest manifests in thousands of colors and forms, with streams of crystal-clear waters descending from the Andes mountain range.
From July to mid-October, the Malalcahuello National Reserve is Amity‘s favorite place to be. In effect, the area is best known to be a great host for skiing in Southern Chile. Proof of that are the yearly visits of international ski racing teams training in the Corralco Ski Resort, a world-class destination well-known for its great snow conditions and the exuberant surroundings of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
On the other hand, during spring and summer (late-October to April), cycling might be the best way to explore Malalcahuello.
Riding across the reserve surrounded by thousand year-old araucaria trees, with the Lonquimay and Tolhuaca volcanoes at sight, and our MTB is a true travel adventure experience we love to do. More than a bike experience, it is also a great opportunity for a cultural encounter with the Pewenche. Sharing with them their traditions, culture and culinary specialties is the best way to learn about the human side of La Araucania Region.
The Andean ancestral legacy of La Araucania Region: the Pewenche culture
In geographical terms, the Pewenche territory encompasses both sides of the Andes mountain range, between the Maule River and the Lonquimay Volcano. Before the arrival of the Spanish settlers, they were hunters and gatherers of pine nuts (piñon, pewen or pehuén), fruit from the araucaria tree that gives the name and essence characteristics of the Pewenche culture. Thanks to this, they elaborate gastronomic products such as pine nut flour, jams, muday (ancestral drink), among others.
It is not without saying that the Pewenche consider the araucaria as a sacred tree thanks to its medicinal properties. Thus, we understand that their ancestral culture is closely related to the natural environment in which they live. Likewise, they maintain a deep bond with their territory of origin. Hence understanding that the land cannot be separated from culture and identity.
This intertwined connection explains the tremendous importance of the first inhabitants of La Araucanía Region. Every corner of this Andean territory has a history linked to the processes of the Pewenche through time.
If you are interested in visiting this area, please send us an email to schedule a call with one of our Trip Design experts.
Experience the rich union between the Pewenche ancestral culture and the beautiful nature of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Ask about our best activetraveladventures and discover the incredible diverse landscape and history of La Araucaria Region.
The travel industry is responsible for 8% of total global emissions contributing to global warming that threatens these resources. Amity Tours is aware of this fact and we want to be part of a big change and improvement in our industry.
That is why we’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful actions to reduce their carbon emissions as per the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.
As a commitment of the signature we would like to publish our own Climate Emergency Plan. Here you are:
Our Climate Emergency Plan 2021-22
At Amity Tours we already started with some significant changes in our operations. As we all know, waste and especially food waste has a big impact on the carbon footprint in general, and in our industry especially. Get more information about our Zero Waste Challenge.
We have to be honest and don’t want to promise things we will not be able to comply. The global COVID crisis has been affecting (almost) the whole tourism industry. Amity Tours is not an exception. That is why we had to adapt our original Climate Action Plan that we were working on. Nobody knows what the future brings and that is why we are trying to set realistic goals. As a result, we created a Climate Action Plan with goals until 2022, as 2021 still will be a very different year.
Following, we would like to share with you our goals and how we believe to achieve them.
Recently, we joined the Fundación Basura (Waste Fundation in Chile) and got the benefit to measure our waste with the platform: Recylink. Now, we are able to calculate our exact waste during the next upcoming seasons.
Goals for 2021-2022:
Calculate our exact waste during the next season 2021/22 with the platform Recylink.
Finding a professional and confidential partner to measure our carbon footprint of our operation centre and our tours in the Lake and Volcano District (starting with the 2021/22 season)
Investigate if it is worth to get certified by the national carbon calculation program: Huella Chile or any international certification
It is very important to measure the waste and carbon footprint, but now lets put these words into action:
Goal for 2021-2022
Find solutions to reduce our measured waste at least by 50% by the next season.
Since we signed up at Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency we have shared the great initiative especially with our local partners. We got positive feedbacks and interest for the community. The AWA Hotel in Puerto Varas, one of our main hotel partners, already shared its Climate Emergency Plan.
Goals for 2021:
Create a local community in the Lake and Volcano District where different companies and organization from the tourism sector will share sustainable practices and advocate for a massive declaration.
Goals for 2022:
Create a Zero Waste Lake and Volcano District, where we include a big number of tourism organizations, tour operators, restaurants, accommodations and local recycling companies. Together, we will work for the first Zero Waste Destination in Chile.
As soon as we can welcome fellow travelers again, we will resume our program with our local partners. The first step will be calculation the amount of trees to plant to compensate our carbon footprint of 2021.
Goal for 2022:
We will invest the symbolic amount of one tree for each client. The money will be used for the project. (Installing a nursery garden, capacitation to the local community, giving classes to the kids in the rural schools about the tree plantation and its positive effects for the environment and community, monitoring of the plantation and much more)
Each year we will be sharing our process with you. Stay tuned and we are happy about every comment, experience or recommendation! Get in contact with us!
Do you want to know more about the Tourism Declares community?
Después de meses de trabajo con emprendedores asociados a la tour operación en el Destino Lagos & Volcanes, los días 24 y 25 de marzo se realizó la “Primera Rueda de Negocios”, evento gestionado por Amity Tours y su oficina consultora Amity Lab.
Las empresas que participaron del evento fueron, principalmente, tour operadores locales que diseñan y operan experiencias turísticas (suppliers), operadores mayoristas de turismo nacional, receptivo y agencias de viajes de todo el país (buyers).
La primera consultoría abordó el ámbito de diversificación de la oferta de los operadores del macro destino y la segunda estuvo centrada en herramientas para el área comercial de la tour operación. Se realizaron más de 10 talleres prácticos con diferentes temáticas y con foco en tour operación, logrando transferir conocimientos y técnicas de fácil aplicación entre los participantes.
La rueda de negocios contó con la participación de 64 suppliers y 24 buyers nacionales, generándose cerca de 300 reuniones en ambas jornadas.
Según los propios suppliers, tanto las jornadas de transferencia como la rueda de negocio, es un aporte en la sofisticación de su oferta, mejora de sus procesos comerciales y genera mayor visibilidad de sus experiencias, a través de la vitrina que representan los buyers.
Respecto a la Rueda de Negocio, la reconocida emprendedora Isabel Correa, propietaria de La Baita Conguillío, quien participó en este proceso, señaló que “Ha sido una gran oportunidad de poder aumentar nuestras redes comerciales y mostrar a potenciales compradores la oferta que tenemos en La Baita Conguillío, esperamos que estas iniciativas continúen para que podamos salir juntos de esta crisis.”
Otro hito a destacar, es la creación del primer “Club de Experiencias Turísticas” a nivel nacional, que cuenta con más de 60 empresas que hoy diseñan y operan directamente experiencias en el destino Lagos & Volcanes, en su mayoría asociadas a turismo de naturaleza, aventura y cultural.
Al respecto, el emprendedor Gonzalo Barros, co-fundador del tour operador Ranco Lauken considera que “La asociatividad generada a partir de este proyecto, y materializada en el “Club de Experiencias Turísticas”, debe ser el primer paso para construir un mejor destino con oferta de experiencias sustentables que generen beneficios concretos para todos en el territorio.”
Sobre el trabajo realizado por Amity Tours, Cristián Levy, CEO de la empresa, señaló “Estamos satisfechos con el trabajo realizado por nuestro equipo, creemos que fuimos capaces de transferir conocimiento que aporta directamente a los operadores locales, conocimiento que Amity Tours ha obtenido a través de su experiencia durante 18 años operando. Hemos abierto las puertas de la empresa para que vean cada detalle de nuestra operación. Esperamos que a través de Amity Lab, nuestra oficina consultora, podamos seguir participando en proyectos tan importantes como este”, puntualizó.
A beautiful summer is coming to an end in the Chilean Lake and Volcano District. It is time to remember the great adventures lived during this appreciated season. For me, the outstanding experience during the last months was the unique trekking on the Pacific Coast at Mapu Lahual.
First of all, I would like to introduce you to the territory we will dive into during the next paragraphs.
Mapu Lahual is an indigenous parks network along the Pacific Coast of Chile, located around 1000 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile, and 100 kilometers North of Puerto Montt.
The 60.000 hectares count with a high diversity (many of them endemic) Patagonian Temperate Rain Forests. It is worth mentioning that the area is recognized as a hotspot or world-class natural heritage (Mittermeier et al, 2004). Here, you can find the last major expanse of primary coastal forests, coastal olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum), centuries-old larches, lonely beaches and rivers with transparent waters, as well as marine and river ecosystems free of pollution.
Mapuche Williche Community
The Williche (or Huilliche) are indigenous people who belong to the Mapuche community. In Mapudungun, Williche means “people from the south”, since they are located to the south of the largest Mapuche group, which lives in the regions of La Araucanía and Los Ríos.
The Williche were exclusively semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers until the 13th or 14th century, before they also introduced limited horticulture. The rich game population, fishing and the gathering of wild pine fruits continued to provide the most important subsistence basis.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, under the influence of the Spaniards, they switched to agriculture (wheat, potatoes) and cattle breeding (llama, cattle, horse). In contrast to the other Mapuche peoples, the Williche lived monogamous.
The Williche owned large canoes to cross rivers and lakes. They must also have had some knowledge of metallurgy as copper jewelry was found on them.
The ethnic religion corresponds to the Mapuche religion. According to surveys, 10 percent of the Williche still profess the traditional religion, another 10 percent are non-religious and 80 percent are officially Christians. However, the Huilliche Christianity is strongly mixed with traditional elements and the important rituals of the Mapuche still have a central meaning.
Currently, it is estimated that there are only about 20 speakers of Tse süngun, the local variant of the Mapuche language, typical of the current province of Osorno. One of them, Juan Eligio Cumigual, over 80 years old, lives in the community of Manquemapu, being perhaps the southernmost native speaker of the Mapuche language.
An unforgettable trekking
Without any doubt, the overwhelming natural beauty of the Mapu Lahual park and the hospitality of the local Williche people made this trip an unforgettable one.
We started our trip in the south, at the small fisher town of Manquemapu.
On the way to the small cove, we passed by white sand beaches, where we spot a group of Chilean dolphins. These small and curious dolphins are only found o the coast of Chile. They were jumping with the waves and gave us a perfect welcoming party! What a great beginning of this adventure!
Arriving to the locality of Manquemapu, we parked the car and crossed a hanging bridge by foot. On the other side of the river, a friendly women welcomed us and showed us our campground. On the walking trails we could see many blocks of larch shingles. The larch, or “lawal”, is the characteristic tree of the local forests. In this community, they still use this appreciated wood to export shingles and handicrafts.
After setting up our tents, we started a nice hike towards “El Galpón“, a hidden beach. The waves invited us to jump into the cold pacific ocean. While taking a sunbath to dry our wet bodies and hair, a family of Chilean dolphins visited us. They were jumping around in the big waves. We felt so lucky about this natural spectacle!
Starting the trail “El Troncal”
The first morning on the pacific coast welcomed us with a typical rain shower. Nothing that could minimize our enthusiasm about the upcoming trekking. Today our goal was getting to Caleta Condor. 17.2 kilometers of Valdivian rainforest, steep mountain trails, river crossings, wetland, ancient larches and beautiful lookout points were waiting for us.
As the first few hours of the trekking were leading through deep rainforests, we did not feel affected by the slight rain. Then, as soon as we got to the first plain, the rain stopped and only a slight wind accompanied us.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice picnic lunch at the river side, we had to climb another hill. Yet, our big backpacks felt a little heavier with every meter, but the abundant nature and nice company were worth any effort. Almost at the end of the hike, we could catch some great views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
With every step we got closer to the beautiful white sand beach of Caleta Condor. The sound of the ocean filled us with energy and we run the last meters to the beach to jump into the welcoming waves.
Famous Caleta Condor
A personal dream came true! While I was traveling to Chile for the first time, I read about the cove of Caleta Condor. I was very much interested in getting to know this hidden place, only reachable by boat or foot. While swimming in the refreshing sea, looking at the small cove with its private beach, I could not believe having reached this spot six years later. Caleta Condor is well known by adventure tourists. Not only it offers an impressive beach but also scuba diving, fishing or seafood gathering, kayaking and a good local gastronomy.
Huellelhue Cove, “the place where you swim”
After a cosy night in the tent, listening to the waves, we took another swim in the refreshing ocean. Then, we got ready for our next hiking day. First of all, we took a tipical wooden fishers boat, crossing the Cholguaco river. On the way we could appreciate evergreen forests, whitesand beaches, small wooden houses, birds like great egret (ardea alba) and many others.
Our friendly local guide Lucho led us uphill, where we got spectacular views over the pacific ocean. We were walking through forests of olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum) and had to find our way through dense formation of native bamboo jungle. Here is where we appreciated our professional guide, who knew every corner of this abundant rainforest.
After a tasty picnic, we continued our way downhill. We could not believe our eyes when we reached the several kilometer-long whitesand and lonely beach of Rada Ranu. An unforgettable feeling overcame us when we drop our backpacks in the sand and run towards the smooothy waves of the pacific ocean!
Afterwards, we had to cross only a few more kilometers on the beach and through beautiful wetland. At the end of the day, we reached the Huellelhue river, where some friendly locals waited for us.
On their wooden boats we crossed the river and got to a perfect camping spot. Dinner was ready and we enjoyed fresh seafood in a cosy local house. Tonight we set up a nice campfire and shared funny stories.
As well as Caleta Condor, the small locality of Huellelhue is only reachable by foot or boat. Huellelhue or “Weyelwe” means “the place where you swim”.
Course to Maicolpue
Another day in paradise! This morning we woke up with a sunray reaching our tents. The river and surrounded wetland were covered with a silvery mist, which turned the area in a mystical atmosphere. Again we jump on a fisher boat and crossed the Huellelhue river for about 40 minutes. What a great way to immerse ourselves into the local way of life!
With our new local guide José, we started walking through wetland until getting to the base of the next hill. A steep uphill trail through ancient forests followed. We all felt great as the backpacks got a little lighter and our legs were already used to the efforts from the first hiking days. As a result, we reached our lunch spot faster then expected. Finally, we got to our last beach called Tril-Tril. A very small cove with only a few holiday houses. Here we enjoyed our last swim in the ocean and felt so greatful about the passed days in pure nature!
Our last night dinner was a five-star experience in a local cabin. We were attended like queens and enjoyed the homemade bread, smoked sawfish, natural juice, fresh salads and a tipical „pebre de ulte“(mix of seaweed, tomato, onion and coriander).
What an amazing way to finish this spectacular experience of hiking along the pacific coast. I have been hiking along many beautiful trails around the world but this trekking was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me!
Born and raised in Switzerland, I turned my hobby into my job and worked as a Travel Agent for many years. Always exploring hidden corners around the world. In 2014, I traveled to Chile for the first time. What started as a single-women-adventure turned into a life-changing-trip.
My objective was to travel from Santiago de Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. By hitchhiking or using public ground transportation as close as possible to the local culture and nature.
During this trip, I met my actual boyfriend and father of our little daughter. After years of living in between of two countries, I decided in 2016 to move to Chile and to start my life here. I am still very happy about this decisions, I cannot imagine a better place to raise my child. The abundant nature, wise culture and adventurous friends fill my heart every day with happiness!
Hiking the Lake and Volcano District is one of the most rewarding travel experiences to live when visiting Chile. Last week, we had the chance to welcome our first international travelers after 11 months of long waiting. During 2 weeks, with our team of local experts, we explored the hidden corners of the national parks located in Chile’s world-class destination: the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
The first Scenic Route of Chile, also locally known as Red Interlagos, is a road network composed of 6 different circuits belonging to 3 regions: La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. Along with the breathtaking landscape of active volcanoes, pristine lakes and thousand-years-old endemic forests, this circuit aim to provide sustainable experiences allowing the encounter between the local inhabitants (Mapuche), the Colonos and Criollos culture, and the unique nature of Southern Chile.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Los Lagos Region
The Vicente Perez Rosales National Park is the oldest park in the country. A key component of the Temperate Rain forests of the Austral Andes Biosphere Reserve, it is located in an area where volcanism has been, along with tectonic processes and glaciers, the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range.
It covers an area of 251,000 hectares (619,970 acres), incorporating the park’s centerpiece: Todos los Santos Lake, Petrohué Waterfalls, Osorno and Puntiagudo Volcanoes.
This trail crosses the national park from the North face of the Osorno Volcano towards the South-East, all the way to the Petrohue sector. Originally, it was a cattle trail used for animal transportation between the Todos Los Santos Lake and the Llanquihue Lake via the Desolación pass.
From volcanic scorials to dense forests of nothofagus trees, this trail allows us to travel through dramatic changes in the landscape. Additionally, the excellent panoramic views of the Tronador and Osorno Volcanoes, La Picada hill and the Todos Los Santos Lake are the main prizes of the hike.
El Solitario trail hike
El Solitario traik hike is a simple, short and fairly flat route that allows its visitors to appreciate the Osorno Volcano from the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
First, we started hiking through a native forest with the volcano on our right-hand during the entire route. Afterwards we continued passing by a valley covered with lava flows formed by old eruptions. After almost 2 hours of hiking, we finally arrived at the road that leads to Osorno Volcano.
Crater Rojo trail hike
The Crater Rojo (Red Crater) is a natural attraction located on the South-West slope of the Osorno Volcano (1.400 m.a.s.l). The trail starts at the ski center. During this incredible journey, we could witness how the landscape has been shaped for thousands of years in the course of geological and volcanic actions.
Puyehue National Park, Los Lagos Region
The Puyehue National Park is located in an area of great and exuberant natural beauty of the Los Lagos region.With more than 100 thousand hectares, it is a territory where several active and dormant volcanoes are located. In addition, it belongs to the Biosphere Reserve Temperate Rainforests of the Southern Andes.
In ancient times, this area was inhabited by the Huilliche communities (the southernmost branch of the Mapuche culture). Created in 1941, the park has accumulated centuries-old legends that exist since before its institution.
During our adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, we had the change to explore the best parts of the Puyehue National Park.
Casablanca Volcano and Raihuen Crater
Also called Antillanca, the Casablanca volcano is located in the Puyehue National Park, 77 kilometers from the city of Osorno. This beautiful volcano, of typical conical shape, rises between Puyehue and Rupanco lakes.
Geologically, the Casablanca volcano is part of the Antillanca volcanic complex. Due to its low height and low glaciation, the ascent of the Casablanca does not present technical difficulties. As a result, it relatively easy to access one of the dominant summits of the southern Andes.
There are various alternatives to reach the top. During our visit of the volcano, we had the incredible opportunity to also visit the Raihuen Crater.
Part of the Casablanca volcanic complex, the Raihuen Crater is located near the Antillanca ski resort. There are no records of eruptions. However, volcanologists believe that the last eruption occurred more than 10,000 years ago.
The hike towards is impressive, as you can witness the special nature of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
The presence of the Puyehue Volcano, the Puntiagudo and the Osorno volcanoes, the Cordon Caulle gives us an idea of how unique is this particular area of the Andes Mountain Range.
Finally, we had the chance to discover a very special place called Paraíso lake. It is an Andean lake surrounded by an evergreen forest. This hidden corner of the Andes mountain range is a true paradise. Indeed, the pristine lake offers a solitary beach with incredible views of the exuberant surroundings.
Villarrica National Park, La Araucanía Region
Located in the Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes (Villarrica, Quetrupillan and Lanín), stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape. The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction.
The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.
Andean Lagoons trail hike
Very close to the border with Argentina at the foot of the Lanín volcano, the Andean Lakes trail is a must-see in Villarrica National Park. This easy hiking trail is a beautiful route, without difficulties and suitable for family.
During the hike, you get to know 3 Andean lagoons, a great native forest of coihues and araucarias. The cherry on the top is the volcanic landscape dominated by the great presence of the Lanín volcano (3.747 meters).
While visiting the park, we could witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions. Also, we had the fantastic opportunity walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. Lastly, we visited the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden) and Huinfiuca with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.
El Cerdúo & Correntoso River
El Cerdúo is a fantastic place located at the slopes of the Villarrica volcano, the most active one in the Chilean territory. Visiting El Cerdúo is a unique experience, as we can observe the geological effect of the volcanic eruptions that participated in shaping this valley over the course of the years.
In addition to spectacular views of the Villarrica volcano, the valley also allows to observe the areas affected by ancient lahares and the lava flows that have created waterfalls. Moreover, we can clearly see the impressive contrast between the volcanic rocks and the dense forest areas.
We are facing a complex global situation due to the COVID-19 virus. At Amity Tours we want to assure a risk free and positive experience during all our tours. That is why we follow strict local and international protocols.
First of all we ask our team, providers and guests to follow the rules of the sanitary authority which principally established the following obligations:
Frequent hand wash with water and soap
Use of face masks in all public areas
Social distancing at all times (min 1 meter)
Carry on a valid sanitary passport while traveling from one place to another
In addition we did establish some Amity rules, such as:
Temperature check twice a day
Using the same seat in the van during the whole tour
Entering the van starting by the last row of seats
Following a strict emergency protocol in case of COVID-19 symptoms
We provide our guests with reusable face masks, some disposable face masks and gloves for emergency reasons, alcohol gel and a face shield. Our guides introduce all guests on their first meeting about our protocols and the local restrictions.
That is how we enjoyed an unforgettable and very safe trip in Chile this summer!
Under the name “The Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route”, we do understand a tourist product that articulates attractions and experiences with a component of scenic beauty in southern Chile. The government of Chile has been developing the Interlagos Network for 20 years. It has six circuits and more than 2,000 km of roads that transport visitors along a spectacular geography. Shaped by the force of volcanism, bathed by large lakes, upholstered by the green of the oldest forests on the planet and inhabited by ancestral cultures. This network of roads has generated connectivity between potential poles of tourist development and other consolidated in the regions of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. The First Scenic Route of Chile, has a unique layout, unmissable for lovers of pristine nature andadventure travellers.
Amity Tours is working hard to help reaching the ambition vision of this project. “To be the best positioned scenic route of Chile in the national and international market as a singular and sustainable experience that allows the encounter with the Mapuche, colony and criolla cultures and the unique nature of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos.”
At the moment, we are transferring our knowledge to micro and small local tour operators to help generate more sustainable tourism in the destination. An important part of the content we obtained from the useful workshops ATTA has been providing us until today.
Step-by-Step to a sustainable tourism destination
First of all, we were updating the database of the micro and small local tour operators forming part of the Scenic Route. Then, we offered all of them free courses separated by environments: Water – Mountains – Conventional tourism and focusing in sustainable tour operating.
Out of the tour operators who were participating in these first courses, we formed a “Club of Experiences”. The members are getting more classes for free. So they get prepared for the important Virtual Business Roundtable we are organizing on March 2021.
The three webinars will address the following topics:
Preparation of Commercial Actions. Here we will talk about the different formats to approach the B2B channel. With emphasis on the virtual business conference that we will have at the end of March.
Preparation of Commercial Material. Here we will dive into the Manuals and Tariffs that are presented at a business conference.
Preparation of the Commercial Pitch. Here we will talk about what a pitch is. How it should be built and used. Of course depending on the format of the meeting and who we have in front of in a business conference.
Virtual Business roundtable
The final objective of these courses is to bring local operators closer to the B2B channel. That is why we are organizing the First Business Roundtable of the Lakes & Volcanoes Scenic Route. It will be held in March, between Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 2021, in a 100% online format through the Eventtia platform.
We want to bring the local operators together. As well as to transfer them valuable knowledge. That is how we want to promote our unique destination in a sustainable way.
Gravel has been almost on every cyclist gathering over the past couple of years, with everybody talking about wheel sizes, flared drop bars, tyre width and tread pattern, but for the most of the people, the road bike vs gravel bike question might seem strange at first, as they may not look all that different on the surface.
But riding a bike designed for multi-terrain excursions means you can link together gravel routes in new ways, taking in sections of gravel roads, forest tracks, trails, byways and bridlepaths. Or you can load up your gravel bike with camping kit for multi-day bikepacking adventures, what means more miles to get lost and enjoy.
Road bike vs gravel bike: What are they supposed to do?
As you can probably work out from the name, road bikes are designed to be ridden on routes with a tarmac bias, while gravel bikes can be taken off-road, on gravel paths, dirt roads, fire trails, and even singletrack (if you are brave enough).
Road bikes ultimately fall into two camps, race bikes, and endurance bikes. Race bikes are what you see the pros pushing to the absolute limit, or your wealthy friend trying to look like these pros but clearly with more body fat, or those friends that come with Amity Tours to the Lake & Volcano district and we need to assign the strongest guide (probably Ruben or David) so he can follow them and not get lost!
Instead, endurance bikes are a bit more upright, feature more stable handling, put a premium on comfort, and most probably the profile of the rider that will use this bike with us will take more than 1000 pictures…per ride!
You can definitely use a gravel bike as a road bike. However, there are a few small limitations you might run into if you do this. Depending on how you like to ride, it could be important, or not important at all.
If you are a road bike racer, or your wealthy friend dressed in Rapha outfit with a Colnago C64 with Campy components, then a gravel bike probably won’t work as your primary bike. Many gravel bikes these days have a single chainring set up in the front. You’ll still get plenty of gears for most road riding, but you won’t have quite enough high gears for when the speeds get very fast, over 25 mph. You’ll probably spin out because you can’t pedal fast enough, and what is for sure, nothing can be worst to see than how the rest of the peloton leaves you behind, alone and talking to yourself for the rest of the ride.
But if you’re mostly riding by yourself, or with friends who keep a more reasonable pace during our bike tours here in the Lake & Volcano district, then a gravel bike works just fine. In many ways it’s a lot more comfortable than a road bike, because you can use wider tires at lower pressure to give yourself some nice cushioning. You’ll also get better stopping and turning power from more rubber on the road.
Gravel bike tours in the Lake & Volcano district
Amity Tours, as a national leader in the development of road bike and MTB tours, we are sure that being able to include our new gravel tours in our offer ensures that we can satisfy the needs of these new customer segments seeking to get out of the paved route and look for more inaccessible attractions difficult to reach either by other kind of bike.
Coming soon in 2021: Gravel bike tour in one of the most outstanding parks of Chile
The Conguillio National Park is without a doubt one of the most appreciated parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. It covers a surface of 150.319 acres, and ranges from 2.296 to 10.253 feet above sea level. It must be said that the landscape are spectacular:
Llaima volcano (3.125 meters)
Arco Iris Lagoon
Truful Truful Canyon
Stay tuned for our next cycling adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, and get ready to discover the best of the Chilean territory on a gravel bike!
270 días han pasado desde que despedimos a nuestro último pasajero. El debió irse de vuelta a Estados Unidos porque las fronteras se estaban cerrando.
Nunca pensamos que sería el último cliente que veríamos en todo el 2020.
Con esperanzas esperamos el invierno, concentrando nuestro esfuerzo en tener una temporada de ski, pero esto no pasó, seguíamos cerrados. Entre el equipo comentamos que era mejor, para así ya estar con nuestros bike tours rodando en noviembre, como todos los años, lo cual tampoco sucedió. Tampoco el eclipse que esperábamos compartir con los cientos de personas que ya nos habían reservado.
Pero así es el emprendimiento, no siempre se puede realizar lo planificado, siempre habrá algo que resolver, más aún en una industria dependiente de tantos factores.
La naturaleza, el juez más importante de la corte, se pronunció, y señaló que el Mundo tal como lo conocemos no puede continuar, no es sustentable, que si bien los viajes son importantes no podemos seguir contaminando todos los lugares a donde vamos. La condena para los emprendedores de nuestra industria turística ha sido la señalada: 270 días sin operación.
Confinados en nuestras oficinas, ad-portas de cumplir con la sentencia, hemos diseñado nuevos tours como nuestros gravel bike tours, women y family tours, poniendo aún más foco en nuestra política de Zero Waste y protocolos Covid-19, aumentando la participación real de las comunidades residentes que les permitan también generar ganancias a partir de la llegada de nuestros clientes.
El 2021 será duro, no cabe duda, pero Amity Tours lo enfrentará de manera renovada, más maduro y consciente, con el cariño y energía de siempre.
We have all suffered in these hard times from Covid-19, either by having close people who have lost their lives, sick relatives, locked down without being able to leave home for months, children unable to play with their friends, and why not to say, many losing their jobs and their will to live.
Although Amity Tours has not been oblivious to this misfortune, which has undoubtedly hit the company in various aspects, our team has not lost the desire to continue fighting it with everything they have available, enthusiastically seeing a vaccine on the near horizon, that will allow us to resume our lives and work, without any doubt in a different way and operating under extremely rigorous protocols.
Amity Tours doesn’t give up, and renews its bike products in Chile
Within the DNA of Amity Tours, led by its CEO Cristián Levy, is the permanent gene of exploration, a gene that is stronger than any virus or bacteria, covered by a dense layer of fresh air and nature, and protected by volcanoes and seas that hit and battle anyone who tries to harm it. This is how we have not wasted time in our company, and we have decided to expand our offer of bike tours by creating the first gravel bike tour in Chile.
Gravel bike, the new cycling trend from the United States
Gravel bike tours were a real necessity for many: the trend finally arrived (as it so often does) from the United States, where pedaling on unpaved roads on a gravel bike is part of everyday reality. In the United States, in fact, due to high maintenance costs, almost all secondary roads are not paved. This has generated a new type of cyclist who is looking for new routes, tired of driving on roads with a lot of motorized traffic and missing a large part of the attractions located in rural areas.
Amity Tours has an explicit requirement for this new type of experience, nowadays non-existent in Chile, manifested by our main clients from the US, Canada, and Europe, for which we have put all our effort into making it a reality.
Our gravel bike tours consider an extensive use of local services run by small entrepreneurs and communities of native peoples willing to collaborate and do business with us, generating a wealth distribution effect among various stakeholders of the destination, which in the era post-Covid-19 is the best vaccine that we can contribute as a company to our local partners.
Among these collaborators, we can mention accommodations, mainly hotels located in the region and cabins, small restaurants characteristic of the region, communities of native peoples (Mapuche), local tourist guides, drivers and entrepreneurs selling organic food, handicrafts, and souvenirs, all of them positively impacted by the bike tours operation that Amity Tours develops. For you to know, if we take as an example a tour of 10 passengers for 1 week, the service and employment to be hired when you buy our gravel bike tour, are broken down as follows:
2 or 3 hotels
2 0 3 cabins
6 to 10 restaurants
1 or 2 local Mapuche communities
3 local organic food supplier companies (to provide food during the tour while en route)
1 artisan market
They are the local partners waiting to welcome you again in 2021!
New gravel modality in the cycling world in Chile
On the other hand, the gravel bike gives more possibilities when connecting sections and areas of both dirt and asphalt. And this is where we see a great opportunity to develop new gravel bike tours, and by the way, an extraordinary opportunity for the Lake & Volcano district, being able to add routes in all circuits where bike tours are not operated today due to lack of asphlat. For example, our first gravel tour that will go from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes mountain range will pass through territories 100% Mapuche, where different groups coexist: Nagche, Lafquenche, Wenteche and Pewenche. This territory is the heart of the Mapuche people!
We hope to receive you next season on our new gravel bike tours, touring the wonderful Lake & Volcano district, but now getting even deeper into the true Chile, the Chile away from the pavement and urbanity.
Here we are sharing a report about traveling from Europe to Chile during COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning of November 2020 our Key Account Manager, Angela and her 2-years old daughter, travelled back from Switzerland (Angela´s birth country) to her home in southern Chile. A lot of uncertainties accompanied the travel plans. This because traveling restrictions changed frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog we would like to share some recommendations, that should help organizing your next trip to Chile.
The most important fact first: The whole trip turned out to be completely stress free and almost more pleasant than before the pandemic! All the staff at the airports, the flight attendants and immigration officers were extremely friendly, helpful and happy to be able to attend tourists again. The fact, that less people are traveling at the moment makes the whole atmosphere at the airport and the planes more peaceful.
We traveled with a private car to the airport to avoid using public transportation. While the baggage drop-off they already asked for our health declaration form for Chile. We boarded our plane in Zurich, had to change flight at Amsterdam and enjoyed then a direct flight to Santiago de Chile. Adults have to wear face masks all over the trip, while kids up to 10 years (depending on the airline) do not have to use them. Upon arrival to Santiago de Chile, we had to pass by a control station of the National Health Department. At that point, they measured our temperature. Here we had to informe, where we are going to pass the 14-day quarantine. This is not mandatory any more (for most travelers), showing a negative PCR test. (More details about the actual travel documents entering Chile at the end of this blog)
Passing this first control we continued to the immigration control and the baggage claim before passing the agriculture and livestock service (SAG) as usual.
Before you travel to the airport you should know the exact hour you should arrive. It is also good to know what to bring and what to leave at home. Everything begins with how you feel; if you have a fever, or minor complaints such as the common cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat or a mild cough, you should stay at home. Your health and that of your fellow travellers is what is considered to be the most important thing during this pandemic. That is why most airports/airlines require a health declaration form.
Prepare your flight:
Check-in online or via the application of your airline (Many airlines allow you to check in online, which means one less interaction. Then all you have to do is drop off your baggage in the departure hall)
Bring enough face masks (you should change them at least every 3 hours or whenever they get humid)
Carry your own hand sanitiser with you in your hand baggage. The capacity of the hand sanitizer container cannot exceed 100ml.
Check if you need a health declaration form for the departure, transit and final destination
Of course you will have to bring all mandatory documents (passport, visa if required and all documents required from your transit and final destination – Check all the travel documents entering Chile here)
If possible go to the airport alone and/or in a private transportation
Get to the airport with enough time (follow the recommendations of the airport and airline you are travelling with)
At the airports
Most of the restaurants and shops are open so you will always find something to refresh, eat or shop at the airports.
Throughout the flight
At the moment most of the planes are not fully booked. This allows the airlines to separate passengers from each others and give them more space. During our flight to Santiago de Chile with KLM, we could use a whole row of three seats, which allowed us stretch our legs throughout the whole flight.
Food is served almost as usual, only the snacks between the main dishes are served in plastic bags.
The airlines recommend to stay on your seat whenever possible. Whenever you need assistant, you can call the flight attendants, they will be happy helping you with your issues.
Aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters in their cabins, which remove 99.97% of particles and bacteria, including the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Moreover, the air inside an aircraft is completely renewed every 2 to 3 minutes. The airflow drags the particles from above to foot level (vertically), further lowering their concentration and preventing the air from mixing across the rows. That is why physical distancing is not decisive within the air cabins, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
All these measures, together with proper and mandatory use of face masks, make the cabins as sanitary as an operating room. (source: Santiago Nuevo Pudahuel Airport)
Travel documents to enter Chile
These are the actual required travel documents for non-residents entering Chile:
Negative PCR test performed 72 hours before travelling. In flights with intermediate stops, this is considered from the last boarding.
Fill out the Traveler’s Affidavit electronically, and up to 48 hours before boarding at www.c19.cl
Health insurance that covers medical treatment for COVID-19 during your stay, with a minimum coverage of USD$30,000.
Between November 23th and December 7th anybody arriving from countries with community transmission of COVID-19 must go under a 14-day mandatory quarantine, even if you have a PCR (-).
Next December 14th, the sky will darken completely La Araucanía Region, and partially the rest of the Chilean territory. On this day, we will be marveling at a new total solar eclipse. This event will occur after the last total solar eclipse that darkened the Atacama Region of Chile on July 2nd, 2019.
What is an eclipse?
The word eclipse derives from the Greek word “ékleipsis” which means disappearance or abandonment, in reference to the absence of sun in the sky. This solar phenomenon happens when a planet or, like in this case, the moon stands in the way of the solar light, preventing it to reach the surface of planet Earth. On our planet, we experience both lunar and solar eclipses.
Will it be completely dark?
Yes, the 90-kilometer in diameter strip of light will cover great part of La Araucanía Region, and the northern part of Los Ríos Region, between Temuco city and Panguipulli village. In other words, the solar eclipse will be total in places like Puerto Saavedra, Carahue, Teodoro Schmidt, Nueva Imperial, Nueva Toltén, Gorbea, Lanco, Villarrica, Pucón, Freire, Pitrufquén, Temuco, Loncoche, curarrehue, Lican Ray and Panguipulli.
“300 more years will elapse before we see another total solar eclipse again at this location”, says José Maza, Chilean astronomer and physicist.
Will the total solar eclipse be visible throughout Chile?
Even though the complete darkness will occur in La Araucanía Region, the solar event will manifest partially throughout Chile.
The following percentages represent the total surface of the sun that will be covered by the moon depending on the location, during the next astronomy event on december 14, 2020:
The solar event will start at 11:41 am (UTC -3) and will reach its highest expression between 1:02 and 1:04 pm. We will be witnessing 2 minutes and 9 seconds of complete darkness before the phenomenon ends, at 1:31 pm.
Will it be possible to travel to La Araucanía?
This will mostly depend on the status of each commune, within the Paso-a-Paso plan created by the Chilean government. This step-by-step strategy was established to face the pandemic according to the sanitary situation of each zone in particular, and determines 5 different phases. Each of them include restrictions and specific obligations, and the progress and regression from one particular step to another is subject to epidemiological indicators, healthcare network and traceability of the virus.
“La Araucanía is in a rather delicate situation, as there are several communes still in lockdown. We hope that, by the date of the eclipse, the region will have advanced towards more progressive steps (phase 4 or 5). Because, in order to travel from one commune to another, it must be at least in the Preparation Step (phase 3)”, affirmed Paula Daza, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Health.
The visitors will be able to travel only to places in phase 3, with the respective travel permits. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that approximately one million tourists would be traveling to La Araucanía Region to attend the total solar eclipse. Now, we are expecting less than 300.000 tourists.
When will occur the next total solar eclipse?
This event will be the sixteenth total solar eclipse in Chile since the independence in the 19th century. The next one will take place on December 4, 2021 in Chile’s Antarctic Territory. The following eclipse will be on December 5, 2048 in Aysén Region. Afterwards, the regions of Valparaíso, Metropolitana and O’Higgins will be witnessing this particular event on August 12, 2064.
Without a doubt, a total solar eclipse is an incredible astronomical experience to see. Check out this article about the meaning of such event from the Mapuche indigenous cosmovision, the first inhabitants of La Araucanía Region.
Así como Violeta Parra le canta a la Vida, yo puedo cantarle a la bicicleta “que me ha dado tanto”.
No me considero ni cerca un ciclista, pero llevo casi dos décadas viviendo de este deporte maravilloso. En la forma de tours de cicloturismo, en Amity Tours me ha tocado vivir momentos inolvidables, realmente épicos, todo gracias al mountain bike.
Aquí te voy a contar tres historias que vale la pena recordar e inmortalizar en este blog de mtb tours en Chile, específicamente en el Destino Lagos & Volcanes. Todas tienen un denominador común: están relacionadas a marcas líderes de la industria del mountain bike mundial, todas ocurren entre volcanes y araucarias, e involucran a un grupo humano de riders de lujo. Y lo que se me pide es siempre lo mismo: una experiencia inolvidable en mtb, extraordinaria, memorable, épica.
Euan es un escocés experto en viajes en mountain bike. Literalmente ha recorrido todo el mundo a la cabeza de su empresa H&I Adventures, diseñando y guiando tours de mtb para fanáticos y expertos. En 2015 lo invitamos a conocer Chile y se enamoró en un día del país, de la gente y del terreno que hay para andar en mtb.
Ernesto, por su parte, es un destacado atleta nacional, oriundo de Temuco, multicampeón nacional de XC, vice campeón panamericano de MTB XC y medallista en el mundial de mtb cross-country. Además de ser un atleta de elite, Ernesto se especializó en turismo aventura y lleva más de una década guiando tours de mtb y ruta en Chile y Europa.
Con estos dos personajes me ha tocado vivir estas tres aventuras que llamaremos: YETI TRIBE, TRAIL HUNTER y EVOC SPORTS.
1. YETI TRIBE
Seguramente has escuchado hablar de las bicicletas Yeti, una mountain bike de alta gama diseñada en el estado de Colorado, Estados Unidos.
Euan llevaba trabajando con ellos por un buen tiempo, específicamente en uno de los eventos más importantes de la marca: “el viaje de la tribu”, o en inglés “Yeti Tribe”. Es marzo 2016, cuando recibo una llamada de Euan que me dice: “get ready Cristián, the tribe is coming to Chile weón”.
El Tribe de Yeti es un viaje anual que organizan los dueños de la marca Yeti: Mr. Conroy y Mr. Hoogendoorn. Dos gringos con pinta de hippie, pero ultra exigentes con el destino, pues también han recorrido los mejores senderos del mundo en mtb. A este Tribe, solo pueden venir personas que sean dueñas de una bicicleta Yeti y que sean lo suficientemente fit para llevarle el ritmo a los dueños de la marca.
El Tribe ya había pasado por Escocia, Colorado y Nepal, por lo que la vara que se nos imponía era muy alta. De todas maneras, estábamos confiados en lo que Chile tiene para ofrecer, así que sólo nos dedicamos a dejar afinada la logística, ver que los hoteles del tour estaban bien, y preparar alguna que otra sorpresa para estos viajeros experimentados del mtb enduro.
Dentro de los invitados VIP del Tribe – además de los dueños – estaban dos personajes de la industria, Berne Broudy y Joey Schusler. La primera una escritora especialista en viajes en bicicleta, y el segundo un ex rider dedicado a la filmación y fotografía de aventura.
El itinerario del Yeti Tribe es muy similar a los tours de mtb que ya hacemos, que combina senderos en volcanes, bosques de araucarias, termas naturales y conocer la cultura local. Para esa ocasión, y junto a 20 gringos simpáticos, partimos en Pucón, con varios rides por los senderos en torno al Volcán Villarrica, nos tiramos un piquero en las termas Geométricas, probamos merkén y jugamos palin con los Mapuche, recorrimos Huilo-Huilo, pedaleamos en el centro de ski Antillanca y terminamos cruzando el paso Desolación junto al Volcán Osorno. Aquí puedes ver las mejores fotos de ese viaje: Yeti Tribe Chile
Mi recompensa fue escuchar de los dueños de Yeti dos cosas: 1) sus felicitaciones por un tour con un servicio impecable, que los hizo volver después con sus familias, y 2) que a pesar de haber estado pedaleando en tantas partes increíbles del mundo, Chile los había dejado impresionados por su belleza natural y por las condiciones ideales que tiene para andar en mountain bike.
Estamos a mediados de Enero 2017, el Tribe ya había sido todo un éxito, y una nueva aventura se nos aproxima.
Esta vez, Euan lleva un buen tiempo hablando con su amigo Dan Milner, un súper conocido escritor y fotógrafo inglés, famoso por sus fotografías de naturaleza y aventura. Dan había cruzado de Pucón a Junín de Los Andes hacía ya 30 años, y había quedado impresionado con el paisaje que se tiene del volcán Lanín y de los bosques milenarios de araucarias.
Euan conocía también a Matt Hunter, un rider profesional de Canadá, que bajo el auspicio de las bicicletas Specialized, tiene un programa en Youtube llamado Trail Hunter. En este canal, muestran sus videos de aventura en mtb por todo el mundo, y Matt andaba en búsqueda de un nuevo destino para su canal. Con esa conjunción de astros, Euan une los cabos sueltos y llama a sus amigos para que vengan a Chile a recorrer el destino Lagos y Volcanes en mtb.
A este grupo se le suman dos riders profesionales más, ambos auspiciados por RedBull: Matty Miles de Canadá y el suizo René Wildhaber.
Sin embargo, justo en Chile estábamos viviendo uno de los incendios forestales más brutales del último siglo, con focos por todo el país, pero los más intensos y destructivos en las regiones de O’Higgins, el Maule y del Biobío. Con ello, gran parte de los parques nacionales estaban cerrados por orden de la CONAF, y en nuestro destino todos estaban en alerta roja (sin incendios, pero cerrados).
Euan había regresado a Pucón el 23 de enero y no podía creer lo que salía en las noticias, un desastre natural de grandes proporciones y los parques nacionales cerrados. Todos los preparativos estaban listos, y los riders ya tenían sus pasajes a Chile. Fue en ese escenario cuando entre todos decidimos seguir con lo planificado y esperar un milagro. Los distintos focos de incendio tuvieron una extensión gigante, provocadas por una alta velocidad del viento y unas olas de calor inéditas. El 26 de enero de 2017, se registró la temperatura máxima de la historia de Chile: 44,9°C en Quillón.
Es el 31 de enero, 7am y los riders extranjeros han arribado a Santiago desde distintos rincones del mundo, nos mandan un texto diciendo que está todo bien y que esperan aterrizar en Temuco por la tarde. Con Euan y Ernesto salimos al patio a tomar aire fresco junto a nuestro tazón de café, y al mirar al volcán Villarrica y verlo “con sombrero” se nos dibuja una sonrisa y creemos que ocurrirá el milagro.
Cuando nubes lenticulares se forman junto a la cima del volcán (en forma de gorro), es casi seguro que en Pucón lloverá en las próximas 12 horas. Y así ocurrió. Al momento de llegar los riders a nuestro centro de operaciones en Pucón ya ha comenzado a llover, y con Ernesto sabemos que esto es una muy buena noticia. Les damos la bienvenida con el clásico asado de cordero al palo y les contamos todos los planes que tenemos para los siguientes días.
A la mañana siguiente continúa la lluvia, y escuchamos por la radio que CONAF ha levantado la restricción en los parques de La Araucanía y Los Ríos. Tenemos LUZ VERDE para nuestra aventura.
Subimos nuestro equipo a las 4×4 y salimos rumbo al volcán Lanín. Una fina lluvia de verano crea una cortina densa que impide que nuestros amigos puedan apreciar el paisaje. Nosotros sabemos lo que está detrás de ese manto gris, pero preferimos guardar silencio y concentrarnos en el armado de nuestro campamento base-1, ubicado en un punto secreto a los pies del Lanín y protegidos por un bosque de gigantescas araucarias.
Dan y los dos Matt se concentran en organizar y chequear su equipo audiovisual, René, Ernesto y Euan preparan las bicicletas para dejarlas a punto, y a mi con José nos toca sorprender al grupo con un rico risotto de cena y música de fondo (esa misma que escuchas al inicio del video del Trail Hunter en Chile). La lluvia no ha parado, y eso nos tranquiliza mucho, pues reduce el peligro de incendio y así los parques se mantendrán abiertos. (José es el multifacético que toca el Hang en el video)
A la mañana siguiente, la ansiedad me despierta al alba y al salir de la carpa no puedo evitar decir un WOW que despierta a todos. Si bien este paisaje es familiar para mí, verlo a primera luz del día, con el imponente volcán Lanín cubierto de una fina capa de nieve me deja boquiabierto. Las carpas y bicicletas también están blancas, con una capa de escarcha que comienza a irse rápidamente a medida que vemos los primeros rayos del sol al amanecer.
Ciabatta con huevos de campo, tocino y palta, bowl de frutas y un buen café de grano es el menú del primer “desayuno de campeones” que producimos con José. El aire está frío para ser una mañana de febrero, pero estamos en la montaña a 1.200 metros de altitud. El cielo no tiene ni una nube y el suelo humea a medida que el sol lo calienta y evapora la lluvia de la noche anterior.
Ernesto vaticina un día perfecto para andar en mountain bike, pues se levantará muy poco polvo y tendrán un grip ideal en el sendero. Como buen guía, reúne al grupo en torno a la cafetera y comienza con su charla técnica para el día que se nos viene.
Así pasamos los próximos cinco días, filmando, fotografiando, asombrándonos y pedaleando en las mtb, teniendo como telón de fondo a los volcanes Lanín, Quetrupillán y Villarrica. Recuerdo que Matt Hunter una tarde se emociona y nos dice: “no puedo creer que existan lugares así en la tierra y que se puedan recorrer en mtb; primero estás en medio de un bosque milenario con distintos tonos de verde, y después pasas por un terreno sacado de la película Lord of the Rings, con valles gigantes cubiertos de lava de antiguas erupciones”.
El resultado habla por si mismo, y aquí lo puedes ver:
3. EVOC SPORTS
Cuando conocí a Euan le vi usando muchos accesorios de la marca EVOC. No me tomó mucho tiempo comprender que son una marca muy innovadora, con productos muy bien pensados y de excelente calidad. Y con el antecedente de las otras marcas que ya habíamos atendido en Chile, asumí que era otra marca de Estados Unidos.
Después de otro exitoso tour de mtb que hicimos en Chile para clientes de Euan, él me comenta que lleva tiempo hablando con los dueños de EVOC, persuadiéndolos para que vengan al destino Lagos y Volcanes de Chile. Y me envía un correo de un tal Holger Feist que le pide a Euan una locación que tenga un terreno volcánico y un árbol milenario que había visto hace unos años en Argentina en un viaje de ski (refiriéndose a la Araucaria araucana). Los directores de EVOC buscaban un paisaje único para ser de fondo del catálogo 2019 de los productos nuevos de la marca, que serían expuestos como primicia en la feria EuroBike (la más importante del mundo en la industria).
Euan no quería repetir las misma locaciones que ya habíamos utilizado para asombrar a Yeti y Specialized, y con toda tranquilidad le dije que no se preocupe, porque esta vez con Ernesto teníamos en mente concentrarnos en el Geoparque Kütralkura, un territorio con sello UNESCO, lleno de volcanes y bosques de araucarias ubicado en la punta norte del destino Lagos y Volcanes.
Sabiendo ya qué buscan este tipo de marcas y que siempre traen a un team impresionante de expertos audiovisuales y riders, el itinerario que creamos incluía lugares como: Laguna Blanca y volcán Tolhuaca, Cañón del Blanco y Sierra Nevada, volcán Lonquimay y Cordillera Las Raíces, Quinquén y lago Galletue, lago Conguillío y volcán Llaima, y como guinda final a Pucón y el volcán Villarrica. Todo esto combinado con termas, geiser, cabalgata, comunidad Pewenche, y una mezcla de hoteles pitucos, lodge de montaña y camping.
Es el 1 de diciembre de 2018 y en el aeropuerto de Temuco es fácil identificar quienes serán nuestros mejores amigos por los próximos días. Son 5 gringos con gorra, polera, mochila y maletas EVOC. Los primeros en salir son Sebastian Bender y Benedikt Ruf, que por su equipo deducimos que son los expertos en audiovisual. Después sale Jan, Holger y Bernd (estos dos últimos los fundadores de la compañía). Junto a Ernesto y Euan les damos la bienvenida a La Araucanía y nos distribuimos rápidamente en nuestras dos camionetas, no sin antes hacer la primera sesión de fotos con las maletas Evoc World Traveler en el frontis del aeropuerto (las puedes ver en el catálogo).
Nuestra primera parada es en Curacautín, donde pasaremos una noche para hacer las últimas compras y distribuir la gran cantidad de equipo y accesorios que han traído a Chile para probarlos en terreno. Uno de los accesorios EVOC que no tenemos permiso de fotografiar son los de bikepacking (por temas de secreto industrial), que serán la novedad de la marca para la feria Eurobike.
Y es en esta primera conversa-reunión con una cerveza Lonquimay en la mano que noto un acento extraño en los cinco extranjeros. Su inglés no es nativo, y yo sin rodeos les pregunto: ¿no son ustedes de USA? Los cinco sueltan la risa y me dicen “no Cristián, somos de Alemania, pero no te preocupes, somos unos alemanes especiales, más relajados”, y vuelven a soltar otra carcajada.
A la mañana siguiente ya tenemos ambas camionetas cargadas al tope, con carro de arrastre incluido. Salimos rumbo al fundo Laguna Blanca donde la familia Knust nos espera. Desde su lodge y centro ecuestre ponemos la marcha 4L y subimos por un camino de montaña áspero, que nos lleva a los pies del volcán Tolhuaca junto a la laguna Blanca. Aquí el entusiasmo es total, la sonrisa de la cara es imposible borrárselas a estos 5 alemanes atípicos. Nos pasamos todo el día en el lugar, siendo uno de mis spots favoritos el valle inter-volcánico que se forma entre el volcán Lonquimay y el Tolhuaca, es como el altiplano de Atacama, pero con sendas araucarias.
Luego de noche hacemos la transición hacia el “barrio de Manchuria” y nos internamos por el cañón del Blanco, donde mi amigo Cristián Parra nos espera con un asado criollo. Llevamos recién un día y el grupo está eufórico con lo vivido. A la mañana siguiente salimos a caballo hacia los geiser de la Sierra Nevada, y finalizamos la jornada en un pozón de agua termal.
Esta mañana amanecemos en Corralco, haciendo un vuelco en 180° desde la cultura criolla a un ambiente moderno y sofisticado. Muy temprano ya están todos en la terraza del hotel, fotografiando la cara sur del volcán Lonquimay. “This is unbelievable, amazing, crazy landscape” son algunos de los adjetivos que reiteradamente me dicen nuestros huéspedes de EVOC. Y con Ernesto nos reímos porque sabemos que todavía queda muchísimo más para sorprenderlos.
Cargamos el equipo en las camionetas y salimos en las mountain bike rumbo al cráter Navidad. Nuevamente resuenan diversas expresiones de asombro y felicidad. ¿Cómo es posible que hayamos salido de un bosque verde y milenario junto al hotel, y 10 minutos más tarde estamos en un paisaje que parece sacado de la Luna o de Marte?, me preguntan Holger y Bernd. “Así es el destino Lagos y Volcanes” – respondo cada vez que la misma pregunta se asoma.
Recorremos extensivamente los alrededores áridos del cráter Navidad y le explicamos a nuestros amigos como se formó este cráter para la navidad de 1988 en una erupción que duró 1 año. Después Ernesto los anima a regresar al hotel haciendo un free-ride por las faldas del volcán, llegando a la terraza donde unas cervezas heladas los esperan junto a la piscina y el SPA.
Hoy nos toca conocer a los Pewenche, la gente que salvó a la araucaria de ser cortada, y para eso nos vamos a pedalear a Quinquén, donde la familia Meliñir nos espera en su comunidad. Un asado de chivo con puré de piñón es parte del menú que nos tiene preparado Joaquín, el hijo del Lonko de la comunidad. Recorremos senderos con vistas al Batea Mawida y al lago Galletue, y sumamos más escenarios en nuestras mtb con los accesorios de Evoc. Al caer la noche, junto al fuego en la ruka, y con un mate compartido, escuchamos atentos la historia de como esa comunidad logró que se declare a la araucaria un Monumento Natural, prohibiendo así la tala.
Nuestro viaje ya ha llegado a la mitad y todavía nos queda lo mejor. Ahora toca acampar y poner a prueba todo el equipo de bikepacking. Armamos campamento en el sector el Hoyón junto al lago Conguillío y con la Sierra Nevada de fondo. La noche está muy estrellada y sin luna, ideal para esas time-lapse nocturnas. A la hora del desayuno, Holger y Bernd nos cuentan más sobre los inicios de la compañía, y lo significativo de este viaje para ellos, pues cumplen 10 años como empresa.
Teniendo como campo base al lago Conguillío, Ernesto nos lleva a recorrer caminos y senderos del parque y una aventura un poco más extrema hacia el volcán Nevados de Sollipulli, en donde llegamos en mtb al cono Chufquén y al mismísimo glaciar del Sollipulli.
Finalmente, y ya un poco más cansados, nuestro tour llega a Pucón, donde concluimos el viaje por los senderos del centro de ski del volcán Villarrica, con las pistas Lengas, Flow y El Clásico. Por la noche vamos a uno de esos bares imperdibles del pueblo y hacemos incontables salud por el éxito del viaje y por haber coronado en mtb el destino Lagos y Volcanes.
Mira aquí el video de este viaje épico y profundo a La Araucanía.
Que tres reconocidas empresas del ciclismo de montaña del mundo te digan los mismos comentarios positivos de Chile como un paraíso para el mountain bike, no solo me llenan de orgullo, sino que me ratifican que tenemos todo para seguir desarrollando este deporte, en la naturaleza y con todo el respeto hacia ella.
¿Y tú, cuándo te animas a viajar con Amity y tu mtb?
During this unique bike and hike tour in Chile, especially designed by women for women, we will immerse ourselves into the ancestral culture of the Likan Antai people. In addition, we’ll explore the most beautiful spots around San Pedro de Atacama, by foot and by bike.
We will enjoy tasty local food, get to know local traditions. As well as discovering the open skies, and relaxing in natural thermal hot springs. Our very unique accommodation offers us perfect moments to relax and enjoy the yoga sessions and other well-being moments.
A tour for adventure women and nature lovers!
The Atacama desert is the highest and driest desert in the world. San Pedro de Atacama is surrounded by the Andes Range, the Salt Range and the Domeyko range. The main highlights are the Moon Valley, the Mars Valley, the Atacama Salt flat, the Altiplano, the geysers and the Andean lagoons (4000 meters above sea level). Thanks to the volcanic activity it is possible to find hot springs and active volcanoes such as Lascar and Putana. It has a variety of endemic bird species and flora species that makes it a unique place on earth. The indigenous people, who inhabits the charming villages are the Likan Antai people which culture has been alive for 12.000 years.
Likan Antai people
The Likan Antai or Atacameños communities maintain traditional ways of living alongside the oases and streams of the Loa River and the Salar de Atacama, without losing contact with the urban centers and current Chilean society.
Upon their arrival in the 16th century, the Spanish named the Andean population „Atacama“.During the centuries before the European invasion, the Atacameños used an unwritten language to name the local geography and the different ecological landscapes. According to the first linguists and travelers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Atacameño communities used the Cunza as their main language and called themselves, along with their territory, the compound word Licán-Antai.
The arid climate limited settlements to small and isolated oases. Each village was autonomous, made up of a group of related families under a chief working collectively. These villages or Ayllus were usually located on high ground, surrounded by defensive walls. The Ayllu is a form of extensive social community originating in the Andean region.
Weather in the Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is commonly known as the driest place in the world. Although the almost total lack of precipitation is the most prominent characteristic of the Atacama Desert, exceptions may occur. The Invierno Boliviano or Altiplano Winter is a phenomenon, which can produce rain and abundant electrical storms and occurs in January and February. The average rainfall is about 15 mm. (0.59 in) per year. Moreover, some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain. This desert is so arid that many mountains higher than 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) are completely free of glaciers. Indeed, only the highest peaks have some permanent snow coverage.
In San Pedro de Atacama, the local climate is extremely dry and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25ºC to 30ºC (77ºF–86ºF) in the summer (December to February) and 18ºC to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F) in the winter (June to August). Nighttime temperatures routinely drop below 0 °C (32 °F) and can reach as low as −10 °C (14 °F) in the winter.
The best season for hiking and biking in the Atacama Desert runs from mid June through mid November.
On day one for example we will first pass by Solcor, Sequitor & Tulor. Here we will make our first stop in order to visit the archeological site Tulor. One of the oldest archaeological sites in northern Chile, that was excavated by the famous archeologist Ana Maria Baron, a very inspiring woman.
Afterwards we will met a friendly Likan Antai woman and her family at the Ayllu of Coyo. She will share with us some of her daily activities and ancestral cosmovision. She has worked on emphasizing the ancestral caravan with llamas.
Then we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Coyo, where we will be able to taste typical food prepared with local products. Finally, we will bike back to the hotel, rest from the sun and get prepared four our afternoon excursion.
Local women and traditions
The third day of our trip also includes a great visit of the local women and their traditions. We will travel south towards the Altiplanic Lagoons, gaining altitude to enter the puna highlands and surprise ourselves with its particular vegetation: wildlife, lagoons and salt flats. It is where, without any doubt, the Miscanti Lagoon stands out: the largest in the entire Antofagasta region.
Later, we visit the town of Socaire, where the indigenous community still preserves part of the traditional Atacameñan way of life. In this small town, we will pay another great woman and her family a visit. The women of the family still keep alive the tradition of weaving, carrying out the complete process, from the spinning of wool to the production of the most traditional items in the area such as clothing and others.
We will enjoy lunch at the Guest House of the Indigenous Community of Socaire. After lunch, we will go to the town of Talabre, in the middle of the prepuna. There, accompanied by a local guide (mostly women) from the Talabre indigenous community, we will walk through Kezala, one of the gorges, that connects the high Andes Mountains with the Salar de Atacama basin. That treasure’s an invaluable archaeological heritage in rock art.
Later, we can enjoy a tasting of Lican Antai products before driving back to our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.
Yoga session and hotsprings
Have you ever experienced a yoga session in the driest desert of the world? If not, it is time to do so during our Women tour. We will enjoy a relaxing yoga hour with a professional teacher in a safe and protected area. It is a perfect activity to enjoy the splendid sunset and to feel the magic of the desert.
Depending on the lunar cycle we might even join a full moon women circle on one of the evenings during our trip.
In addition to the soul treatment during the yoga session we will also relax at the amazing and natural hot springs of Puritama. Immerse yourself into the unique landscape and relax your muscels in the natural pools after a nice hike.
Star-gazing and the Andean cosmovision
The night in the Atacama Desert, its starry sky and the presence of ancient fire, give life to a unique and unrepeatable experience. Here, the knowledge of the Andean cosmovision of the skies meets the scientific understanding of the stars.
We will combine traditional scientific astronomy with the ancient Andean vision of the first astronomers of the place. They have been long before the first telescope. As a complement, we will also have the possibility to observe the stars through a modern telescope.
Local handicrafts and shopping
Accompanied by our guide, we will walk through the streets of San Pedro. The focus will be to learn a little more about its history and formation. And to finish familiarizing ourselves with some of the challenges that characterize and influence social organization, politics and life in this place. We will visit the nicest shops with local handicrafts. That is when we will have time to find some souvenirs and gifts for our family and friends.
Our accommodation: Atacama Loft and Glamp
For this unique trip we chose a unique accommodation. The Atacama Loft & Glamp is a woman owned and managed accommodation with a very special atmosphere. Just a few car-minutes away from the busy center of San Pedro de Atacama. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the spectacular views or chat with a nice pisco sour at one of the cosy corners around the pool.
El Martes 6 de Octubre 2020, Eduardo Silva de FullOutdoor – la multiplataforma digital de estilos de vida, actividades y deportes al aire libre en Chile – se reunió virtualmente con Cristián Levy y Germán Pino, los socios principales de Amity Tours.
El COVID se instala en Chile y detiene las operaciones turísticas
Durante esta conversación, hablamos del impacto que ha tenido la crisis del COVID sobre la industria turística en Chile, y como han repercutido los efectos en la tur operación:
“Fue muy abrupto el corte de nuestra temporada, dice Cristián. Nuestra temporada de verano normalmente termina a fines de abril, pero ya el 15 de marzo tuvimos que devolver a un grupo de viajeros de Estados Unidos el mismo día que aterrizó en Chile, por orden del cliente emisivo. Fue complejo, y pensamos que iba a ser una cosa de semanas y al final se alargó un mes, dos meses, tres meses y ahora ya siete meses en eso…”
Luego comentó que, en Pucón (donde se encuentra la base principal de operaciones) afortunadamente por los pocos casos, el municipio y el área de salud local han podido llevar muy bien la trazabilidad de los casos. “Actualmente tenemos 12 casos activos, con un total de 110 casos en todos estos 7 meses, agregó. Aquí la mayoría de la gente vive en el campo, tú sales de tu casa y llegas al río, llegas a la montaña, llegas al bosque y esa conexión con la naturaleza no nos ha dejado como leones enjaulados… Al contrario, nos ha permitido reconectar, estar más tiempo con la familia, los hij@s, …”
Luego, Cristián nos explica como Amity nació de “un vuelvo abrupto en la vida” y como se le ocurrió a Alejandro Levy (el Papá de Cristián) hacer una empresa de turismo ligada a la naturaleza y al deporte. Alejandro es ingeniero textil de profesión, pero también amante de la montaña y del deporte. Tras la llegada a Chile de la crisis asiática en 2002, la industria textil en Chile empezó a morir y se quedó sin trabajo.
En este mismo tiempo, Cristián y Germán trabajaban como consultores junior en la Fundación EuroChile. Gerd Walther, jefe y mentor de estos jóvenes entusiastas, empezó a bromear sobre crear una empresa de turismo en Temuco, donde se había instalado la familia de Cristian a vivir, para así recibir a los clientes internacionales en esta zona del país.
La broma fue tomando seriedad cuando llegó la solicitud de una familia de Brasil, que quería venir a Chile a esquiar, pero no a los centros de ski típicos. Así, Alejandro y Cristián organizaron el viaje para esta familia, quienes se convirtieron en fieles clientes, viniendo a esquiar a Chile 10 veces más.
“Nunca pensé que hacer lo que más me gusta me pudiera dar dinero y con eso vivir!”, confesó Alejandro a Cristián.
Luego de eso, empezó a tomar vida Amity, con la compra de la primera van para poder recibir los primeros clientes de Inglaterra quienes vinieron a esquiar y conocer los volcanes del sur de Chile.
Durante los primeros 10 años de operación, el fuerte de la empresa fue el mercado europeo de habla inglesa que venía a esquiar los volcanes activos de la zona, y de habla alemana que venía a conocer los parques nacionales además de la flora y fauna local y de conversar con la comunidad Mapuche.
Tras la integración de Germán como socio de Amity Tours el 2011, la empresa se hizo miembro de la Adventure Travel Trade Association, que marcó un antes y después en la historia de Amity. Gracias a las cumbres anuales organizadas por la asociación, la captación del mercado norteamericano fue posible, lo que abrió muchas puertas de nuevos negocios. La adquisición de este nuevo mercado llevó Amity a atender a clientes extranjeros quienes buscan aventura, pero con confort de lujo.
Nuevos programas de aventuras en el Sur de Chile
Dados los cierres de las fronteras, y la imposibilidad de recibir a turistas extranjeros, Amity Tours ha estado trabajando en adaptar los programas de turismo aventura para el mercado nacional.
El desafío no fue menor, pero se logró diseñar experiencias de viaje para clientes quienes buscan aventura y confort, con la seguridad de contratar a una empresa registrada en SERNATUR que cumple con los protocolos nacionales e internacionales.
El próximo 14 de diciembre de este mismo año, ocurrirá un evento astronómico especial en los cielos del Destino Lagos y Volcanes. En efecto, se nos acerca el eclipse solar total, que se podrá observar al 100% desde La Araucanía.
Respecto al eclipse, Germán comenta: “Este fenómeno es tan importante que tiene que generar – nosotros lo hablamos de la óptica del turismo – riqueza para la comunidad local.Lo importante, es generar programas donde la comunidad local se involucra, y pueda participar de este reparto de ingresos. Porque si no, es un mal negocio para todos. Si uno no lo hace así, eso va a terminar siendo un desastre con mucha gente en el territorio dejando pocas lucas y muchas toneladas de basura.”
Desde esta visión, diseñamos un programa súper exclusivo. Pues, nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tiene una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
La expertise con la que contamos del Destino Lagos y Volcanes nos dio la capacitad de elaborar una experiencia del eclipse “a contra-reloj”, es decir ingeniada para evitar el flujo de la gente y así evadir los inevitables tacos que se podrán generar debido al evento solar.
Amity Tours, Empresa líder del Destino Lagos y Volcanes
Cabe destacar que Amity Tours es local en el Destino Lagos y Volcanes. Y éste destino son 3 regiones: la región de La Araucanía, la de Los Ríos y de Los Lagos. En línea recta, son casi 500 kilómetros, que cuentan con una ruta escénica llamada Lagos y Volcanes, llena de volcanes nevados y miradores, acceso a parques nacionales, grandes lagos, termas, colonos europeos, y pueblos originarios, todo a muy poca distancia.
“Es un parque de diversiones. A alguien que le gusta la actividad al aire libre. (…) Hay pocos lugares así en el Mundo”, Germán comenta.
Respecto a la riqueza natural del territorio, Cristián finaliza declarando: “lo que nos gustaría a nosotros, poder dejar en todos los clientes que nos visiten, que se enamoren de la misma manera que nosotros estamos enamorados de la naturaleza de Chile.“
Cabe destacar que internacionalmente, Chile no solamente se luce por la belleza natural de sus paisajes. En efecto, Chile fue elegido 4 veces como mejor Destino Mundial de Turismo Aventura por los World Travel Awards (2016, 2017, 2018 y 2019), y 5 veces como mejor Destino de Turismo Aventura en Sudamérica (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 y 2019).
No te pierdas esta interesante entrevista, y entérate de las mejores sorpresas de viaje que tenemos para cuando se pueda volver a viajar!
“Estoy sobrecogido, yo había visto un eclipse casi total, pero entre un eclipse casi total y uno total hay una diferencia enorme, porque los dos minutos de la totalidad son sublimes, son como de otro planeta. Se vio la corona alargada con unas puntas hacia arriba y unas puntas hacia abajo, y además, la luz cambió de tono, era realmente lindo y además nos dio bastante frío”. Estas eran las palabras del doctor, y rockstaen astronomía y astrofísica, José Maza, el año 2019 al observar su primer eclipse total en Chile, emocionantes e increíbles considerando su trayectoria y todo lo que ha vivido en el ámbito de la astronomía.
Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
En términos generales, es inusual que eclipses totales de Sol consecutivos sean visibles en un mismo país. Sin embargo, debido a los 8.000 kilómetros de longitud que tiene Chile, se da la posibilidad única de observar durante tres años seguidos espectaculares ocultamientos de nuestra estrella brillante y caliente de hidrógeno y helio – el Sol.
Eclipse solar el 14 de Diciembre 2020
El eclipse, como ya muchos saben, se volverá a repetir el lunes 14 de Diciembre, pudiéndose observar en su totalidad en la Región de La Araucanía, más precisamente en las cercanías del Lago Villarrica, destino Lagos & Volcanes.
Y según muchos expertos, en comparación con el fenómeno del 2019, el eclipse que se producirá en Diciembre en La Araucanía será aún más espectacular. No sólo porque se observará en uno de los destinos turísticos más bonitos de Chile, rodeado de volcanes y lagos, ni por su relación con el pueblo Mapuche y su cosmovisión. Sino porque será a pleno día, con el sol justo arriba de nosotros generándose así un cambio radical pasando desde un día soleado (estamos trabajando para que esto suceda ;-)) a la penumbra absoluta de la noche por exactamente 2 minutos y 7 segundos (60 segundos si lo vemos desde el Rancho Santa Amalia en nuestro tour exclusivo).
Seguridad en tiempos de COVID
Las buenas noticias han llegado esta semana desde las instituciones encargadas por velar por nuestra seguridad en tiempos de Covid. Finalmente, estamos permitidos a transitar por Chile casi con normalidad. Los traslados sin necesidad de un permiso entre comunas y ciudades, se podrán hacer solo en aquellas que se encuentren entre las últimas tres etapas del programa Paso a Paso. Es decir, en fase de preparación (lugares donde la cuarentena ya se levantó, salvo para grupos de riesgo), etapa de apertura inicial (donde disminuye el grado de confinamiento) y apertura avanzada (donde se levanta la cuarentena para la población en general).
Pucón, hoy, se encuentra en Fase 4: Apertura Inicial.
Con esta extraordinaria noticia, todos quienes quieran venir a ver este fenómeno astronómico, lo podrán hacer tomando todos los resguardos necesarios. En este sentido, Amity Tours ha implementado los máximos protocolos que la industria ha diseñado, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional.
Nuestro programa exclusivo para ver el eclipse
Para quienes vengan, hemos preparado una exclusiva experiencia de 5 días diseñada especialmente para familias con hij@s que quieren venir a vivir días que serán inolvidables. Uno de los aspectos importantes que hemos diseñado es, evitar los eternos traslados que se producirán por el movimiento de gente. Para lo cual hemos diseñado los trayectos para intentar evitar el colapso vial sin dejar de vivir una experiencia única.
Nuestro tour Eclipse Araucanía lo diseñamos en conjunto con el Rancho Santa Amalia. Lugar único en Chile, escondido en un rincón del lago Colico. Rodeado de bosques milenarios y una cancha de polo privada para quienes se animen a jugar o tan sólo montar a caballo. Ahí serán atendidos por sus dueños. Disfrutarán de la hospitalidad del sur. Pero con todas las comodidades y servicios esperados de un hotel.
¡Nuestra recomendación es que se apuren en reservar, ya que este paraíso sólo tiene capacidad para 24 personas!
Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
An exclusive and carefully crafted adventure led by three of the most iconic adventure companies of Chile: Amity Tours, BirdsChile and Chile Nativo Travel. A lifetime experience exploring on foot, bike, raft and kayak the most spectacular landscapes of northern and southern Patagonia. This exclusive program covers and connects the wild and diverse landscapes of two Scenic Routes: The Lake and Volcano Route + Route of Parks of Patagonia.
In this tour you will discover Conguillío National Park, starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees, explore the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of Pumalin Park (Douglas Tompkins legacy), and finish with a stunning finale in Torres del Paine National Park
Nature, diversity, local communities, and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences led by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!
Different sustainable concepts in one tour
We have been strategizing on how to develop a product which benefits are given back to local communities, supports conservation, and that the trip integrates the REWILDING concept. All of which posed to be the biggest challenge incorporating these exact concepts into a multisport program.
Cristián, Raffaele and Gonzalo – the CEOs of the three adventure companies – went together on a creative retreat, laying out the first draft itinerary and agreeing in the key factors to success with an epic and transformational multisport tour in Patagonia.
As a result, they came back with a unique itinerary connecting the Lake & Volcano Route and the Route of Parks of Patagonia, covering 1.400 miles (2.300 km) between Conguillío National Park and Torres del Paine.
The trip was ready to launch for the 2020/2021 season but it was postponed due to Covid international travel restrictions. However, this amazing trip was officially launched during the AdventureELEVATE virtual event and now 2021-22 dates are already confirmed.
Before we dive deeper into the highlights of the trip, we want to introduce these two iconic scenic routes with a short video:
Lake & Volcano Scenic Route
Route of Parks of Patagonia
The efforts of conservations in these lands were skeptically accepted at the beginning, provoking a controversy among Chileans, politicians, and part of the population.
Here another video to show the controversy:
Now, an especially important detail of this topic of conservation is Rewilding and the adaptive form of Rewilding in Tourism, which is a new way to power the art of traveling, transforming it from a high consumption product of tourism to a real and genuine act of empathy. Let’s talk a little more in depth about REWILDING.
What is rewilding?
We like to separate the two concepts: Ecological Rewilding and Tourism Rewilding. While ecological rewilding means “to return an ecosystem to its original state”, we have to understand that Tourism Rewilding is “adapted to tourism because we cannot erase the human impact completely”.
The Patagonia National Park has a rewilding concept with one of the highest global standards. If you want to know more about the rewilding process in the Patagonia National Park, you can take a look at this video. The story of Douglas Tompkins is intimately related to this park that became part of the largest donation of private lands ever made, and the first step for the creation of the Route of Parks of Patagonia.
During our multisport trip we are part of a Tourism Rewilding concept. This is not the only reason why we talk about a sustainable project. Moreover, we operate the tour only in small groups (8 guests max.), trying to focus on low-impact activities. That allows us to have a traceable and measurable trip. So, between the three companies we can collect data and publish exact numbers about the real social, economic and environmental impact. Furthermore we support local NGO’s for educational and conservation programs such as Fundación Legado Chile, and Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.
More about our Zero Waste concept
In all of our self-operated group departure tours we do focus on our Zero Waste Concept. First of all, we reinvented our picnic tables and box lunches. Wherever possible we changed to local suppliers and focused on organic processes. We eliminated single use plastic products and separated all unavoidable waste for recycling. During the last season we visited our most important local partners such as hotels and restaurants to involucrate them into the Zero Waste program. At the moment we are working on our Climate Emergency Plan. And we are part of the Climate Action Leaders Community.
How do we incorporate the local community?
Our brand-new Multisport Tour focuses also on the local communities, their culture, habits and history. We want to give our international guests the opportunity to learn more about the ancestral heritage of the Mapuche People. This proud nation has a huge influence in the Lake and Volcano District. We are able to get to know a friendly family, who shares with us their way of life between the actual progress and the ancestral heritage.
In our rewilding work on day 6 of the tour, in the city of Llanquihue, we will combine this regeneration effort to work with local communities, creating a virtuous circle where nature gets restored and communities get benefits.
Furthermore we meet the friendly Kawésqar women. They started and initiative to rescue their culture. Valuing the ancestral heritage that they inherited from their canoe ancestors of Kawésqar. The vision of this project is to generate, in a collaborative way and through the dialogue between indigenous communities and interested people, the best strategy to value the culture and ancestral Kawésqar heritage. Through initiatives that benefit the original people, its members, culture, and the ancestral territory.
We will learn about the traditional basket weaving. This local art of mainly Kawésqar women has been transmitted by their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters. They kept alive the beautiful handwork with a thin vegetal fiber known as jonquil.
Multisport activities on the Route of Parks Tour
We love the adventure and want to share this feeling with you. We kick-off the trip hiking among volcanoes and ancient Araucaria trees. Then we jump on our bikes and travel southbound Pedalling the Lake and Volcano scenic route is a great way to appreciate the stunning nature with the perfectly cone-shaped volcanoes, pristine lakes, and beautiful national parks.
Afterwards we leave the bikes behind and continue by water, rafting the turquoise rapids of Petrohué river. Then we follow Carretera Austral by foot. Exploring active volcanoes, hidden waterfalls, and the Northern Fjords of Patagonia. Finally, one of the highlights of the trip is definitely the day kayaking in Torres del Paine. Paddling in between floating icebergs and descending the Grey River is something you will remember forever!
A trip of your lifetime
The Route of Parks, a Patagonia Collection Program, is a lifetime experience for the traveler seeking the awe and wonder that Patagonia provokes in all of us. This multisport journey exploring on foot, bike, and kayak connects some of the most spectacular landscapes of northern and southern Patagonia.
This exclusive program takes travelers to the base of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucarias of Conguillío National Park. To the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park. Last but not least, a stunning finale at the wild and diverse landscapes of the Torres del Paine National Park.
Travel must be an act of empathy
During the last ATTA Elevate event we had a wonderful, and educational session filled with great conversations from participants from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.
The result? Conservation is not enough anymore. Travel must be an act of empathy. Travel must regenerate communities and ecosystems, and as a leader in our trade, and as travelers ourselves, we must make conscious decisions to transform. Transform our programs, our products, and ourselves into something greater – even if that means making certain sacrifices such as smaller group departures and lower-impact travels. The effects of travel must be measurable and traceable.
We are convinced that travel MUST regenerate our public and private lands, environments, ecosystems, and communities.
Are you looking for a real adventure in South America? Would you like to share it with other women travelling together? Our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia is the perfect match!
During this unique women-only trip in Patagonia, you will enjoy the beauty of the Torres del Paine National Park. Also you will get to know very important entrepreneurs women. And for sure, you will get connected with your spirit during the private yoga and meditations sessions.
Hike and kayak with the best views of Torres del Paine Massif. Walk through the wilderness, kayak on pristine rivers and lakes, and enjoy tracking wild horses off-the-beaten path. Be part of the positive impacts generated in the Torres del Paine National Park. On this tour you will help the Legacy Fund in a special reforestation project. The comfortable Riverside Campsite and the authentic Patagonia Bagual Camp will be your home far away from home.
This is an unforgettable Multisport adventure to entice all outdoorsy types together with other adventurous women.
We carefully created all our women adventures to give solo female travelers or friends the possibility to explore our country in a unique way. We packed all the trips with great and relaxing moments like massages, hot tubs, hot springs or yoga sessions. Travelling in small groups is a great way to experience a country. And of course also getting to know other people from around the world. On a women only tour the focus of wellbeing and connection to the Mother Nature are the main goals we want to achieve. Last but not least, as we love the adventure, our trips are all fulfilled with unforgettable adrenaline moments.
Some special activities during our Multisport Women Tours in Patagonia
Getting to know the Kawesqar women
The first activity on our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia takes place in the little town of Puerto Natales. Here we will meet the friendly Kawésqar women. These women started and initiative that responds to the need of the indigenous communities to rescue their culture. Valuing the ancestral heritage that they inherited from their canoe ancestors of Kawésqar.
We will learn about the traditional basket weaving. This local art of mainly Kawésqar women has been transmitted by their grandmothers, mothers, aunts and sister. They kept alive the beautiful handwork with a thin vegetal fiber known as jonquil. Through weaving the artisans will take you to know in first person not only their techniques and methods to weave the jonquil, but also their personal stories and history. In the beginning the basketworks were used to transport food collected by theses nomadic canoe-gatherers and hunter-gatherers. Afterwards they were exchanged with non-perishable food of modern ships travelling through ancestral territory. Nowadays the famous baskets are sold as an exclusive piece of art and design.
The cultural elements -such as: language, the cosmovision, storytelling, basketry, medicine, the collection of shellfish and eggs, fishing in the sea, the hunting of birds and mammals, together with the great knowledge of navigation, diving, the geography of its territory and the coexistence with its environment of which we are part- those who motivate this group of young Kawésqar and friends to begin this path of study, rescue, visibility, and conservation of the treasure that today possess the old and new Kawésqar. Of alive or intangible heritage, to enthuse firstly the indigenous communities themselves, other original peoples and all those who wish to know more about the Kawésqar people.
The vision of this project is to generate, in a collaborative way and through the dialogue between indigenous communities and interested people, the best strategy to value the culture and ancestral Kawésqar heritage. Through initiatives that benefit the original people, it’s members, culture and the ancestral territory.
Collaborate with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund
Another interesting project we will not only visit but also collaborate, is the reforestation monitoring with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.
The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund is a non-profit initiative of Sustainable Travel International dedicated to ensuring a more sustainable future for Torres del Paine National Park and its surrounding communities. Launched in 2014 in response to challenges posed by rapidly increasing visitation to this iconic yet fragile landscape, the Legacy Fund mobilizes and implements collective stewardship of one of the world’s most cherished and spectacular natural wonders. It partners with local and international businesses, municipalities, park authorities, and visitors to collaboratively raise funds, awareness, and execute local sustainability projects that:
Restore and protect ecosystems
Improve tourism infrastructure and mitigate visitor impacts
Promote community development
Diversify recreational & cultural opportunities for residents and visitors.
Facts about Torres Del Paine National Park
In 2018, more than 285,000 people flocked to Torres del Paine National Park, considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. This figure represents double digit annual and five-year growth rates and is not expected to abate in the near term. Such intensive use and overcrowding have placed significant strain on the region’s unique flora and fauna, aging infrastructure, insufficient resources, and local population. Since 1985, three man-made fires, all started by tourists, have ravaged almost 1/5th of the park’s area, including native lenga tree forests, home to the black woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), Cachaña (Enicognathus ferrugineus) and the endangered huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisculus), amongst other endemic and endangered species now facing drastically reduced and altered habitats.
Naturally occurring forest fires are nonexistent in this part of the world. That means when a species like lenga is devastated by human-induced fires, it won’t automatically recover. As a result, humans must intervene to rehabilitate and revegetate these ecosystems.
In response to the fires, Chile’s National Forest Corporation, CONAF, began ecological restoration efforts to accelerate recuperation of the park’s damaged forest ecosystems. Lenga seedlings are cultivated in a nursery until they are ready to be transferred into the park. They are then replanted in small clusters, or “nuclei,” of 100 in the least resilient fire-affected areas. To date, more than 900,000 lenga seedlings have been planted in the park.
Our support during the trip
The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund supports CONAF’s restoration efforts by monitoring reforested lenga nuclei. A combination of volunteers and tourists, YOU in this case, will join us on field expeditions to collect data on the health and growth of the young seedlings. This collaborative citizen-science effort will help inform CONAF to improve reforestation efforts in Torres del Paine.
Yoga session at a unique spot with a professional instructor
There is no women tour where we do not incorporate a private yoga session. On this tour a professional yoga teacher will guide us through a 1.5 hours Hatha Yoga Class. Which will be accompanied by a meditation session of around 1 hour. This experience will depend on weather conditions as it takes place under the open sky, with stunning views over the National Park.
Tracking wild horses in a extraordinary surrounding
On day 5 of our tour we’ll hear a short but interesting introduction to the area’s history and the evolution and characteristics of the wild horses. With the help of satellite tracking equipment, coupled with our guide’s experience and knowledge, we’ll begin our trek, searching for the 100 untamed horses that remain isolated in this sector surrounded by mountains, lakes, and plains, in the most pristine and untouched terrain of Torres del Paine. Depending on the location of the horses, we’ll choose a place to have lunch and share our stories and experiences. The experience of tracking, observing, and analyzing the horses in such natural surroundings is incomparable. Additionally, we’ll be privy to fantastic views of Lago Stokes, the Cordillera Dickson, and the imposing Towers.
A unique accommodation during our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia
The Riverside Campsite is located within Torres del Paine National Park. The fully equipped campsite is located on the shores of the Serrano River, away from the buzz of crowded Refugios and campsites. The double deluxe tents are located on raised platforms, protected against the bracing Patagonian elements. Inside, the double-height mattresses, cozy down covers and heaters do operate during the evening to ensure a warm night’s rest. Permanent, separate male and female bathrooms with hot showers are just a short walk from the tents.
Meals are abundant, delicious and shared in a dedicated dining lodge with views of the Paine Massif’s changing colors and spacious room to lounge, relax, and enjoy great company. The buffet breakfasts, design-your-own packed lunches and chef-prepared three-course dinners are a nourishing mix of local delicacies and high-energy foods to fuel our days’ adventures. Think king crab, lamb, power bars, endless vegetables, eggs, cereals, jams and local cheeses. Vegans, vegetarians and guests with other dietary needs are more than catered for with a range of alternative milks, gluten free breads, vegan cheeses and soy products. And of course, beer, Chilean wine and Pisco sours mark the perfect end to a day’s trekking.
The own hostess is always onsite to answer questions and to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible.
En Amity Tours, no tenemos ninguna duda que nuestros guías son el principal capital que tiene nuestra empresa, con quienes hemos desarrollado una relación fraterna de amistad y preocupación mutua. Nuestros guías son los mejores guías del Destino Lagos & Volcanes, conocen cada rincón del territorio, y lo más importante, están involucrados en las raíces de las comunidades locales.
Sabemos que la primera y última cara que ven nuestros clientes es la de nuestros guías. Tenemos un equipo pequeño, pero estamos seguros es el mejor. Y no son solo palabras, pues cada año tenemos unos 20 postulantes y usualmente nos quedamos con 1 o 2.
Personas que por sobre todo sientan pasión por lo que hacen, sepan trabajar en equipo y tengan un gran corazón.
En este blog, presentamos a 3 de nuestros guías más queridos: David, Rubén y Francisco. Todos tienen historias de vida diferentes, pero que comparten su pasión por las actividades al aire libre, el deporte, la competencia, el humor y los trabajos comunitarios.
Todos nuestros guías deben pasar un riguroso proceso de selección y tener al menos la certificación “Wilderness First Responder”, curso certificado que entrega las herramientas técnicas necesarias para responder de buena forma en casos de accidentes en terrenos complejos como montañas, ríos o bosques.
DAVID JOOS, 7 años guiando en Amity Tours
David, el con más experiencia (por no decir el más viejo ), es rescatista del Cuerpo de Bomberos de Chile, montañista, reconocido instructor de kayak, con varios triatlones en el cuerpo y certificado en WFR. Quienes han tenido la mala fortuna (o buena suerte) de tener un accidente durante sus tours, han visto cómo responde un verdadero profesional ante estos dramáticos eventos, que varias veces han requerido su gestión experta.
Ir en tour con David es un constante reír y disfrute, pues él siempre se las ingenia para conquistar a los viajeros a través del humor. David es muy entusiasta, siempre alegre y con una actitud positiva ante la vida.
¿Cómo te llaman tus amigos y compañeros de trabajo?
¿Cuál es el tour que más te gusta guiar?
Bike and Hike tour alrededor de Pucón
¿Cuál sería el peor trabajo que podrías tener?
Hacer lo mismo todos los días
¿Cuál es tu deporte favorito para practicar?
Kayak y triatlón (ya son 4)
¿Cerveza o pisco sour?
Cerveza, ¡y mucha!
¿Rutera o MTB?
Ambas bicicletas me encantan
Si pudieras ser un animal ¿cuál serías y por qué?
Pato correntino, se mueve tan elegante entre el agua y el aire
¿Carne o pastas?
Pasta con carne
¿En una escala de 1 a 10, cuan “cool” eres?
¿Qué te hace reír?
Las tallas chilenas con doble sentido
¿Qué te hace enojar?
Los celos de mi señora
¿El cliente siempre tiene la razón?
¿Cuánto tiempo te toma estar listo en la mañana antes de un tour?
¿Comida que menos te gusta?
¿Qué es mejor para ser guía, la experiencia o un diploma?
Experiencia, por sobre todas las cosas
Si pudieras vivir en otro lugar ¿dónde vivirías?
Patagonia, Carretera Austral
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta y lo que menos te gusta de tu trabajo como guía?
El contacto con la gente; tener problemas en el tour fuera de tu alcance para arreglar
Si ganaras 1 millón de dólares ¿qué comprarías?
Una casa rodante “filete”
¿Dónde estarás en 3 años?
En Pucón con una pequeña empresa de poda
RUBEN PAILLALEF, 8 años guiando en Amity Tours
Rubén, orgulloso descendiente del pueblo Mapuche, fue uno de los primeros guías que tuvo Amity Tours para sus viajes de cicloturismo. Triatleta destacado, montañista, con certificado WFR y capacitaciones en USA y Europa, pasa su tiempo “libre” subiendo al volcán Villarrica, sacando fotografías y trabajando en su huerta, siempre en contacto con la tierra, su familia y comunidad.
Rubén reconoce todas las plantas y animales del bosque, es buenísimo avistando e identificando especies de flora y fauna para que nuestros visitantes conozcan más de la naturaleza que están viendo. Es un ciclista muy fuerte, que seguro te acompañará si quieres exigirte en la bicicleta.
¿Cómo te llaman tus amigos y compañeros de trabajo?
Indio, Rubén, Kapurra (chivo)
¿Cuál es el tour que más te gusta guiar?
Bike tours en rutera.
¿Cuál sería el peor trabajo que podrías tener?
Un trabajo que no me complementa y que no me valoren
¿Cuál es tu deporte favorito para practicar?
Triatlón y todo lo que se desarrolle al aire libre
¿Cerveza o pisco sour?
¿Rutera o MTB?
Ambas me gustan
Si pudieras ser un animal ¿cuál serías y por qué?
Un lobo, porque le gusta trabajar en equipo y son fundamentales en el ecosistema que viven.
¿Carne o pastas?
¿En una escala de 1 a 10, cuan “cool” eres?
¿Qué te hace reír?
Humor con mis compañeros
¿Qué te hace enojar?
La deslealtad y el mal trato
¿El cliente siempre tiene la razón?
No, pero no tiene por qué saberlo 🙂
¿Cuánto tiempo te toma estar listo en la mañana antes de un tour?
¿Comida que menos te gusta?
Mariscos con yodo
¿Qué es mejor para ser guía, la experiencia o un diploma?
Definitivamente la Experiencia
Si pudieras vivir en otro lugar ¿dónde vivirías?
Donde existan volcanes activos
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta y lo que menos te gusta de tu trabajo como guía?
El contacto con la naturaleza y conocer gente nueva; la fragilidad económica de nuestro trabajo
Si ganaras 1 millón de dólares ¿qué comprarías?
Tierras y un buen viaje junto a mis queridos.
¿Dónde estarás en 3 años?
Probablemente en el mismo lugar igual de feliz
FRANCISCO DUATH, 5 años guiando en Amity Tours
Juan Francisco, el más joven de nuestros guías y el último en integrarse al equipo, lo conocimos cuando tenía 23 años en Huilo-Huilo y supimos en ese mismo momento que tenía el ADN que Amity Tours busca en sus guías.
Trail-runner por excelencia (o por su costumbre de andar por los cerros de Neltume), fue invitado a correr a una de las principales pruebas de esa modalidad en Santiago, lugar donde había estado pocas veces, y considerado un principiante aún, se corono campeón, todo gracias a su determinación por superarse. Allí la prensa especializada lo bautizó como el “bagual de Neltume”.
En los tours que Francisco va de guía, los viajeros siempre le toman un gran cariño, por su carisma, humildad y gran capacidad física.
Su principal preocupación es su comunidad, en especial los niños de Neltume, por esto lidera el proyecto Bagualito Bike Park donde dedica su tiempo a enseñar a los niños locales sobre la importancia del deporte, el mountain bike y la determinación para salir adelante en la vida.
For us at Amity Tours, a luxury nature tour is all about the experience, the disconnection and the unique feeling of freedom in a trip throughout Chile.
We’d love to share with you our definition of luxury!
The philosophy of Amity Tours
First of all, we are proud to call ourselves a boutique adventure tour operator from Chile, where luxury nature tours are our standard.
At Amity Tours, we are all fanatics for new adventures. Our guides are living in a constant adventurous state, showing and sharing the most beautiful places of Chile to our fellow travelers. Our drivers are always on the move, they can’t stand still and love to explore new places on our scouting trips. Likewise, the whole office team spends its free time in a national park, or on a camp ground together with friends and family.
That is why one of the main cornerstones of our philosophy is ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we define “adventure” as an experience where culture and nature are the main elements.
As George Morgan-Grenville once said: “Luxury travel today is defined less by thread count and Michelin stars and more by access to the people, places and experiences that represent all that is authentic about a destination. There’s no denying that comfort factors still apply and high standards of accommodation and dining will always feature on the luxury traveler’s wish list. However, today’s luxury traveler seeks more depth of understanding and immersion into local culture than ever before. People don’t just want to see – they want to participate. The sales process is also critical and whilst the online proposition can be an asset in terms of booking more simple arrangements, clients looking for luxury experiential travel require a deep level of sophisticated knowledge and confidence during the sales process.”
There is no better way in explaining our definition of luxury tours at Amity.
We definitely do not support luxury tourism without considering the impact it might have for the natural environment. Luxury tourism should never compromise nature, such as helicopter trips over national parks or high speed boat trips on pristine lakes.
To us, comfort doesn’t come in a “heli”. The negative impact of these kind of exclusive adventures for the wildlife is huge. There are many case studies, which prove the negative impact of helicopter flights for the natural surroundings. That is why we don’t think it is worth enjoying a short flight in a fragile environment while there are so many other great ways of connection to special places in the world.
We think that the real luxury on an adventure trip are the unforgettable experiences we make during the voyage. Experiences, which will leave a mark in our memories – as we learn more about a local place and culture.
Here are the luxury moments you can find during our nature trips in Chile:
Reaching natural thermal hot springs after a great cycling day over green rolling hills with the view of three volcanoes. No better luxury moment than relaxing our tired muscles in the thermal waters and listening to the sound of the cold river next to us. Check out this and much more unforgettable experiences in our bike tours.
Getting to a pristine beach after hiking through a thousand-year-old forests together with local indigenous guides. After the challenging hike in an almost unknown trail, a friendly local family is waiting for you in their typical housing, and offering freshly seafood – from the sea directly to the table. Interested in their ancestral seafood gathering? Join them during an afternoon on their simple wooden boats.
Enjoying a private Yoga session in Atacama, the World’s driest desert, with a professional instructor. After a mystical highlands tour that includes hiking around geysers, we will get back to our very special accommodation. Here we can enjoy a deep connection with the nature and our spirit. This unique Yoga session is one of the many highlights of our Bike and Hike Women Tour in the Atacama Desert.
Have you ever dreamed about Backcountry Skiing on an active volcano? When traveling with Amity Tours, you get the opportunity to spot lava after a challenging climb and then enjoy the unforgettable off-piste downhill skiing. A real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Having a private Polo field, an exclusive lake front Lodge and stables full of polo horses to choose from. Santa Amalia Ranch is one of the most exclusive polo getaways in Southern Chile. It is situated next to the pristine Lake Colico, and immersed in the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve.
Ready for an exclusive luxury experience?
Learning how to make an ancestral recipe from a famous Mapuche chef, while collecting the ingredients as we hike in the forest.
Embarking with local fisherman to birdwatching among the sunken forest in Chiloe Island. Feel the untouched nature and listen to the singing of the native birds. Our Conservation Tour is full of magical moments.
A great dose of adrenaline during the whitewater rafting on the Trancura, Fuy, and Petrohue rivers. No better way to experience the force of the water and the importance of good teamwork. We are sure that these are one of the luxury moments during our Family Adventures.
Horseback ride with panoramic views of the Paine Massif in Patagonia. A truly luxury moment for every nature lover during our Multisport Tour in Patagonia.
In all of our luxury nature tours in Chile you will experience several “wow” moments.
Our bespoke team of travel designers are experts in curating the best tailor-made luxury travel experience for you. We know how to surprise you with details that make the difference.
What about a cold local brewed beer under an ancient Araucaria tree after an Andes climb?
Or what about a five-star picnic after an unforgettable mountain bike descent on an active volcano?
Or a Chilean folk-dance lesson in bicycle jerseys just because we passed by a traditional trade fair with live music?
We are not only trying to minimize our negative impacts. We even maximize benefits to the environment and local community through different practices such as:
Being part of the expert team while creating the first UNESCO Geopark in Chile, Kütralkura (Rock of Fire, in native language).
Implementing sustainable tourism practices for the local indigenous communities in Chile.
All this is part of our Responsible Travel Policy, which is defined as following:
We believe and work in the universal standards put forth by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (Based on the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism), and we adopted the criteria specifically in these four areas:
Demonstrating effective sustainable management
Maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community and minimizing negative impacts
Maximizing benefits to cultural heritage and minimizing negative impacts
Maximizing benefits to the environment and minimizing negative impacts
En Amity Tours estamos conscientes de la relevancia que tiene el servicio de alojamiento en la evaluación de la experiencia por parte de nuestros clientes. Por lo que, durante nuestros 17 años de vida como tour operador, hemos profundizado nuestras relaciones comerciales con los mejores alojamientos en Chile y en el destino Lagos y Volcanes.
¿ Cómo seleccionamos los alojamientos en nuestras experiencias de viaje ?
La selección de hoteles y lodges no es un proceso fácil en Amity Tours. En jerga chilena, seguramente entramos en el grupo de “tour operadores mañosos” ya que no nos conformamos con sólo entrar y observar que sus habitaciones, baños y lobby estén limpios y con una estética adecuada. O bien quedarnos una noche y verificar que el desayuno y la atención de su personal son buenos. Ni menos que nos dan una buena “tarifa” y comercialmente es conveniente. Para Amity Tours, todos los detalles que puedan incidir en la experiencia de nuestros clientes importan, desde lo más trivial hasta lo más complejo, desde lo más tangible a lo más intangible asociado. Por ejemplo, a las emociones que cada cliente pueda sentir durante su estadía.
Dentro de los intangibles, uno de los temas más importante y que ha tomado mucha relevancia para nosotros en la última década, es la relación del alojamiento con el ecosistema, natural y social, donde se emplaza (para más detalle pueden ver nuestra política de “Zero Waste” y nuestro “Climate Emergency Plan”). Desde su relación con la comunidad local, el aporte a las economías locales a través del uso de productos generados por las mismas comunidades, y sin duda por su nivel de compromiso frente a los temas que afectan el medio natural y su manera de gestionarlos, hoy resultan fundamentales, ya que forman parte de la experiencia que viven nuestros pasajeros y son transmitidos, desde las emociones vividas, a nosotros cada vez que obtenemos el feedback de ellos al final de cada tour.
Según los testimonios de nuestros clientes, el Top 4 de alojamientos del destino Lagos y Volcanes que han superado sus expectativas, tanto por su nivel de servicio, emplazamiento y las emociones que les ha generado hospedarse allí son: