Chile – A journey from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean

Cordillera las Raíces

Chile is about 4300-kilometers long. We all talk about the extreme diversity from north to south. But did you know that in the average width of only 177 kilometers you can find an impressive natural and cultural diversity too? We take you on a journey from the Andes to the Pacific through the Lake and Volcano District.

 

Pichillancahue Glacier Hike
Hiking to the Pichillancahue Glaciar

First of all, some facts about the geography of Chile

In Chile, there are four large strips of relief, which give the physical environment a markedly longitudinal character.

These are:

  • The Andes Mountain Range, high and wide in the north, which descends to the south.
  • The intermediate depression, with high plateaus in the north.
  • The Cordillera de la Costa, lower than the Andean heights, but with difficult access to the sea.
  • The extensive Chilean shoreline with its equal coasts from Arica to Chiloé and dismembered towards the south of the country.

The Andes mountain range constitutes an imposing wall. Whose altitude gradually descends from north to south. Starting at the heights of the Nevado Ojos del Salado (6,893 m) in the province of Atacama, reaching  the modest peaks of Darwin (2,135 m), in the province of Magallanes.

Its colossal heights on the western slope are of climatic and economic importance. It acts as a climate screen, intercepting the western humid air masses and forcing them to rise and precipitate on its slope. Thus, it is how it is transformed into the reservoir of water and snow that it generates in rivers. These cross our country transversely and serve to irrigate the fields of the intermediate depression, supply water to urban agglomerations and allow energy to be obtained through hydroelectric plants.

Chile’s numerous rivers are relatively short; they are generally born in the Andes and flow west towards the Pacific. Thus, in the northern and central regions they feed mainly by the eternal snows that cover the Andes. While most of the great Chilean lakes, including the Llanquihue, concentrate in the wonderful southern lake region.

The natural and cultural diversity in only 150 kilometers

Let us get an idea about the divers landscapes in only 150-kilometers width. We take you on a imaginative trip from east to west to our beautiful Lake and Volcano District!

 

Cordillera las Raíces
Cordillera las Raíces

The Andes Mountain Range

Starting at the Andes Mountain Range we dive into the mystical Araucaría (monkey puzzle tree) forests and connect to the millenary species around us. Therefore we hike through deep forests, cross by crystal-clear lagoons and breath the fresh air of these altitudes. Meanwhile we imagine the daily life of the inhabitants in this area.

The local mapuche communities (Pewenches) are named after the Pewen – Araucaria, being its fruit the central element of their diet. History relates that the Mapuche were mainly engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. However, the Pewenches have been noted for being gatherers and ranchers. It is argued that the Pewenche “owned herds of llamas, which made them herdsmen-farmers who used wool. As for agriculture, the vegetation provided them with herbs and wild fruits. They cultivated corn, potatoes, beans, goose and quinoa, among which the pehuén”(Acosta, 2004: 4). Today, this ancient practice of collecting the gülliw – piñion – is maintained, starting the most characteristic process today: the “Veranadas” at the beginning of March.

 

Piñion, Araucaría fruit
Piñon, Araucaría fruit

 

Before continuing our journey towards the west, we climb up one of the magical volcanoes in the area. Let us try to reach the top of the very active Villarrica Volcano. We might even spot some lava on the top! Therefore we cross a glacier and prepare ourselves for some strong winds.

As soon as we reach the top we get impressed by the volcanic activity of the Villarrica (or Rukapillan, in the Mapuche language). Moreover the scenic view overlooking the beautiful lakes, rivers and volcanoes around will take your breath away.

The countryside and its prairies

Now, as we got to know the Andes Mountain Range, it is time to visit the flatter areas. Around the lakes, like Panguipulli, Villarrica and the second biggest Lake of Chile, Llanquihue, we enjoy the harmony of the green prairies, the wide rivers and the wheat fields. Lay back and feel the calm lifestyle on the countryside.

 

Chilean Lake and Volcano District Prairie
Prairie of the Chilean Lake and Volcano District

 

In this flatter area the Nagche and Wenteche Mapuche communities settled their homes. They mostly live from the agriculture and cattle breeding. In addition to the Mapuche families, many German immigrants found their new home in the Lake and Volcano District. Around the big lakes we find many German styled houses and can feel the German influence also on the menus. It is easy to understand, why these area is famous for its great cheese and beer…

 

Getting to the Pacific Ocean

Before we reach the coast, we have to take a deeper look at the very unique Valdivian rainforest. Were we count with an unusual diversity of tree species, many of which are unique in the world. Especially the Valdivian jungle stands out for its beauty. Some species of conifers in the Chilean forest are among the longest-lived in the world, for example the larch. Therefore we can enjoy some nice walks through thousand-years old forests with a dense undergrowth. Classified as a very special temperate forest, it counts with several specimens of native animals such as the Monkey of the bush, Pudú, Choroy parrot and the Black-necked Swan.

 

Reserva Alerce Costera
Larch trees at the Alerce Costero Reserve

 

Not only the landscape changes, while we get closer to the coast. Also, the habits and name of the local mapuche communities changes: Lafkenches (people belonging to the sea) use the coast as a settlement. They have an economy and way of life closely related to the sea and marine resources (fish, shellfish, marine mammals, etc.).

 

Shellfish Mapuche Lafkenche
Shellfish Mapuche Lafkenche

 

Finally on the Pacific Ocean, we get impressed by the lonely beaches, the ruff shores and the cold sea. While during the migration season (sep-may) we might even observe some delfines and whales close to the coast. Without any doubt getting to the Pacific Ocean after climbing up an active volcano, crossing by the harmonious prairies and getting lost in the dense Valdivian jungle is a the jewel in the crown.

 

Mapu Lahual Pacific Ocean
Mapu Lahual Pacific Ocean

 

Do you want to explore the Epic Pacific Coast trails?

 

Source: www.cultura.gob.cl/estudios/observatorio-cultural

Total solar eclipse in Pucón on December 14, 2020

solar eclipse 2020

Where will the phenomenon take place?

Chile is the perfect place for star gazing. On December 14th 2020, the focus will not be on stars but on the total solar eclipse.

Pucón is going to be the center of attention during this special day. The solar event is going to last 2h 50min. The eclipse will start at 11:41am with a total darkness at 1:04pm.

This very special phenomenon occurs 884 years after a similar astronomic event in the area. The Araucanía región is the territory where mainly resides the indigenous Mapuche community.

Map Chile Solar Eclipse
Foto credit: http://eclipseschile.gob.cl/index.html

Signification of a solar eclipse in the Mapuche cosmovision

 

Mapuche Ruka Woman
Señora Rosario, member of the Mapuche community
Foto credit: Jonatha Jünge

Many centuries before modern astronomy and its sophisticated telescopes, Mapuche people were already related to the cosmos. It was an important tool to predict the weather and influences on the land.

In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native language, a total solar eclipse is called “lai antü” or “lan antü”, which means “death of the sun”. This phenomenon is also known as “malonji ta antü” (they came to cover the sun or attack the sun) or “zumiñii antü” (the sun darkened).

This event is expected with respect, since the sun represents the way of understanding time. The „lai antü“has a strong content, so designating the death of the sun implies the suspension of time, a change of cycle for the star, a change in the process. Faced with this phenomenon of time suspension that affects nature.

A partial eclipse usually means a good year for the community. But a total eclipse is a bad omen for humanity, including the possible death of a dear and respected chieftain.

Despite the negative interpretation of the event by the Mapuches, in the occidental culture this natural phenomenon is a true once in a lifetime experience. In addition of being the capital of adventure tourism in Chile, Pucón will be the lucky host of the total solar eclipse 2020.

Safety recommendations during the eclipse

  • Do not look straight at the sun without proper eclipse glasses (certified ISO 12312-2)
  • Do not stair at the sun using your camera, telephone or binocular
  • Kids have to be supervised by an adult during the whole event

Pre and post travel options around Pucón

Do not miss your chance of getting to know the best travel options around Pucón. Take a look at our top travel experiences especially designed for active nature lovers.

Contact us for any group request or tailor made program.

Quetrupillan and Lanin Volcano
Quetrupillan and Lanin Volcano

Climbing the Villarrica, Chile’s most active volcano

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to climb Chile’s most active volcano ? Find out why this experience is truly unique and a must-do excursion if you plan to visit Pucón!

Without a doubt, you’ve definitely heard about the incredible diversity of landscape inside the Chilean territory. If you like going on adventures in nature, Chile should appear on your next travel destinations list. Thirsty for thrilling and unique excursions ? Then climbing the Villarrica, Chile’s most active volcano, is for you!

Description and last eruption

The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters), or Ruka Pillañ in Mapundungún, is a Chilean stratovolcano located in the southern section of the Western Andes. It is situated at the limit of the Araucanía Region and Los Ríos Region, between the Villarrica and Calafquén Lakes. The slopes of the volcano are divided between the cities of Villarrica (North-West), Pucón (North-East) and Coñaripe (South). Finally, it is one of the most beautiful volcanoes of Chile because of it is perfectly cone-shaped, in addition to have a snow-coated summit all year long.

Currently, it is administered by the CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal or National Forest Corporation). The volcano and surroundings form the Villarrica National Park which is a protected area.

With an open crater of 200-meter of diameter, where at the bottom lies a permanent magma lake with a varying depth of 50 and 100 meters. The level of the lava constantly goes up or down. This lake always presents an intense fumerole, frequently accompanied by a weak eruptive activity.

Since 1558, there have been at least 90 volcanic eruptions registered. The most recent happened on March 3rd of 2015 at about 3:00 am. The most energetic phase lasted approximately 55 minutes, characterized by an eruptive column that reached between six and eight kilometers in height. Vertically from the crater,  the emission of lava reached up to 1,5-kilometer high.

Following the eruption, the Villarrica National Park around the volcano was closed until the end of the year. As of today, the ski center opens for the ski season every year, along with the organized excursions to the top.

 

 

The Villarrica Volcano or Ruka Pillañ in the Mapuche’s cosmovision

In the Mapuche’s native language, Mapudungun, the Villarrica Volcano is named Ruka Pillañ, which means “House of the ancients’ spirits”. For them, the volcano is inhabited by the main spirit of nature who owns it. It is a kind of spirit from of the hills and volcanoes. Alongside this tutelary presence, there would inhabit some other minor spirits in relation to nature, but extremely powerful.

In other words, the Villarrica and its inhabitants take a very special place in the Mapuche’s cosmovision. The simbolism is clear: associated with the good, in opposition with the Llaima volcano that they associate with the bad. As a result, the propitious Rucapillan inspires beneficial dreams and “good weather”, whereas the Llaima transmits bad omens.

Finally, the Villarrica is symbolically related to a group of other elements associated with the positive. For example the colors violet and green, the Moon, the stars in general, the South and the East.

mapuche people of the land
The Mapuches are the people of the land.

Ascent to Villarrica Volcano’s open crater

 

Open crater with a view

 

If your next travel destination is Chile, you definitely have to add the visit of Pucón and the excursion to the top of Villarrica Volcano. Not only the amazing 360° panoramic view will blow your mind, but you will feel the unique sensation to step on Chile’s most active volcano.

As this activity requires optimal conditions, the hike mostly depends on the weather. A clear sky and a minimum wind are the required conditions for the hike to be safe. During this excursion, 3 professional mountain guides and assistant will accompany the ascent, along with a mountain gear. This includes: gloves, helmets, snow pants, mountain boots, crampons, ice axe, and mountain bag.

The ascent is available almost all year long, but the level of difficulty mostly depends on the season. In summer, the hike is easier for the snow only covers the crater, thus making the climb accessible to every hiker. In winter, the snow fully covers the Villarrica volcano and the hike gets more difficult. It usually requires a good physical health since hiking on snow during 6 hours can be exhausting, but definitely worth the effort.

Excursion

 

villarrica volcano
Villarrica volcano ascent

 

Usually in Amity, we set the departing hour early in the morning. At 6:30, we gather with our mountain guides and leave towards the ski center. Once arrived, we put on our mountain gear, and then the ascent begins.

In summer, we use the ski lift, in order to gain approximately 1 hour of walking. Then begins the hike, which lasts roughly 4 to 6 hours depending on the group’s walking pace. All along the climb, the view is mind blowing as the summit gets closer. Before reaching the open crater, we’ll take a pause to enjoy the view, relax, and get to refill energy with a picnic lunch.

At around 1 pm, we reach the summit which is the ultimate reward of the hike. A stunning view over 8 different volcanoes, 6 lakes and the valley surrounding the volcano awaits you. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to observe some lava flows depending on the magma lake’s level.

After then, we begin the descent. It basically consists in sliding down the volcano. In winter, enjoy skiing down the slopes of the volcano which is truly an incredible to live for every ski lover!

 

open crater
Open crater with fumerole

 

If you’re interested in climbing the Villarrica volcano, we highly suggest you to take a look at our hiking tours.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want a tailor-made trip in the Lake and Volcano including the climbing of Chile’s most active volcano!

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Amity Tours supports Torres del Paine Legacy Fund

Hiking Tour Patagonia Experience Torres del Paine Chile

Amity Tours is proud to announce that we are supporting the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.

Torres del Paine Legacy Fund and Amity Tours

Since our first year of operations in 2003, our commitment has always been to contribute to the sustainable development of our country through the practice of “Responsible Tourism”. This is one of our most important values.

Amity Tours is fully committed to the people of Chile and the World in order to conserve the ecosystems that are present within the Chilean territory. One of the most spectacular destinations in Chile is Patagonia, the region where you can explore and discover Torres del Paine National Park.

However and without a doubt, tourism in Torres del Paine National Park is growing. Increased traveler visitation is directly correlated to positive economic benefits for the region and provides a strong opportunity for community development. To ensure the long-term sustainability of this growth investments are needed for the responsible management of the destination’s unique cultural and environmental assets. The park has suffered three major man-made forest fires since 1985, and the increasing foot traffic from the growing number of travelers along the iconic W and Circuit treks has put the trails in need of repair.

The Legacy Fund believes that each new traveler to Torres del Paine represents a new opportunity to give back, and seeks to transform each arrival into a reason for hope and action. In partnership with public and private entities that cater to travelers in the region, the Legacy Fund works to promote social and conservation issues before, during, and after stays while also investing both financial and human resources into action projects that promote solutions for long-term destination growth.

Amity Tours’ commitment with this cause is to allow every traveler going to Torres del Paine to support the conservation actions in Torres del Paine National Park.  This can be done by donating money or your time and work, if you can, to participate in some of the conservation actions.

The Legacy Fund Mission is to work with travelers, businesses and local residents to prioritize sustainable development concerns and solicit resources to invest in the long-term health of Torres del Paine National Park.

The Legacy Fund Vision is for Torres del Paine National Park to be seen as a world-class destination where visitors work in parallel with residents to promote conservation through travel and tourism.

Legacy Fund Objectives:

  • Repair the ecosystem and minimize visitor impacts
  • Update and improve tourism infrastructure
  • Support community development
  • Enhance recreation opportunities and tourism product

Bike Tours in Chile 2015 and 2016

Have you thought about where you are going this year on your bike? If biking is your passion and the weather at home is not ideal, here in South America the Sun is shining for you!

Whether you have one or two weeks saved for vacation time during your winter, we invite you to join us in one of our bike tours in Chile between November 2015 and April 2016.

Get your friends together and visit The Lake and Volcano district in Chile.  Amity Tours can tailor-make any tour for you and your fellow riders.  Tell us what you want and we will make sure you get it.  For now, until we hear from you… this is what we have with confirmed departure:

Lake Panguipulli - Chile's 7 Lake Route
Lake Panguipulli – Chile’s 7 Lake Route

Confirmed Departure Chile 8 days Bike Tour, November 2015 and April 2016

Discover the Lake & Volcano District cycling Chile’s southern back roads and the brand new Lake & Volcano Scenic Way. Explore this fascinating part of the country dominated by clear-water lakes and amazing live volcanoes. Together with friendly locals, you will pedal alongside the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks, visit local ethnic villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.

Click here to access the detailed itinerary: Bike Tour Chile 8 Days

Highlights

During 8 days you will visit the following places:

  • Chile’s first Geopark Kütralkura and the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve
  • Bike alongside Lonquimay Volcano, Malalcahuello and Altos de Bio-bio National Reserves
  • Climb The Andes Mountains on a brand new road bike, Cannondale
  • Pucon city; Lake Caburgua and Huife Hot Springs
  • Bike alongside Chile’s Seven Lake Route
  • Bike around Llanquihue Lake and climb the road up Volcano Osorno … if you can!!!

 

Price per person USD $3,350, based in double occupancy.
Single supplement USD $750
Bike rental USD $250 for the whole tour, Cannodale CAAD-8 105
Confirmed Departure Dates: November 16th to 23rd 2015 and April 4th to 16th 2016

 

Villarrica National Park Ride - Lanin Volcano at sight
Villarrica National Park Ride – Lanin Volcano at sight

 

Confirmed Departure Chile 12 days Bike Tour, December 2015 and February 2016

Discover the Lake & Volcano District cycling Chile’s southern backroads and the brand new Lake & Volcano Scenic Way. Explore this fascinating part of the country dominated by clear-water lakes and amazing live volcanoes. Together with friendly locals, you will pedal alongside the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks. You’ll also go hiking surrounded by ancient monkey puzzle trees, visit local ethnic villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.

Click here to access the detailed itinerary: Bike Tour Chile 12 Days

Highlights

During 12 days you will visit the following places:

  • Chile’s first Geopark Kütralkura and the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve
  • Bike alongside Lonquimay Volcano, Malalcahuello and Altos de Bio-bio National Reserves
  • Climb The Andes Mountains on a brand new road bike, Cannondale
  • Enjoy Chile’s Adventure Travel capital: Pucon city; Lake Caburgua and Huife Hot Springs
  • Hike in Huerquehue National Park, Pucon’s most popular hiking trails.
  • Spend New Years’ Eve in Pucon and party with a great fireworks show
  • Bike alongside Chile’s Seven Lake Route
  • Hike in the awarded Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve and support its conservation
  • Bike around Llanquihue Lake and climb the road up Volcano Osorno … if you can!!!

 

Price per person USD $4,950 based in double occupancy.
Single supplement USD $1,200
Bike rental USD $350 for the whole tour, Cannodale CAAD-8 105
Confirmed Departure Dates: December 28th 2015 to January 08th 2016; February 21st to March 3rd 2016.

 

Bike and Hike in Chile - Pucon area.
Bike and Hike in Chile – Pucon area.

Bike and Hike Tour Chile 8 Days.
Confirmed departures every Saturday in January and February 2016

Discover the Lake & Volcano District hiking and biking Chile’s southern backroads. Explore this fascinating part of the country dominated by clear-water lakes and amazing live volcanoes. Together with friendly locals, you will pedal alongside the Lake & Volcano Scenic Way, including  the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks. Likewise, you’ll hike in one of Chile’s best National Parks, climb Villarrica volcano, visit villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.

Click here to access the detailed itinerary: Bike and Hike Tour Chile 8 Days

Highlights

During 8 days you will visit the following places:

  • Climb The Andes Mountains on a brand new road bike, Cannondale
  • Enjoy Chile’s Adventure Travel capital: Pucon city; Lake Caburgua and Huife Hot Springs
  • Hike in Huerquehue National Park, Pucon’s most popular hiking trails.
  • Climb Villarrica Volcano, Chile’s most active volcano.
  • Bike across Villarrica National Park and reach the base of Lanin Volcano.
  • Bike alongside Chile’s Seven Lake Route

 

Price per person USD $2,220, based in double occupancy.
Single supplement USD $675
Bike rental USD $100 for the whole tour, Cannodale CAAD-8 105
Confirmed Departure Dates: Every Saturday in January and February 2016

Schon bestätigt: Rennradtouren in Chiles Vulkan- und Seengebiet, Winter 2015/16

bike tours chile october november 2016

Dem Winter in Deutschland entfliehen und einen einzigartigen Urlaub verbringen geht ganz einfach: und zwar mit unseren Rennradreisen in einer der schönsten Regionen Chiles, dem Vulkan- und Seengebiet.

Entdecken Sie das Vulkan- und Seengebiet Chiles auf die bestmögliche Art und Weise – auf einem Cannondale Rennrad. Unsere einzigartigen Touren führen Sie zu den schönsten Orten im grünen Süden Chiles. Auf Strecken von durchschnittlich 50-80 km am Tag fahren Sie entlang glitzernder Seen und Flüsse und haben dabei einen atemberaubenden Blick auf die gewaltigen Anden. Und werden außerdem schnell merken, dass an jeder Ecke ein aktiver Vulkan darauf wartet von Ihnen bestaunt zu werden! Diese einmaligen Touren werden Ihnen noch lange in Erinnerung bleiben.

Folgende Termine sind bereits bestätigt:

 

Diese Highlights warten auf Sie:

  • Unterbringung in 3-, 4- und 5-Sterne-Hotels
  • Professioneller Guide, der die gesamte Zeit an Ihrer Seite ist
  • Begleitfahrzeug bei allen Fahrten
  • Die Fahrten können individuell erweitert werden
  • Typische Mahlzeiten in familiengeführten Restaurants, immer begleitet von exzellenten chilenischen Weinen
  • Fahrt entlang der 7-Seen-Route und

 

Und zusätzlich auf der 12-tägigen Tour:

  • Besuch des Huilo Huilo Naturreservats
  • Silvester-Special: Menü und Feuerwerk in Pucón

 

Buchen Sie jetzt und erleben Sie einen einzigartigen Urlaub mit uns!

 

3 Amazing Ski Resorts of Chile Lake and Volcano District

Corralco Mountain Resort (Lonquimay Volcano)

Corralco is one of Chile’s newest ski centers but in just a few years, it has become a very popular place for skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. All of our ski tours in Chile include a couple of days in this wonderful ski center. From beginners ski tours to backcountry skiing around active volcanoes, this ski center is one place we don’t leave out the itinerary. Not to mention, this place has the best powder snow in the south of Chile.

If you are here on our Chile Luxury Tour, we spend a couple of days skiing and backcountry skiing assisted by snowmobiles.

 

Araucarias Ski Resort (Llaima Volcano)

This beautiful Ski center is inside the Conguillio National Park. This national park is surrounded by Araucarias, Chile’s famous tree. The name says it all, you will be skiing in a forest of these unique umbrella-like trees that only grow on high altitudes.

This ski center is on the slopes of the Llaima Volcano, one of the most active volcano in Chile.

Here you can count on having a good time skiing whether you are taking lessons for the first time or if you’re back in Chile for your second or third ski tour.

 

Bosque Nevado Mountain Resort (Mocho-Choshuenco Volcanoes and Huilo Huilo)

This magical mountain center located in the middle of Patagonia offers you the best back country skiing in the south of Chile.  If you want to do some off-piste skiing, there are snowmobiles available too.  These snowmobiles can also take you to the glacier of the Mocho and Choshuenco Volcanoes. Because of this ski resort exceptional beauty, whether you are backcountry skiing or just taking a ride on the snowmobiles, you will feel the mesmerizing beauty of its surroundings all over you.

Chile 6 days Bike and Hike in the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve Tour 2015 2016

Amity Tours invites you to discover the Lake & Volcano District hiking and cycling Chile’s southern backroads. Explore this fascinating part of Chile dominated by beautiful lakes and amazing live volcanoes. You will pedal alongside the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve, including the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks, visit villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.

Highlights of our Bike and Hike In the Araucarias Biosphere Tour, Chile.

During 6 days you will visit the following places:

  • Chile’s first Geopark Kütralkura and the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve
  • Bike alongside Lonquimay Volcano, Malalcahuello and Altos de Bio-bio National Reserves
  • Climb The Andes Mountains on a brand new road bike, Cannondale
  • Pucon city; Lake Caburgua and Huife Hot Springs

View Tour