Why Frutillar Should Be a Must-Visit on your Chilean Checklist
Plus, meet Caitlin!
Greetings from Santiago de Chile! My name is Caitlin McNamara, and I’m the latest addition to the ever-expanding team here at Amity Tours as your new Senior Travel Expert. Whether you have a question about an upcoming planned adventure or are looking to design your own tailor-made travel experience, I’m here to help! I’ve been fortunate enough to study, work, and create so many wonderful memories here in Chile since 2015, and by far my favorite aspect has been being able to share my love for everything this tiny country here at the end of the world has to offer with guests from all over the world (bonus points if you’re also from the Midwest! 😄)
As such, part of my role here at Amity is to highlight the “need to know” about what your travel experience will look like, be it a bike and hike adventure in the driest desert in the world or an exhilarating journey on e-bikes through some of Patagonia’s most iconic landscapes. Given that one of our most popular tours is through the idyllic Lake & Volcano District in southern Chile, I thought there’s no better place to start than introducing one of the region’s lesser known but must-see destinations on your visit: the charming city of Frutillar.
Much like Puerto Varas, one of the region’s most beloved attractions, Frutillar is known for its German colonial heritage, lakeside landscape, and stunning views of the Osorno Volcano from nearly every angle as you walk along the main coastal road. I was lucky enough to visit twice: the first time back in March of this year to finalize my permanent residency in Chile (but that’s a story for another day!), and again this past October ahead of meeting up with the rest of the team in Pucón for our Annual Guides Training. On both occasions, I fell madly in love with all the hidden and not so hidden gems it had to offer. If you’re planning a trip to the region and are looking a place to spend a day to explore, there’s truly something here for everyone! Take a look at my top 5 personal recommendations for things to do while you’re in town:
1.) Teatro del Lago.
Frutillar is known of the “City of Music” and was the first Chilean city (not to mention the southernmost city in the world) to be declared part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2017. Many international musicians who come to Chile will insist on adding Frutillar to their tour list, with even some only visiting this city during their time in the country. Nearly all of these performances take place at the Teatro del Lago (Theatre of the Lake), which was built in 2010 and hosts the biggest classical music festival in Chile every summer. Located on the shores of Lago Llanquihue, it’s become a stunning addition to the lakeside views and a destination in and of itself when visiting the city. If you’re lucky like I was, you can take in a performance of classical music, opera, or maybe even an international concert during your stay, or take part in a guided tour throughout the theatre’s amphitheater, concert halls, multipurpose salons, and exhibition areas. There’s also a lovely walkway that wraps around the outside of the theatre with places to sit and take in the scenery, as well as a coffee shop and restaurant to have a meal with a view after your visit.
2.) Museo Colonial Alemán.
For history lovers, the German Colonial Museum is a great way to learn even more about the rich heritage of the area while immersing yourself in beautifully maintained gardens and restored buildings that date back to the arrival of the first migrants in 1856. The museum opens daily and is home to an original family home, warehouse, and water mill filled with artifacts, furniture, and machinery from the era. At times during my visit, I honestly forgot I was in Chile! I recommend coming during a quieter moment when the museum first opens to really be able to enjoy the serenity and be transported to a Frutillar of yesteryear with only the sound of the birds and gentle stream of water from the mill for company.
While all of us here at Amity love to get the blood pumping with invigorating bike circuits and a nice challenging hike, we also love to rest, recoup, and rejuvenate in style! When I first visited Frutillar in March, I wanted to treat myself to a relaxing day of self-care to celebrate finally being recognized as a Chilean permanent resident, so I took the advice of the woman running the B&B I was staying at and checked out Cancagua, a gorgeous retreat center tucked away on the edge of Frutillar Bajo. As it turns out, it’s also one of the Amity team’s favorites, too! Here, you can book half day or full-day programs involving massages, yoga, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and my personal favorite, the spacious geothermal and aerothermal hot tubs. I opted for a deep-tissue massage and hot tub experience and was not disappointed: after a wonderful massage, I had my own private sustainable hot tub big enough for 10 people that was immersed within the trees and had a fantastic sunset view of the lake below. You can also indulge in a charcuterie or veggie board as you unwind during your 2.5 hour soak, and if you’re like me, you also won’t miss the opportunity to try one of the nice local craft beers they offer either! This is a great option for guests looking for a little well-deserved pampering during an otherwise very active adventure, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion during your time in Chile.
4.) Food & Drink.
Much like our attitude toward relaxation, here at Amity we also know the importance of incorporating excellent local food and drink into our adventures, and the gastronomic offering while exploring Frutillar is no exception. During both of my visits, I was able to try some of the city’s top-rated spots that suit nearly all palates and budgets, and I can honestly say that none of them disappoint! If you’re looking for a place with a view for a romantic dinner, look no further than right where we started at the Teatro de Lago at Fuga del Lago, a restaurant specializing in nikkei fusion cuisine and excellent wine and craft cocktails. Be sure to try the tofu chaufa even if you’re not a vegetarian, it’s a delicious way to get your veggies after a long day of cycling or hiking! For a relaxed lunch option in a trendy environment, the Biergarten Tropera will hit the spot with its variety of local artisanal beer, pizza, and appetizers to share on spacious wood tables surrounded by craft beer artwork from all over the world. For meat lovers, there’s no better place than Restaurant Asado Patagón, which is just a stone’s throw from Cancagua. The owners are friendly locals who will almost certainly attend you themselves and explain the history of the property (the colonial house behind the restaurant is from the 1890s) while serving you a glass of recommended local wine. One important tip: come hungry! Each menu option comes with a choice of protein, salad, side, dessert, and drink, not to mention the delicious homemade sopaipillas to start you off. Based on my experience, I recommend this one once you’ve done all you’re hiking and exploring for the day, because the only thing I wanted after finishing my meal was to curl up for a lakeside snooze!
You cannot talk about Frutillar without giving well-deserved attention to its shining star: kuchen! This German-style cake is the first thing that comes to mind for most Chileans when they think of Frutillar, and with good reason: it’s for sale practically everywhere you go, and it’s absolutely delicious. Kuchen is a type of sponge cake filled with fruit and often topped with a crumbly streusel, and for many families it’s a staple for tea time (known in Chile as la once). The best part? Almost everyone in Frutillar, tourists and locals alike, will order a big piece to-go from one of the many kuchen shops and munch away as they stroll along the lake. Well, when in Rome, so for both of my visits I chose a yummy berry kuchen with streusel and indulged in this classic sweet treat while sitting by the glistening water of Lago Llanquihue. Warning: this will almost certainly attract the attention of the local (and very hungry) birds, so be sure to not take your eye off your cake as you enjoy! Not that I’m talking from experience, of course…😜
I hope this gives you plenty of inspiration as you plan your trip to Chile, as well as many good reasons to make sure Frutillar is one of the highlights of your itinerary. Feel free to get in touch if you have any other ideas or questions, and I can’t wait to hear from you soon!
I just returned from an epic bike tour in southern Chile: Estancias & Ebikes in Patagonia.
I was invited to test a new e-mtb tour with one of our key partners in Patagonia. After two years of planning and designing the perfect bicycle tour in Patagonia, we finally were able to put it to a test.
One of the biggest challenges of cycling in Patagonia is the weather, especially considering the windy conditions that can at times reach up to 60 mph gusts in the summer months (mid-December to early March). We made several previous attempts and learnt our lessons the hard way. So, along with my friend Gonzalo “Pampa” Fuenzalida, an expert outfitter in Patagonia, having studied every corner of the map and knowing the key vendors throughout Ultima Esperanza province, (as well as my expertise in bicycle tourism), we were eager to finally hit the backroads on brand new electric hard-tail mountain bikes.
The plan was to put together a bike tour that not only will include the amazing landscapes of Patagonia, but also the fantastic cultural aspects of its many Estancias, which are the cattle ranches that still operate in the surroundings of Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park. Gonzalo has been working with the “estancieros” (ranch owners) to become a tourist attraction without losing their cultural roots, and he certainly did a wonderful job.
In 2001, Gonzalo started his company focusing on his #1 passion, horseback riding, and this ebike tour follows the same routes made by horseback. Even the first European explorers such as Lady Florence Dixie and William Greenwood rode in awe of the wilderness of Patagonia, so there is a strong historical heritage on every pedal stroke we took.
During 7 days, we ebiked 215km (133 miles) and stayed in comfortable Estancia guest houses, all simple and very cozy, located in front of jaw-opening natural settings. This well-supported and guided bicycle tour included a private chef that cooked all our meals and snacks. I didn’t feel guilty about all those extra calories, as biking on ebikes is still an active sport; you need to push through and get your heartbeat going since this pedal-assisted bikes will only work if you keep pedaling.
Bicycle Tourism, the smart way
The one thing I love the most about bicycle tourism is that I consider it the smart way to travel and discover a new (or already familiar) destination. While travelling on your saddle, you can cover long distances (between 40km and 100km per day) and take-in all the elements that are surrounding you. You can enjoy the views, hear the sound of nature (animals, wind, rivers, bugs, etc.) and smell all the aromas (good and bad alike). You are completely immersed in the landscape, and only after you experience an adventure like this, you realize how much you miss out when you are in a car or van.
The most fabulous part? You start your morning by biking from one hotel to the next one, and as such you can stay active all day. That way, in the evening you can eat amazing local food and indulge in local wine and beer to your heart’s content, turning your weight watch app on airplane mode with the knowledge that you’ll burn off all those hard-earned calories with tomorrow’s ride.
The magic of pedal-assisted electric bikes
All things considered, I’m a pretty average cycling enthusiast, I’m in my mid-forties, I don’t train, and you will never see me taking part in a bike race. That said, I genuinely love biking and try to do it as much as possible. I feel so lucky that biking tours are part of my job, and I take each and every opportunity to get on a bike.
In 2018 I started experimenting with electric bikes. It was with my friend Gonzalo that we took a self-guided bicycle tour in Italy, with the twist of including ebikes as part of the experience. That trip really blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how pedal-assisted bikes worked. You sweat and your heart beat faster, but on the hills or windy sections, you just press the button to sport or turbo mode and you are flying uphill at 25 or 30km/h.
You can keep all the fun and take the pain you put into your body out of this equation of happiness – no more pain or suffering and just fun and joyous biking. I used to take painkillers and muscle rub cream for my knees after every ride. I was sore, tired and happy with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, and now with the ebikes I’m still so very happy but can forget about my aching joints. The Estancias and Ebike tour in Patagonia was no exception; just as much fun, and without the pain.
Ebike tours in Chile
At Amity Tours we are convinced electric bikes will bring in more and more people into bicycle tourism. Knowing that a pedal-assisted bicycle is available on all our tours will take away all your fears. You’ll definitely won’t be at the tail of the group, and those hilly roads will not be an excuse to skip the “book now” button. That’s why we have partnered with Specialized bicycles and now we offer the most modern bike fleet for your next bike tour in Chile, with both analog and electric bike options.
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!
Stretching from Temuco city in La Araucanía Region, down to Puerto Varas in Los Lagos Region, traveling through this world-class destination is a must-do when visiting Chile. Indeed, the famous Lake and Volcano District is a fascinating territory thanks to its biodiversity and exuberant nature.
If you consider yourself a true nature lover, you will find there a unique paradise on Earth. Ancient evergreen forests, crystal-clear lakes, active volcanoes, whitewater rivers, ancient glaciers and eternal snow peaks of the Andes mountain range. The wild, lush and exuberant nature of southern Chile is home to the most memorable and eco-friendly travel adventures like hiking or cycling.
In this article, we made you a list of our favorite national parks in the Lake and Volcano District. There, you will be able to experience the true identity of Chile’s top destination.
Conguillío National Park
The Conguillío national park is located 148 kilometers north-east of the city of Temuco. It covers a total area of 60.832 hectares. In Mapundungun, the word “ko-nquillio” which means “pine nuts in the water”. The name is based upon the abundance of the araucaria trees and the surrounding lakes shaping the landscape 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.
Consequently, the Conguillio national park receives an average of 100.000 visitors a year, making it one of the most visited parks of Chile. Recently, it was designated by the BBC as one of the last places on earth protecting the landscape where once lived the dinosaurs.
Our favorite hike to do is the Sierra Nevada trail with amazing views over the Conguillío Lake, Blanco River and the Llaima Volcano. With an area covering approximately 60.883 hectares, the park is part of the Araucaria Biosphere Reserve. Least but not last, it is also the heart of Chile’s first geopark: the Kutralkura, which has been part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network since 2017.
You can visit the Conguillio National park in the following travel adventures:
Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, 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.
In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. At the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.
Finally, 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.
You can explore the Villarrica National Park during the following travel adventures:
Equally important, the Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, in La Araucanía Region of Chile. It has a an area of 12.500 hectares composed of hills and moutains surrounding small lakes and lagoons of cristaline water.
In Mapundungun, the Mapuche’s native language, it means “place of messengers”. This park was created in 1967 with terrains unoccupied by the colons.
There are 2 main hiking trails available in the Huerquehue. First, los Lagos Trail, is an easy 12-kilometer long in which you can visit waterfalls, lagoons along with stunning views over the Caburgua Lake and the Villarrica volcano. The second, is the San Sebastian Trail, of an intermediate level of difficulty. The hiking trail is approximately 13-kilometer long. The final reward of the hike is the panoramic views over the surrounding volcanoes (Lanín, Villarrica, Quetrupillan, Llaima) and the Tinquilco and Caburgua Lakes.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
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. Therefore, they represent the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range.
Geographically, 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.
There, we particularly love to hike featuring the great beauties of Los Lagos region. The first one is the “Paso Desolación” trail, which 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.
Moreover, we love to hike “El Solitario Trail”. Indeed, it 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 you start hiking through a native forest with the volcano at sight during the entire route. Then, you pass by a valley covered with lava flows formed by old eruptions. Finally, you arrive at the road leading to the Osorno Volcano.
You can visit the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park during the following travel adventures:
When to visit the national parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
If you consider visiting this incredible part of Chile, we highly suggest you to come in spring/summer. Indeed, during winter (June to September), it rains and snows in the region. So, it makes the use of raquets mandatory, since the snow covers all of the hiking trails.
On the other hand, during spring and summer (october to march), the weather provides an ideal time and perfect conditions to visit the national parks.
Finally, during fall season (april to may), the parks shine with a true spectacle of colors. The leaves of the endemic trees lose their green color and slowly switches to yellow and red colors.
If you loved this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends travelers. Also, when interested in visiting the Lake and Volcano District, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will provide you with all the information regarding the greatest travel adventures you can live in southern Chile.
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!
Over the last few months, Amity Tours has been working on new sustainable routes to explore in an eco-friendly way Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. This new multisport experience will delight you when exploring the stunning natural attractions. With the presence of the ancient native forests, lakes, rivers of multicolored waters, glaciers and active volcanoes, Southern Chile has a lot to offer.
Experiencing southern Chile is a singular and sustainable experience. Indeed, it allows you to encounter yourself with the unique beauty of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos regions. It’s more, you get to enjoy it all alongside the Mapuche indigenous communities, who have inhabited these ancestral territories for ages.
About the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route
The first scenic route in Chile, the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, is a world-class destination powered by the CORFO, a production development organization. In fact, for the past 20 years, this governmental organization has been consolidating a network of 6 different circuits that allow every nature lover to explore the unmissable attractions of the Lake and Volcano District.
With approximately 2000 kilometers of geography shaped by the force of volcanism and bathed by great pristine lakes, this scenic route has a unique layout that will take your breath away. But what makes this destination particularly interesting to visit, are the guided multisport experiences that have been purposely created for the international visitors to explore the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route in a safe way.
Since 2008, we have been working hand by hand with the governmental organization in the elaboration of the first scenic route of Chile. Our last collaboration led to the development of 6 guided and sustainable multisport experiences. In other words, it allows you to travel through the Lake and Volcano District by foot, bike, or water. Without mentioning the cultural encounters with the Mapuche indigenous communities who share with us their ancestral knowledge and cosmovision of the world.
Multisport Experience – Llanquihue Lake Circuit
Last March, CEO Cristián Levy went guiding the incredible multisport experience in the Llanquihue Circuit accompanied by Ladera Sur national press and SUDA, our app partner. For this occasion, we did an active tour that can turn into a more passive and contemplative experience for families with young children.
Discover the incredible multisport route we lived!
Day 1 – Kayaking Río Puelo
We kicked off this incredible adventure where geographical Patagonia begins in Caleta La Arena. The crossing of the Reloncaví Estuary emulates the routes that were used by the Mapuche and also the European settlers ages ago. Sadly, this area suffered from the massive exploitation of the Alerce Andino native tree, in order to build the churches of Chiloé Island in the 1700’s. Therefore, the presence of this ancient tree has consequently reduced in the coastal area of Cochamó.
Our first adventure started at Río Puelo, a mandatory stop for the practice of water sports such as kayaking. Indeed, this river of crystalline and multicolored waters has an extension of approximately 80 kilometers. It starts in Argentina in the homonymous lake, crosses the western side of the Andes and flows into the fjord of Reloncaví in Chile, where it meets the Pacific ocean.
Along the river, we could observe traces of the glaciers that gave rise to Río Puelo. At the same time, this beautiful water course could demonstrate to us that water has a key role in the connectivity of the roads in Patagonia.
We explored the last section of the river, before it connects with the Pacific ocean. For this, we paddle on kayak for approximately 7 kilometers, during which we could observe various waterfalls in addition to the local flora and fauna.
On the second day, we dived into the ancestral history of Cochamó and the Ralún area. Indeed, we explored the route anciently used by the Mapuche and the European settlers. Thus, the experience seeks to emulate a journey made by our ancestors, going through places they used to cross.
In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native tongue, Cochamó means “Union of waters”. This place connects the waters coming from the Andes mountain range with the Pacific ocean where the intermediate depression joins. Nowadays, Cochamó continues to be a place of connection since it is where ends the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route ends, and where starts the Route of Parks.
On the other hand, Cochamó and Puelo also allow the connection between the fishing culture and the Gaucho culture. Since the rivers are the veins, thus roads that local people traditionally use.
So, in order to better understand how Patagonia works, we went deeper into the Cochamó valley horseback riding one of the arms of the Cayutué lake towards the native forests. Carlos, our guide, highlights the fact that: “you start horseback riding thinking you’re leaving the fjord behind. But in reality, you’re going to its origin. The water is what connects the route.”
At some point of the Cayutué lake, we could appreciate a terrific view over the high peaks of the area. We continued on Río Conchas, a connecting dot between the Cayutué lake and the final destination of our day. After a few hours crossing native forests, we finally arrived at Todos Los Santos lake located at the Vicente Perez Rosales national park.
It is worth mentioning that this route has been used historically, and continues to be used by the locals naturally following the course of the river. Nowadays, the muleteers of the sectors still respect this tradition. Consequently, you can only live this singular experience carefully guided by the local guides.
Carlos, our local guide, concludes: “Thanks to this journey, you get to really see how Patagonia works. A place where the rivers are the roads. So here you will experience the local life, doing exactly as the locals, not what the typical tourists do. In Cochamó, for example, we can meet with both the muleteer and the fishing culture. The connection of the valleys allows the Gauchos and the fishermen to coexist. Only here in Cochamó, you have the possibility to contemplate that particular blend of cultures.”
Day 3. Paso Desolación hiking trail – Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
For the third day of our multisport adventure, we hiked the Paso Desolación trail at the foothills of the Osorno Volcano. The Osorno is a stratovolcano that forms a volcanic chain with La Picada and Puntiagudo volcanoes.
We particularly love this hike since we get to appreciate the Todos Los Santos lake with the high peaks around. Moreover, the culmination point reaches the surroundings of the Llanquihue lake, making this hike a complete experience contemplating new sectors.
The trail starts in a native forest, passing through flat areas and crossing up to three large alluviums generated by ancient eruptions. Product of the volcanic activity of the Osorno, the trail is mostly sandy and we can easily find volcanic rocks and pyroclastic material.
Day 4 – Cycling Llanquihue Lake from Las Cascadas to Frutillar
Our last day of this great multisport experience is full of adventures. Indeed, we cycled 45 kilometers around Llanquihue lake, Chile’s best bike-friendly destination. Great thing about living this experience: you can choose between cycling an e-bike, or gravel bike. Thus, it allows every traveler to experience the stunning opportunity to cycle around Llanquihue lake.
The ride never ceases to surprise, well we get to always appreciate the Osorno volcano in all its splendor. Not without mentioning the impressive Puntiagudo and Calbuco volcanoes. Alongside these great peaks, we pass Puerto Octay, before reaching the last point of this cycling ride: Frutillar.
And since not everything is about physical activity, we visit our friends at Cancagua SPA. This great project aims to provide the best bath relaxation with the least impact on the ecosystems around. As a result, we get to contemplate Llanquihue Lake while enjoying a relaxing bath.
Finally, after re-energizing our mind and body, the multisport experience ended with a 16-kilometers kayak paddling on Maullín river. This river offers great conditions for us to navigate on, and to also connect with the sound of nature. Actually, with a large extension of 85 kilometers long, it allows the connectivity between the different localities around Llanquihue lake.
The multisport adventure offers the opportunity to experience the Lake and Volcano District in a unique way. Indeed, you get to sustainably explore southern Chile by foot, by bike or by kayak; in addition to truly connect with the local people who have inhabited these ancestral territories for ages. We invite you to check out the best multisport experiences and get inspired for your next travel!
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.
We’ve just said goodbye to summer season full of adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. After 2 years of global uncertainty around traveling, we felt beyond thankful to receive our international friends again.
From december to march, we cycled between pristine lakes and hiked the stunning trails around active volcanoes.
WHAT DO WE DO IN THE LAKE AND VOLCANO DISTRICT
Geographically, Chile is part of the Ring of Fire. Indeed, there are no less than 3.000 volcanoes from small cinder cones, to huge boilers of various kilometers in diameter located all along the Andes mountain range. In the Lake and Volcano District, we find 17 active volcanoes. Among them, the Llaima and Villarrica volcanoes are South America’s most active volcanoes.
Traveling throughout the southern region, the giant cones dominate the landscape. What’s more, we can appreciate how their shape and silhouette change radically. Thus, many of them present large glaciers on their summit.
In addition to the active volcanic activity, we can also find the largest lakes of southern Chile. Many of them are interconnected by a hydrological system consisting of 26 large rivers, and thousands of small ones. As a result, these water sources are the main actors in conserving the rich biodiversity of the Lake and Volcano District.
It goes without saying that, given the natural elements composing the landscape of the southern region, we are blessed with stunning and remote places to explore.
Below, you will find out the best attractions to visit when traveling to Chile.
Kütralkura UNESCO Geopark
More than just a park, the Kutralkura geopark is 8.000 square kilometers that includes 6 protected areas located in La Araucanía. In Mapudungun, the native tongue of the area, Kütralkura means “stone of fire”. Indeed, there we can find one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
But also, the territory has a strong human and cultural importance. As a matter of fact, the pehuenche mapuche, first inhabitants of the area, have their ancestral cosmovision that stands out the divine essence of the volcanoes, and every element of nature in general.
Conguillío National Park
With the Llaima volcano as the main attraction of the Conguillio national park, we can also find other natural beauties such as the Captrén lagoon, the Conguillio lake and the Truful-Truful canyon. There, the area offers a lot of active adventures to experience through beautiful hiking trails.
In Amity, we particularly love the Sierra Nevada trail hike. Surrounded by ancient trees, the starting point of the trail is near the lake. The ascent is progressive and passes through a beautiful forest of native trees like lengas, colihue and araucarias. Until reaching the first two look up points, the trail is quite easy.
Afterwards, when reaching 1.600 meters above sea level, the views get really magnificent. In fact, we can admire the Llaima volcano exhibiting its cone-shaped silhouette. At its feet lies the Conguillio lake.
In addition to the many stunning hiking trails available in the park, crossing through the national park by bike is the best eco-friendly way to visit the area. From Temuco airport, our supported bike route offers a well-paved section, cutting through farm lands in the rolling hills of La Araucanía region.
Riding alongside the Llaima volcano, we get to enjoy the landscape of the Mapuche land with smooth hills and scenic nothofagus tree forests in the middle of green meadows.
When entering the park, we easily witness how the high volcanoes have shaped the landscape of the Conguillio national park.
Check out this great adventure in our Multisport Tour in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District and Patagonia.
Malalcahuello National Reserve
Another natural treasure of the Kutralkura Geopark is the Malalcahuello National Reserve. Interestingly, this territory might be one of the most outstanding attractions to visit in Chile. Geographically, the landscape is deeply marked by volcanic and glacial activity. The main natural actor is the Lonquimay volcano (2.820 meters above sea level).
Not without mentioning the presence of the “Cráter Navidad” that ended its last eruptive process in 1990. As a result, the Malalcahuello National Reserve features a unique surreal landscape that blends recent volcanic slags with ancient forests of araucaria trees.
In summer, our favorite outdoor adventure is mountain biking at the foothills of the Lonquimay volcano, passing through pristine forests of araucaria trees. On top of it, we get to connect with the pewenche Mapuche community. During this cultural encounter, they share with us their cosmovision and ancestral knowledge, and why their relationship with the araucaria tree is very close.
Watch the great adventures we had with our international partners H+I Adventures and Evoc in the Malalcahuello National Reserve.
Chile’s Capital of adventure tourism: Pucón
The strong omnipresent figure of the Villarrica volcano is without a doubt the highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. At his feet, the quaint mountain cities of Villarrica and Pucón stand around the Villarrica lake. The latter is actually the capital of adventure tourism thanks to the many outdoors activities it offers. Actually, Pucón is consolidated as a world-class destination.
Around Pucón, exploring the crystalline lakes and rivers, in addition to the incredible trails located on the foothills of the Villarrica and Lanín volcanoes are surely the best adventures to experience in this area. Moreover, you are always surrounded by ancient forests and get to connect directly with the roots of the Mapuche, the first inhabitants of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
Either by bike or by foot, we love to visit the best attractions around Pucón.
Villarrica volcano hike
Located near the Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area that is characterized by the majestic volcanoes, native tree forests, rivers and lagoons.
Dominating the landscape, the imposing Villarrica volcano (2.847 meters) is the greatest attraction. In the Mapuche culture, they call it the Rukapillán, which means “house of the spirits”. From the open crater, we can see flowing lava.
Hiking up to the summit of Chile’s most active volcano is definitely a must-do.
Cycling around Pucón
On the other hand, pedaling through this ancestral territory might be what we love to do the most. In fact, given the huge variety of trails, Pucón is actually the perfect place for every kind of biker.
Indeed, if you fancy more paved terrains, road cycling towards the Andes mountain range between volcanoes, lakes and the quaint countryside is definitely an authentic experience. What’s more, we love to relax at natural hot springs after spending an active day on our bike.
But if you are more into dirt and gravel roads, mountain or gravel cycling through Pucón’s nature is for you. For mountain biking, our favorite spots to pedal are between the Lanín and Villarrica volcano, an incredible territory of ancient forests and lagoons.
And because sometimes videos speak louder than words, check the mountain bike adventures we had with our international partners H+I Adventures and Specialized Bicycle.
Furthermore, we also added a new modality to our bike tours around Pucón. Indeed, in Amity Tours, since the pandemic, we’ve been actively exploring new routes to gravel bike. With our team of nature lovers, we’ve been gravel cycling the blow-minding trails that Pucón’ surroundings feature.
Check out our new gravel bike tour that blends adventure, ancestral culture all together with outstanding nature.
This circuit might be the most representative of Chile’s Lake and Volcano district. As indicated, there are no less than 7 lakes of extraordinary beauty: Calafquén, Panguipulli, Riñihue, Pullinque, Pellaifa, Neltume and Pirihueico.
As you cycle the Seven-lake circuit, you can enjoy and feel the presence of the Valdivian Rainforest and the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano, the main figure. With a strong Mapuche cultural identity, exuberant nature and also natural hot springs, this circuit has developed as a major tourist destination in Southern Chile. One of the natural attractions is the famous Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, an important center of biodiversity and endemism.
Every summer, we enjoy cycling the incredible seven-lake route with the imposing nature surrounding us.
Located in the Los Ríos region, the Llanquihue lake is Chile’s second largest lake and is characterized by the strong blue color of the water. Depending on the weather, it is possible to appreciate the reflection of the Osorno volcano. The cities of Puerto Varas and Frutillar settle at the shores, famous for their beaches and a strong German architecture.
Truth to be said, the area is a true paradise for every cyclist. In fact, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bicycle lane that borders the Llanquihue lake (82 kilometers). It starts from Puerto Varas and reaches Ensenada, where it forks towards the Petrohue waterfalls up to Las Cascadas.
We give thanks to each moment shared with our friends from all over the world. During this great summer season, we loved to connect again to share beauty of the Lake and Volcano District.
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 Christmas Crater is a pyroclastic cone of the Lonquimay Volcano located in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. It was formed during the volcanic eruption on December 25 of 1988, and reaches a height of 190 meters from its base.
The hike to the crater is not technical; but you’ll do require mountain gear to climb it in winter as it is covered in snow. However, in summer (from November to Early April), the hike doesn’t require any gear.
Regarding difficulty, it is relatively short, and takes approx. 2 to 4 hours back and forth depending on your walking pace. It is ideal for families with teenagers, or people with little hiking experience.
From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view over the foothills of the Lonquimay Volcano. In addition to the lava field, extended araucarias tree forests, along with view over the Tolhuaca and the Callaqui Volcanoes.
Coloradito trail hike – Malalcahuello National Reserve
The Coloradito trail, located at the Malalcahuello National Reserve, is a place shaped by tectonic and volcanic processes with an interesting and endemic fauna and flora.
This trail is a good alternative featuring typical landscapes of the Andes mountain range under the watchful eye of the Lonquimay Volcano.
All along the way, you’ll pass through forests of endemic trees such as the araucaria and the lenga tree surrounded by the ground vegetation with a predominance of michay, quila and viola trees.
Called “El Coloradito”, it is unique access to the Lonquimay Volcano that ending near the Coloradito River. The landscape is dominated by the presence of the Lonquimay Volcano and the Sierra del Colorado. During the hike, you can observe the Llaima Volcano and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
Sierra Nevada hike – National Park Conguillio
The Conguillio National Park is one of the most outstandings places Chile has to offer. With the stunning Llaima Volcano, Sierra Nevada, volcanic lakes everywhere, araucarias tree forests, endemic fauna and flora, it is a must-see for everyone who wants to visit Southern Chile.
The national park has a wide variety of trails, but without a doubt, the Sierra Nevada hike is the most accessible and offers a wider range of landscape, enough to get a good idea of the natural richness existing in the region.
The Sierra Nevada trail begins from one of the most beautiful beaches of the Conguillio Lake, passes through a spectacular endemic forest with several viewpoints facing the lake along the way. After 3 hours, the trail reaches a clear and an out-of-the woods viewpoint facing the Llaima Volcano and the Conguillío Lake.
The hike is not technical, but does require a minimum of good health as the path can sometimes be steep. In winter, the trail is covered in snow, requiring mountain gear and good hiking experience.
Andean Lagoons hike – Villarrica National Park
Close to the Argentinean Border, and located at the foothills of the Lanín Volcano, this trail called “Lagos Andinos” is a must-see of the Villarrica National Park. During this amazing hike, suited for families, you’ll visit 3 lagoons in a large endemic forest with Coihues and Araucarias trees and end up in a volcanic landscape dominated by the majestic Lanín Volcano.
The hike begins at the shores of the Quillelhue Lagoon at 1200 meters above sea level. After 40 minutes of hiking on a flat terrain, you’ll arrive at the Huinfiuca Lagoon, the perfect spot for picnic.
While you visit the park you will witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions and you’ll have the fantastic opportunity to see and walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. You’ll also visit the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden), Huinfiuca and Verde (green) with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.
That is to say, the hike is not technical and only requires a minimum of good health.
Huerquehue National Park
The Huerquehue National Park is located at the foothills of the Andes, 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.
The hike, called “Sendero Los Lagos” starts easy but after a short distance the trail becomes rougher and sometimes steeper, but is still considered a relatively easy hiking level.
On your way to the lakes, you’ll get to see the Nido de Aguilas (nest of eagles) waterfall before the terrain gets steeper, surrounded by gigantic coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and mañíos (Podocarpus nubigena).
The first lookout point is where you’ll get to appreciate the views of Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m / 9.349 feet) and Tinquilco Lake which are absolutely stunning; here you’ll find great photo opportunities as well as chance to reenergize with a snack.
If you’re lucky, you can spot some birds that live in the forests of Nothofagus, such as chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula), black-throated huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii) and the magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) among others.
Once you pass the Trufulco falls, the hike gets a little more demanding. Once you’re over 1000 meters above sea level, you’ll see the first araucarias trees. You’ll then walk through a mixed forest before arriving at the first lake called Lago Chico. It is characterized by its clear waters reflecting the image of hundreds of araucarias, and the snow-capped peaks around.
After visiting the different lakes, you can then start to turn around and walk back to the entrance of the park.
El Cañi Reserve
El Cañi Reserve is located approximately 21 kilometers from Pucón. This 500-acre private reserve committed to the preservation of the Araucaria Araucania tree species.
This hike, although not technical, does require an overall good physical condition since you’d be constantly walking on a steep terrain until arrival to the final viewpoint. It starts with approx. 1,5 kilometer of flat terrain, and from there you’ll start the stiff climb for 3 more kilometers.
You’ll then arrive at Aserradero Refuge (1000 meters above sea level). It is the entrance of the reserve, with the first panoramic views over the valley and flora. You’ll pass through the Las Totoras Lagoon, Negra Lagoon surrounded by the thousands-year-old Araucaria, Lengua and Coihue trees.
The final path climbs until you arrive at the final viewpoint, your reward. You’ll have a 360° panoramic view over 4 volcanoes, two lakes and the valleys around the Reserve.
Moreover, you can walk around a small path that starts at Laguna negra and takes you to 6 mores lagoons.
Villarrica Volcano Ascent
Without a doubt, the Villarrica Volcano (2847 meters) ascent is a must-do activities if you plan to visit Pucón. As of today, it is one of the most active volcanoes in South America. The climb to its open crater is definitely a one of a lifetime experience.
The adventure starts at approx. 6 am, when the van takes you to the ski center located at 1.300 meters. After putting on your mountain gear, the hike begins with 2 options: use the chairlift, or start walking immediately.
Depending on your walking pace, it will take you approx. 4-5 hours to reach the open crater. From there, you’ll get to have an incredible 360° panoramic view over volcanoes, lakes, mountains and valleys around.
The descent consists in sliding down until the base of the Volcano (approx. 2 hours) where the van awaits you before taking you back to Pucón for a well-deserved rest.
Pichillancahue Glacier hike – Villarrica National Park
The hike to Pichillancahue is not very famous but will surely take your breath away for its landscape. This is a hike suitable for everyone who seeks connection with nature, from children to elder adults.
This Glacier is located at the Villarrica National Park, Coñaripe side. Youll get to see several majestic snow-capped volcanoes such as Quetrupillan and Rucapillan. The vegetation changes from raulí and hualle forests to araucarias as you ascend to Chinay. The highest point of the day at 1.250 meters / 4.101 feet altitude.
After approximately 1.5 hour of hiking, you’ll arrive at the Pichillancahue Glacier trail. A good spot to relax and eat a good snack to refill energy if needed. The rest of the trail (3.5 hours round trip) leads to a phenomenal glacier covered by black volcanic ashes. Once again, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views of four volcanoes.
This hike is not technical and does not require any mountain gear. The best hiking time is during summer season.
Visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do for every hiker & nature lovers.
Find out why Amity Tours will make your ski experience in Chile a once-in-a-lifetime trip you won’t regret!
Chile has a great variety of outdoor activities to do all along the territory. During winter in the Southern Hemisphere, skiing is the best activity to do in the Lake and Volcano DIstrict. Thanks to the proximity with the Andes mountain range, and the presence of the many volcanoes, this country counts on many ski resorts. They can be all appreciated by skiers of every level.
Find out why Amity Tours, as the leader in adventure travel in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, will make you have an amazing ski experience.
In Amity Tours, all of our team members are passionate skiers. This means we perfectly know what an excellent ski experience has to be made of. As a tour operator providing ski trips since 2003, we make sure your needs are well taken care of. After these many years of experience, we know what our travelers expect of a ski tour.
All of our ski experiences were designed to take you to the best snow Chile and Argentina have to offer. In addition to the best powder, we provide the best prices and great offers for our clients in our ski packages. As a result, we’ve come to be the leading Tour Operator in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
Professional and all-inclusive service
We are aware that a great adventure can sometimes come with a little bit of risk. Skiing is “the art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at a great personal risk”. However, in our company, we’ll always make sure your safety comes first no matter what.
Our English-speaking guides, besides being excellent skiers, are professional and expert in the field. In addition, they are experienced mountain guides & Wilderness First Responders. Finally, they always carry on with them radios, in case of any emergency.
In other words, our professional team will always provide a safe, friendly and professional service. If you want to get to know more about our guides, check out our staff page here!
On the other hand, we’ve designed our ski experiences in a way that you won’t worry about anything to make the most of your holiday. From luxury hotels & SPAs, good food in selective restaurants and great snow, you’ll surely enjoy each day of your ski trip.
Ski on Southern Chile’s active volcanoes
Skiing is the best winter sport in the world, and we absolutely love the feeling when skiing down the slopes. But imagine yourself skiing on an active volcano, with incredible panoramic views over other volcanoes around…
In Amity, we make this dream come true. During our ski experience, you’ll feel the adrenaline of sliding down the most active volcanoes in South America, such as Llaima, Lonquimay or Villarrica Volcanoes.
The best of it ? We take advantage of the unique volcanic activity of the region. How ? We combine the ski activity with the most natural hot springs of the Lake and Volcano District. As a result, we provide the perfect combination of an active day and a deserved relaxing evening.
Uncrowded Ski Resorts
Worldwide, the most known ski resorts in South America are located around Santiago de Chile, such as Farellones, Colorado Valley & La Parva. With Amity, you’ll have a unique ski experience in the usually unknown and uncrowded ski resorts of Southern Chile & Argentina.
Indeed, as our company is based in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, we have plenty of slopes to ski down on active volcanoes. Moreover, the proximity of the border with Argentina makes it easy for us to cross it and head towards excellent ski resorts.
For many of us ski lovers, the snow season is always and all too short. In Chile, located in the Southern Hemisphere, we give you the opportunity to enjoy snow during summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
In fact, in Chile and Argentina, the snow usually starts falling at the end of June, making the ski slopes ready to ski on at the end of June. It is only until the end of September, with the arrival of Spring season that the ski resorts are closing.
What a great excuse to travel to Chile during winter!
Ski for any level of experience
If you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert skier, it doesn’t matter. Although most of our tours are designed for intermediate skiers, we make sure to design a tailor-made trip according to your level of experience. Indeed, our professional mountain guides will be your ideal teachers with great ski lessons if you want to give it a try as a beginner.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for any information you might need for your next ski trip in South America.
Group or Private Tours
We are perfectly aware that skiing is not the cheapest sport to practice in the world. This is why we offer both private tour and both departure dates for group tours.
If you are a group and want to have a private tour, we’ll get the best deals with excellent service. The most important, you get to decide your travel dates, and we make sure you choose the ideal travel dates to enjoy the best snow available.
You are a solo traveler, or you simply want to join a group to make the best of your trip ? Please ask us about our group departure dates available from July to September.
If you liked this article, share it with your travel buddies! If you’re still hesitating, drop us a line and will give you the best information regarding this amazing sport called ski!
Don’t wait any longer and start planning the best ski experience Chile has to offer!
Elected Chile’s capital of adventure tourism, and highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, Pucón has so much to offer and lots of outdoor activities to do. Find out the 5 things to do in this beautiful Lake City!
Pucón, the dream town of southern Chile, is located at the shores of the Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica volcano. 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile, it belongs to the La Araucania Region.
Lately, this lake city has been recognized world-wide for its ski center, water sports and hiking trails, among many other outdoor activities. Beaches, forests, valleys and the generous nature of Pucón also invite you to dive into the natural hot springs of the area. Between more than 30 excursions you can do around Pucón, you can also access Argentina through the border crossing Mamuil Malal. Thus, it connects the Araucania Region with the Lanín national Park of the Argentinean Republic.
In this post, you will discover what to do in Pucón, and realize why every nature lover and aventurous travelers should add this destination in their bucket list.
The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters) is Chile’s most active volcano, and one of the most actives in South America. The idea of climbing it might sound surreal, but is definitely possible to do. It does require a certain level of fitness, but the hike is not technical at all.
You don’t need to bring with you all the mountain gear needed for such activity, since this excursion includes the full equipment. Also, it is very important to know that the weather is very weather-dependent. Indeed, in order to reach the summit, the weather conditions must be optimal: minimal wind and clear sky.
The route of ascent, starting at the foothills of the volcano, allows the most adventurers to reach the open crater. After approximately 4 to 5 hours of hiking, the final reward is the surrounding landscape made of lakes, volcanoes and valleys. If you’re lucky enough, you will get to see some lava flows.
It is worth noting that it is absolutely a hike you cannot miss in Pucón. It is possible to do it all year long, however it is easier to reach the top during spring and summer. In winter, the volcano is totally covered in snow, making the excursion of difficult level.
If you want to climb Chile’s most active volcano, read more about our hiking program around Pucón!
The Geométricas hot springs are a thermal center, composed of 20 stone pools from 35°C to 45°C. Moreover, they are immersed in the amazing landscapes of native forests of Villarrica Volcano National Park located near Coñaripe.
In addition to enjoying the thermal water and contemplating the landscape, the design is truly unique. Indeed, the facilities were designed by the distinguished national architect Germán del Sol, who subtly intervened the environment, through walkways made of red coigüe wood that connect the different swimming pools.
In Amity, we love to have a good physical activity and then dive in the hot springs!
3) Rafting – Trancura River
This outing holds no great dangers and is perfect if you are after a less extreme adventure. It could be a family day-out, a beginner’s introduction to rafting, or a warm-up for the upper river rafting trip. Although it is still exciting and fun!
We invite you to glide through calm stretches of water, admiring the beautiful nature around Pucón.
The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”. Once on the Trancura River, you will experience the full flowing effects of the raft passing over class 3 rapids, along with the sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft.
After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.
This exciting trip is suitable for the ages of 14 to adult and for those looking for lots of excitement without great dangers. Be prepared for 2 hours of pure adrenaline, tackling Class 4 rapids with several drops. The rapids’ names speak for themselves: Last Laugh, Devil’s Throat and Rapid of Fear. There are spectacular views of Villarrica Volcano and smaller Quetrupillán Volcano up the valley.
The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”.
Once on the Trancura River you will experience straight away the full flowing effects of class IV & V rapids along with the booming sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft. Here you will need to row hard to pass over the torrents.
After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.
4) Huerquehue National Park
The Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of Los Andes mountain range. 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.
The best way to explore the park is by foot. Indeed, you can choose between various hiking trails crossing the whole territory in which you can observe the local fauna and flora.
The easiest hike is Los Lagos Trail. It is the most popular of the park. The main attraction are the forests of ancient monkey puzzle tree surrounding the lakes on the high area. Observing them might be an overwhelming experience as they make you think about how small and ephemeral the human being can be in front of nature.
In summer, the bravest hikers can swim into the cold water of the lakes. Moreover, you will be able to observe a huge variety of birds like ducks. if you’re lucky, and patient, you might be able to spot the woodpecker and its impressive red head.
5) Villarrica National Reserve
Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape.
Dominating the scene, the Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction. In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. In the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.
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.
If you are looking for some wild adventures when visiting Chile, Pucón is the place for you to be!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Todos hemos sufrido en estos tiempos duros por el Covid-19, ya sea por tener personas cercanas que han perdido la vida, familiares enfermos, encerrados sin poder salir de casa por meses y meses, los niños sin poder jugar con sus amigos, y por que no decirlo, muchos perdiendo sus trabajos y sus ganas de vivir.
Si bien Amity Tours no ha estado ajeno a esta desgracia, que sin duda ha golpeado a la empresa en varios aspectos, el equipo no ha perdido las ganas de seguir peleándola con todo lo que tienen disponible, viendo con entusiasmo una vacuna en el horizonte cercano que permitirá retomar sus vidas y el trabajo, sin ninguna duda de una manera diferente y operando bajos protocolos sumamente rigurosos.
Amity Tours no baja los brazos y renueva su oferta de Bike Tours
Dentro del ADN de Amity Tours, liderado por su CEO Cristián Levy, está el gen permanente de la exploración, un gen que es más fuerte que cualquier virus o bacteria, que está recubierto por una densa capa de aire y naturaleza, y protegido por volcanes, lagos y mares que golpean y batallan a todo quien intente dañarlo. Es así como no hemos perdido el tiempo en nuestra empresa, y hemos decidido ampliar nuestra oferta de bike tours creando el primer gravel bike tour de Chile.
Gravel bike, la nueva tendencia que llegó desde Estados Unidos
Los gravel bike tours eran una necesidad real para muchos: la tendencia finalmente llegó (como ocurre tan a menudo) desde Estados Unidos, donde pedalear por caminos sin asfaltar en una bicicleta “gravel” es parte de la realidad cotidiana.
En Estados Unidos, de hecho, debido a los altos costos de mantenimiento, casi todas las carreteras secundarias no están pavimentadas. Esto ha generado un nuevo tipo de ciclista que busca nuevas rutas, cansados de circular por carreteras con mucho tráfico motorizado y perdiéndose gran parte de los atractivos situados en áreas rurales.
Amity Tours tiene un requerimiento explícito por este nuevo tipo de experiencia, hoy inexistente a nivel nacional, manifestado por nuestros principales clientes extranjeros, para lo cual hemos puesto todo nuestro esfuerzo en hacerlo realidad.
La logística experta requerida para un tour inédito de gravel bike en Chile
Nuestros diseños de experiencias para gravel bike tours consideran un uso extensivo de servicios locales de pequeños emprendedores y comunidades de pueblos originarios dispuestos a colaborar y hacer negocios con nosotros, generando un efecto de distribución de la riqueza entre varios stakeholders del destino, lo cual en la era post Covid-19 es la mejor vacuna que nosotros podemos aportar como empresa a nuestros partners locales.
Dentro de estos colaboradores podemos mencionar alojamientos, principalmente hoteles emplazados en la región y cabañas, pequeños restaurantes característicos de la región, comunidades de pueblos originarios (Mapuche), guías de turismo locales, choferes y emprendedores en venta de alimentos orgánicos, artesanía y souvenirs, todos ellos impactados positivamente por la operación de los bike tours que Amity Tours desarrolla.
Para que ustedes sepan, si tomamos como ejemplo un tour de 10 pasajeros por 1 semana, el servicio y empleo a contratar se desglosa de la siguiente manera:
2 o 3 hoteles
2 0 3 cabañas
6 a 10 restaurantes
1 o 2 comunidades Mapuche
2 guías locales
3 empresas locales proveedoras de alimento orgánico (para proveer de alimentos durante el tour mientras está en ruta)
1 mercado de artesanos
¡Son estos partners locales que están esperándolos recibir nuevamente durante el 2021!
Modalidad gravel novedosa en el mundo del ciclismo en Chile
Por otro lado, la bicicleta de gravel otorga más posibilidades a la hora de conectar tramos y zonas tanto de tierra como de asfalto. Y aquí es donde vemos una gran oportunidad de desarrollo de nuevos tours de cicloturismo en modalidad gravel, y por cierto una extraordinaria oportunidad para el destino Lagos & Volcanes, pudiendo sumar rutas en todos los circuitos donde hoy no se operan bike tours por falta de rutas asfaltadas.
Por ejemplo, nuestro primer tour de gravel que irá desde el Océano Pacífico a la Cordillera pasará por territorios cien por ciento Mapuche, donde cohabitan diferentes grupos: Nagche, Lafquenche, Wenteche y Pewenche. ¡Este territorio es el corazón del pueblo Mapuche!
Esperamos poder recibirlos la próxima temporada en nuestros nuevos gravel bike tours, recorriendo el maravilloso destino Lagos & Volcanes, pero ahora adentrándonos por un Chile más auténtico, el Chile alejado del pavimento y urbanidad, ese Chile profundo que enamora y sorprende.
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.
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.