The Ultimate Gravel Bike Adventure: Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

gravel cycling people

Embark on the Ultimate Gravel Bike Adventure: Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

Introduction

Discover the thrill of gravel biking amidst the stunning backdrop of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District with Amity Tours. This 8-day adventure is more than a tour; it’s a journey through the heart of Chile’s breathtaking landscapes, offering a blend of challenging rides, cultural immersion, and natural wonders.

Why Gravel Biking in Chile?

Chile’s diverse geography, from its sprawling vineyards to the towering Andes, provides the perfect playground for gravel biking enthusiasts. The Lake and Volcano District, with its active volcanoes, crystal-clear lakes, and ancient Araucaria forests, offers routes that are as beautiful as they are challenging.

Exploring the Lake and Volcano District

Day 1-2: Santiago to Pucon

Begin your adventure in the vibrant capital of Santiago before heading to the adventure town of Pucon, the gateway to the southern Andes. This leg introduces you to Chile’s rich cultural tapestry and sets the stage for the thrilling rides ahead.

Day 3-5: Conguillio National Park

Ride through the lunar landscapes of Conguillio National Park, home to the mighty Llaima Volcano. The park’s gravel roads wind through ancient monkey puzzle forests, offering unparalleled views and challenging terrain.

Day 6-7: Kutralkura Geopark and Araucanía Region

The journey continues through the Kutralkura Geopark, Chile’s first UNESCO Global Geopark. The connection between the Earth’s tumultuous geological history and the Mapuche culture’s enduring legacy comes to life here. The Araucanía Region’s rolling hills and serene lakes offer a moment of reflection and connection with nature.

Day 8: Farewell Chile

As the tour concludes, the experience of cycling through one of the world’s most picturesque landscapes, paired with the warmth of the Chilean people, leaves an indelible mark on your heart.

What Sets This Tour Apart?

Small Group Sizes Amity Tours believes in creating intimate experiences, with small group sizes ensuring personalized attention and a stronger bond among cyclists.

Professional Guides Our expert guides are seasoned cyclists and passionate storytellers, ready to share the secrets of Chile’s landscapes and culture.

Sustainability Commitment We’re dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Chile through sustainable travel practices, ensuring that these landscapes continue to inspire for generations to come.

Culinary Delights and Comfortable Accommodations  Experience the best of Chilean cuisine with meals that reflect the local flavors and accommodations that offer comfort and charm, ensuring you’re well-rested for each day’s ride.

Join the Adventure

The 8-Day Gravel Bike Tour in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District with Amity Tours isn’t just a cycling trip; it’s an expedition into the heart of Chile’s natural beauty, packed with adventure, culture, and unforgettable memories. Whether you’re an intermediate cyclist or an experienced gravel grinder, this tour promises to challenge, inspire, and transform.

Ready to embark on this unparalleled adventure? Visit Amity Tours to book your journey and discover the magic of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District on two wheels.

Contact Information and Next Steps

For more information or to book your tour, please contact us. We are excited to guide you through the next steps of embarking on this incredible journey.

Call us: 1-(888)-213-1490

info@amity-tours.com

Reasons Why Frutillar Should Be a Must-Visit on your Chilean Checklist

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.

3.) Cancagua

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!

5.) Kuchen

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!

¡Buen viaje!

3 Reasons to Cycle in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

bike tour chile

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.
  • Conguillio National Park and the Llaima volcano.
  • 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.

 

Mountain Bike

 

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.

 

Discover our MTB adventures with EVOC and Specialized Bicycles!

 

Road Cycling

 

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!

 

Gravel Bike

 

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.

 

 

Group departure dates available for 2023, save your spot!

3) Discover the cultural sides of Chile

 

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. 

Read more about our sustainable measures in the adventure travel industry!

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 Yerba Mate 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.

 

Discover our team adventures gravel cycling the Llanquihue Lake!

 

Professional service and bike safety measures

 

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.

 

safety bike tour chile

 

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!

 

 

2022 Winter Adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

snowshoeing corralco chile

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.

 

Araucanía Andina

 

 

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.

This hiking trail is fascinating, as it offers the possibility to discover and understand why the Malalcahuello National Reserve is, at the same time, part of both the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve and the Global Geoparks Network by UNESCO.

 

Sietelagos

 

 

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.

 

 

Mocho-Choshuenco volcano

 

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.

 

 

 

Norpatagonia Circuit

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Llanquihue Circuit

 

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.

 

 

Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is full of surprises! Discover this ancestral territory either by bike, by foot or by summer skiing the eternal snow-covered peaks of southern Chile.

 

 

The Lake and Volcano Scenic Route – Chile

osorno volcano llanquihue

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.

 

lake volcano scenic route chile
Map of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route

 

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:

 

Araucanía Lacustre Circuit

 

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:

 

Sietelagos Circuit

 

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:

 

Lago Ranco Circuit

 

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.

 

 

Discover the Lago Rango circuit in our family adventures!

 

NorPatagonia Circuit

 

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.

 

Read our hiking adventures in the Puyehue national park!

 

Llanquihue Lake Circuit

 

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.

Discover the Llanquihue lake circuit in our recommended travel adventures:

 

Because the natural diversity in the Lake and Volcano Scenic route is a must-do when traveling to Chile, contact us for more info! We’ll gladly help you plan your next trip in Chile’s top destination.

5 Reasons to Visit Chile in 2022

travel destination

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!

 

1. Adventure Tourism in Chile

 

 

Can you guess what country has won the World Travel Awards Leading Adventure Tourism Destination for 5 consecutive years? Yes, Chile. It’s more, Chile has won the same title in South America for no less than 6 consecutive years.

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.

Check out our gravel bike adventures around Llanquihue Lake, a magical place with a strong traditional German-style architecture!

 

4. Best Travel Adventures

 

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!

The best national parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

villarrica park chile

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:

 

Villarrica National Park

 

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:

Huerquehue National Park

 

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.

 

weather chile lake volcano district
Weather and average temperatures in the Lake and Volcano District

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Action in the Adventure Travel Industry – Reforestation Project

reforestation chile

In 2019, going zero waste was the first step we took towards a sustainable tourism. But in 2022, we are taking our game up to the next level: offsetting our carbon footprint.

 

In our last post, we explained all the sustainable measures and changes we’ve applied since before the arrival of the global pandemic. We are always looking for improvement and how to minimize our impact on Mother Earth when visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District with our international friends.  

The upcoming World Travel Adventure Summit event by ATTA will take place in the city of Lugano in Switzerland. On 3-6 October, our team member Angela will engage in networking opportunities in the marketplace. She will also hear from inspirational speakers regarding sustainable tourism as it will be the main theme of this yearly event.

As we are very conscious about the carbon footprint that this journey implies to travel from Chile to Switzerland and back, we partnered up with a great local reforestation project in order to neutralize this impact.

 

How it started

 

Shortly after starting our Zero Waste Challenge in 2019, we contacted a local partner, Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias in order to find a solution about offsetting our carbon emissions on a local basis. For many years, we have been working together with the award-winning community based project by connecting our international visitors from all over the world with the local culture. Togehter with Romá Martí, leader of this great community based tourism project in Curarrehue, we came up with the idea of a great project.

After sharing our future vision to become a carbon neutral company by supporting a local organization, Romá compromised with providing us a sustainable solution for our environmental issue. As some of his partners of the community-based tourism network already had years of experience in planting native tree species in the area, a new great project was born: Wiñolfe Anumka.

 

Wiñolfe Anumka: native tree reforestation project

 

The Wiñolfe Anumka local network was created as an alternative for the community-based tourism in Curarrehue. Indeed, after the drastic fall in the arrival of international tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic, this local project started with the construction of family greenhouses. It gave life to new native trees for their further reforestation. 

 

araucaria tree plant
Native araucaria tree plant

 

Unfortunately, in Amity, the negative effect of the global pandemic forced us to temporarily retreat from this great initiative. On the other side, the Wiñolfe Anumka network realized the potential of our wish to offset our carbon footprint. As a result, the idea of regenerating the native forests pursued.

Nowadays, the Wiñolfe Anumka counts on 4 family green houses, a thousand native plants along with the first native tree cores’ reforestation. Additionally, the network also designed a new financing model and is currently processing the first production areas.

Indeed, this incredible red invites each local and/or organization, regardless of the size and business model, to take the responsibility of the generated impact by the way of living and thus mitigating the damage on the regeneration of the native forests.

 

wiñolfe anumka
The Wiñolfe Anumka local members

 

The ancestral spirit of the native regeneration during a global crisis

 

All of the members taking part of the Wiñolfe Anumka project agree that the distinguishing attribute is the active role of the local community with a strong presence of the Mapuche culture in the process of the plant breeding and reforestation. In fact, it is an associative work, strongly connected to families and knowledge from diverse origins.

Rosa Parra Epulef lives near Curarrehue. She is one of the founders of the Wiñolfe Anumka network and a plant breeder. Before the pandemic, she received the tourists who hiked the trail crossing her land which is surrounded by an exuberant native forest. Nowadays, she combines her work in the field with her participation in the reforestation project.

rosa parra
Rosa Parra

 

Rosa is responsible of one of the tree nurseries. She proudly says: “I take care of 188 plants. I have varieties like Hualle (Nothofagus obliqua), Chilean fire tree (Embothrium coccineum), Laurel (Laurus nobilis), Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) and Mañío (Podocarpus nubigenus).

But more importantly, her work has a true ancestral meaning. Indeed, she explains that there’s no such thing as a difference between her and her territory. She expresses: “I was born in the countryside, my mom gave birth to her children here in this house surrounded by the native forest which still exists. I feel great satisfaction living here, which makes me keep on caring about this territory. Because I also have kids on my own, and grandchildren and I have to pass on this important value in order for them to learn to take care of it.”

The different tasks in the greenhouse are seasonal, and nature sets the pace. Rosa describes: “I have to maintain the tree nursery, like bagging up and making sure that the plants don’t dry, and water them. Moreover, I have to prepare the land and here we do have natural fertilizer.”

 

A climate action for a global issue

 

Moreover, it’s worth saying that two forest engineers lead the project, Martín Erdmann is one of them. He understands that reforestation responds to the emergency of the global climate crisis and our current way of life.

He explains: “Despite the great extensions of the native forests in the region, we mainly find them in the mountain range. But there also exist valleys, river banks and livestock-based farming which also need reforestation. So, planting native trees seeks to rebalance the ecosystems where we produce the necessary services of life.”

In addition, he details that they nurse the plants for 2 years before taking them to the definitive planting place. When reforesting, the core technique consists in planting 20 trees group wide. One tree occupies 1 square feet per space. Thus, this method imitates the natural reforestation or a forest, which differs from the traditional planting method in row.

 

More to come in the upcoming future

 

During 2022, the project is getting ready for the second season of native reforestation. During the first operational year, the process included collecting and conserving the native seeds. But also the work of the local families who reproduce the trees. Not without mentioning the great forest keepers. They are local women from the Mapuche community who facilitate their land. For the next 20 years, they will take care of the reforestation Curarrehue, in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

For 2023, the community hopes to reforest at least 23 tree centers, duplicate the planting production in greenhouses. They also wish to increase the number of people and organizations which collaborate in the project.

 

wiñolfe anumka
Angela our team member visiting a tree nursery in Curarrehue

 

Cristián, Amity Tours CEO, planting the first native trees of our carbon neutral project.
In Amity, we are very proud to partake in the reforestation initiative. Indeed, during the month of July, we will realize our first reforestation by planting 11 tree cores of 20 trees. It consequently represents 50 tons of CO2 carbons. By doing such action, we will compensate for our estimated 2019 carbon footprint, but also the flight emission for the upcoming ATTA event in Switzerland.

Multisport experience – Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route Chile

multisport 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.

 

multisport experience chile
Paso Desolación hiking trail, Vicente Perez Rosales national park

 

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!

 

ebike llanquihue lake

 

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.  

 

Discover this route on SUDA, our application partner.

 

Day 2 – Horsebackriding Cochamó Valley

 

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.”

 

Discover this route on SUDA!

 

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.

 

 

Discover this route on SUDA!

 

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.

 

Check our last adventure gravel cycling 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!

 

Gravel Cycling Chile – Llanquihue Lake Loop Ride

specialized chile

The Llanquihue Lake is located in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Ensenada, Las Cascadas and Puerto Octay.

 

The Llanquihue Lake is located approximately 1,000 km south of Santiago de Chile, in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the lake Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Las Cascadas, Ensenada and Puerto Octay.

 

llanquihue lake
Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano (Photo credit: Chile Travel)

 

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. 

 

TYPICAL HOUSE LLANQUIHUE LAKE
The traditional German architecture around Llanquihue lake (Puerto Octay)

 

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.

 

specialized diverge e5 gravel bike
Specialized Diverge gravel bikes ready to pedal around Llanquihue lake

 

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.

 

gravel cycling llanquihue lake
The countryside of the Llanquihue lake

 

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.

 

Puerto Octa

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. 

 

gravel bike llanquihue
Cycling under the rain is a unique experience, even better with gravel bikes.

 

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.

 

playa maiten llanquihue gravel bike
Amity Tours at Maitén beach, Llanquihue Lake

 

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.

 

llanquihue amity tours
Amity team ready to kick off the second day of gravel cycling around Llanquihue 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. 

 

llanquihue gravel bike chile amity
Last stop before heading north towards Frutillar

 

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.  

 

Aconcagua spa chile

 

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.

Active adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

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.

 

tourists cycling the lake and volcano district of Chile
A pause for a pose while cycling around the lakes of southern Chile

 

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.

 

lake volcano district chile map
Map of the Lake and Volcano District

 

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.

 

llaima volcano conguillio park chile
View of the Llaima volcano, Sierra Nevada trail hike. Conguillio National Park

 

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

 

kutralkura geopark unesco chile
Map of the Kutralkura 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.

 

mountain bike chile
Mountain biking surrounding by ancient araucaria tree sand volcanoes in Malalcahuello

 

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.

 

mapuche chile
Sharing a cultural encounter with the Mapuche community is the best way to connect with the human face of the Lake and Volcano District

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.

 

conguillio park sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada trail, always with the Villarrica volcano at sight

 

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.

 

sierra nevada trail conguillio
Ancient tree forest

 

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.

 

Admiring the Llaima volcano alongside the araucaria trees
Admiring the Llaima volcano alongside the araucaria trees

 

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.

 

gravel bike chile conguillio
Amity guide Baudio leading the way towards the Conguillio National Park

 

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.

 

llaima conguillio park
The Llaima volcano greeting us when arriving at Conguillio National Park

 

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).

 

mountain bike lonquimay chile
Mountain biking around the Lonquimay volcano

 

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.

 

pucon villarrica volcano
Pucón and the Villarrica volcano

 

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.

 

Exploring the hiking trails around the Villarrica volcano

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.

 

Villarrica volcano hike
Villarrica volcano hike

 

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.

 

road cycling chile pucon
Road cycling towards the Andes mountain range between volcanoes and araucaria trees

 

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.

 

villarrica volcano gravel bike chile
gravel biking at the feet of the Villarrica volcano

 

Check out our new gravel bike tour that blends adventure, ancestral culture all together with outstanding nature.

 

Seven-Lake Circuit

 

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.

 

Road cycling the Seven-Lake route is the highlight of the Lake and Volcano District

 

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.

 

Llanquihue Lake

 

llanquihue lake chile
Starting point of the cycling day at Llanquihue lake

 

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.

 

cycling chile
Cycling around the llanquihue Lake

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.

Stay tuned for our next active adventures!

Scouting the Pacific coast of La Araucania Region, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

Playa puacho chile

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. 

 

gravel bike chile mapuche
Amity team working on finding new gravel bike routes to explore in La Araucania.

 

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. 

 

Lago Budi Wampo Pacific Coast
Lago Budi traditional Wampo (wooden canoe)

 

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. 

 

Typical Ruka Lafkenche at Lago Budi Araucania
Typical Ruka Lafkenche at Lago Budi

 

Mapuche Lafkenche

 

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.

 

Fresh Seafood Mapuche lunch
Fresh Seafood lunch

 

Local handicrafts

 

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

 

Mapuche pilwa bag
Traditional Pilwa bag

 

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.

  

 

Puacho Beach

 

playa puacho chile Pacific coast
Seashells on volcanic rock in Puacho beach, Puerto Saavedra

 

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. 

 

cormorant lile
The Cormorant Lile inhabit the Pacific coast of Chile

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

 

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. 

 

Capitan Pastene Araucania
The landscape around the village of Capitan Pastene

Capitán Pastene: the little Italy of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

Museo Jamon Serrano Capitan Pastene Araucania
Cured ham production in Capitan Pastene

 

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. 

 

capitan pastene araucania
Coppa hanging at the stores, a dry-cured pork ham.

 

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. 

 

Hotel and Restaurant LEmiliano Capitan Pastene Araucania
Hotel and Restaurant L’Emiliano, Capitan Pastene.

 

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.

 

Prosciutto Factory in Capitan Pastene Araucania
Prosciutto Factory in Capitan Pastene

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.

 

Kuel Mapuche Araucania
Kuel is similar to a pyramid, made by the Mapuche people.

 

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.

 

ruka lafkenche mapuche araucania
Traditional Lafkenche ruka

 

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

 

Mapuche Museum Puren Araucania
Mapuche museum in the city of Puren

 

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. 

 

Kuel Mapuche Araucania
Kuel, Important ceremony place surrounded by Eucalyptus plantation

 

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 Araucania
Ancient araucaria or monkey-puzzle tree in Nahuelbuta National Park, La Araucania region

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.

 

nahuelbuta mapuche people chile
Nahuelbuta national park

 

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. 

Pacific coast Mapuche La Araucania
Pacific coast in La Araucania

Mapuche Chile

mapuche chile

The Mapuche are one of the greatest warrior people in Human History. They are admired and considered as indomitable, by chroniclers and historians. 

 

With great success, they first confronted the Inca Empire and then, the Spanish Empire. As of today, the Mapuche People are still alive more than ever.

Lautaro (“leftraru”), a famed Mapuche warrior (or “weichafe”), considered the William Wallace (Braveheart) of La Araucanía, was one of the great leaders, who managed to innovate and defeat the Spanish army, observing the military strategies of the Spaniards and incorporated it into his people.

 

lautaro mapuche
Lautaro or Leftraru

 

Geographically, the “Wallmapu” is the ancestral Mapuche territory, covering a vast area from the Pacific ocean (west side in Chile) to the Atlantic ocean (east side in Argentina), and with the Andes Mountains in the middle.

On the west side, the Mapuche ruled in La Araucanía Region. In general, La Araucania Region recognizes 4 sectors. Indeed, each of them has some cultural differences, due to the natural environment where they have developed: Pewenche (mountain range), Wenteche (upper valley), Nagche (lower valley) and Lafkenche (Sea).

 

wallmapu mapuche
Wallmapu, the Mapuche territory

 

Every Mapuche seeks to live in balance with Nature, as their ancestors did. The Mapuche people understood their role in Nature as part of it, and in no case as “masters” of the Universe, as some Western religions put it. For the life of the Mapuche, the human side, the natural side and the spiritual complement each other harmoniously, leading them to find the Küme Mogen (Good Living).

The Mapuzungün is the ancestral Mapuche language. Interestingly, each word has a meaning associated with the human being, the behavior of nature and its deepest beliefs. It is a reservoir of knowledge (Kimün) and way of thinking (Rakizuam).

Despite many attempts to make the culture of the Mapuche people disappear, it remains more alive than ever. Actually, they are constantly transforming and evolving, without losing sight of their roots and principles that guide their way of seeing the World.

 

mapuche flag
Mapuche flag

 

The Mapuche human being 

 

In Mapuzungün, the literal translation “che” means people, and “mapu” means land. Therefore, the meaning of the word “mapuche” is “People of the land”.

 

mapuche

 

However, being “che” for the Mapuche people is something much deeper. In fact, it has to do with complying with certain behavior norms harmonizing the relationship between people, Mother Nature and the Spirits.

 

The different Mapuche groups per territory

 

mapuche map
The different Mapuche groups in Chile (Map by TourMaps)

 

Throughout the various territories that make up the Wallmapu, we find a changing diversity according to the territory.

For example, the Lafkenche cuisine’s best specialties are mainly seafood, whereas the Wentenche and Nagche’s are more based on a great variety of cereals a meats (horse, chicken, lamb, and beef). Finally, the Pewenche’s special dishes are based on “piñones”, the nutty seeds of the araucaria tree or “Pewen“.

 

araucaria tree chile
The ancient araucaria tree
Pewenche

 

In geographical terms, the Pewenche territory encompasses both sides of the Andes mountain range, between the Maule River and the Lonquimay Volcano. Before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores, they were hunters and gatherers of pine nuts (piñon, pewen or pehuén), seed from the araucaria tree that gives the name and essence characteristics of the pewenche culture. Thanks to this, they elaborate gastronomic products such as pine nut flour, jams, muday (ancestral drink), among others.

 

pewenche mapuche
The Pewenche community preparing a traditional goat barbecue under the araucaria trees

 

It is not without saying that the Pewenche consider the araucaria as a sacred tree thanks to its medicinal properties. Thus, we understand that their ancestral culture is closely related to the natural environment in which they live. Likewise, they maintain a deep bond with their territory and understand that the land cannot be separated from culture and identity. Pewenche people consider the Araucaria tree as their Mother, because “she” feeds them with her pine-nuts. 

 

Wenteche and Nagche

 

The daily life of the Wenteche and Nagche people develops around the nature of the different river-valleys located in La Araucanía Region. This territory is delimited by the pewenche territory (East), and by the lafkenche territory (West).

The typical Wetenche housing is associated with the ruka wenteche, whose construction is mainly covered by the collected plants (küna) found in wetlands and swamps of their territory. 

 

ruka mapuche
Ruka

 

Regarding the traditional gastronomy, the wenteche and nagche food has a strong base of meats (mainly chicken, beef, and horse), and cereals, mainly wheat (cachilla), in addition to legumes such as peas, beans, chicharo, and quinoa, among others. Thanks to these raw materials, they make preparations such as moulting, mote, roasted flour, catuto and locro. They mostly complement typical dishes such as casserole, roasts, zimita, and others.

On the other hand, the Wetenche and Nagche are the best at collecting wild fruits such as maqui, boldo, michay, mora, and mosqueta. Moreover, during the rainy seasons, they collect native mushrooms such as the digüeñe and changle. These strains are later incorporated in the traditional dishes to generate flavors of greater nutritional value.

Generally, in comparison to other Mapuche territories, it should be noted that the Wenteche and Nagche are more characterized by the apiculture and the intensive cereal production. In addition, thanks to the raw materials from the territory, they produce handicrafts associated with the ancestral way of dressing, but also everyday items. As examples of the Wenteche handicrafts, we can find blankets woven with wool and natural dyeing, ancestral Mapuche ceramics as well as silverware like trapelacucha, chaway and trarilonco.

 

Lafkenche

 

 

The Lafkenche mainly live by the Pacific Ocean and around the Budi Lake (the only salt-water lake in South America). Their traditional house is a ruka lafkenche, whose construction is mainly covered by the kuna, a plant that can be found in wetlands. The main feature of the typical housing is the wood-fire stove or “kütralwe”, located at the center of the house where the family and invited guests meet and greet.

 

mate mapuche ruka
Traditional mate ritual in the Ruka

 

Regarding the Lafkenche gastronomy, we find a strong association with the sea. Indeed, the main typical dishes are based on seafood ingredients, fish and seaweed. In addition, the Lafkenche also incorporate wild fruits and berries to give the dishes a unique flavor.

 

mapuche seafood
Dish of seafood

 

Among the cultivable products in the lafkenche cuisine, the potato stands out. Actually, the Lafkenche territory supplies a large part of the potato demand of Chile.

 

Huilliche

 

The Huilliche inhabit Los Ríos and Los Lagos Regions. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, they populated the lands located from the Toltén river to Chiloé Island. Actually, the word “Huilliche” means “People of the South”.

The Chezungun is their native language, which has roots of the Mapudungun language. Both languages differ in vocabulary and phonetic intonation patterns. However, the grammatical structure is the same.

For clothing, they used garments woven with wool of llamas and guanaco, which were then dyed with vegetable fibers in order to add color. They used to live in wooden buildings with woven straw roofs, which had a single room. There was also a space to prepare the campfire, cook and heat.

Economically speaking, their system was based on horticulture, livestock and fishing. They grew corn, potatoes and quinoa, in addition to raising llamas and guanacos. They built their own tools such as wooden weapons and also vessels to carry vegetables and fish.

 

fish huilliche
Fishing in the Huilliche territory of Mapu Lahual

 

Within the society, composed by tribes, they organized themselves according to a patrilineal system. Indeed, they excelled at being peaceful. However, due to the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, they started to develop warrior skills in order to defend their land.

 

The Mapuche spirituality

 

mapuche spirituality
Image by lapanera.cl

 

The oldest Mapuche pray every day at the beginning of the day, to give thanks to Nature and divinity for the fruits received. Also, they perform collective ceremonies, such as the Nguillatún, during which they give thanks for the harvests and prosperity of the year. Moreover, in certain times of climatic difficulties, they request for the end of droughts in the Wallmapu.

An important aspect of the Mapuche spirituality is to combine the observation of the physical environment with metaphysical aspects. An example of this is the use of dreams in order to guide their conduct or influence decisions.

 

The roles in the Mapuche society

 

The Mapuche social structure is based on “lof”, which is a basic social unit composed of patrilineal and consanguineous groups. They are principally based on kinship, as one of the essential characteristics between each lof.  

 

lonko machi
Lonko and Machi roles

 

A main authority figure in the Mapuche society is the lonko. Indeed, as the traditional authority figure, the lonko role is essentially the Head of each lof. In order to fulfill his role, he must completely master leadership skills, but also the dominion of the word and the capacity to deal and manage conflicts. More importantly, these skills must come as natural talents in order to be able to lead the Mapuche society and inspire respect to his spiritual peers.

To resume, the lonko stands out as ritual authority, as well as the machi role. Alongside him, the machi is the other major actor in the Mapuche society. As a natural medicinal healer, he or she is the one with closer ties to Divinity than the rest of the Mapuche members. Hence, the machi conducts most religious ceremonies such as Nguillatún, as well as curing physical diseases with medicinal plants.

Spiritually, the machi understands and practices her/his healing rituals from the perspective of the Mapuche cosmovision. Indeed, she/he is able to perform healing ceremonies (Machitún or Nguillatún) during which she/he falls into a trance. Thus, the machi can detect what evil is afflicting the patient. Finally then, she/he can prescribe her/his healing recommendations with purifying spells through chants.

 

The worldwide-known influential Mapuche people 

 

It is not without saying that the living culture is also observed in the daily life of the Mapuche. In fact, they have been able to integrate within the cities, working like any person, although in permanent contact with their communities of origin. Visiting relatives, participating in ceremonial activities such as the Nguillatún, recreational activities such as the Palin game (field hockey-like), designing handicrafts, speaking their mother tongue Mapuzugün and teaching their culture to their children, friends and everyone they value, respect and want to make the Mapuche culture known to the World. 

 

Elisa Loncón Antileo, the spokeswoman of the Mapuche native people

 

elisa loncon mapuche

 

Elisa was born on January 23rd, 1963 in La Araucanía Region of Chile, where she lived her childhood in the Lefweluan community. As of today, she is a mother, professor and defender of the linguistic and cultural rights of the native people. Her native tongue is the Mapudungun, moreover she speaks spanish and english languages.

She graduated with an English degree from La Frontera University in La Araucanía Region. Later, she carried out postgraduate study in the International Institute of Social Studies of Hague (Netherlands) and the University of Regine (Canada). In addition, she holds a PhD in Humanities from the University of Leiden (NL), not without mentioning a PhD in literature from Universidad Católica (Chile).

 

 

In 2021, Mrs. Loncón was elected as one of the representatives of the Mapuche people for the Chilean Constitutional Convention. Following the inauguration of the body, Loncón was elected President of the Constitutional Convention to represent the collective and plurinational voice of the Chilean people.

 

Flor Calfunao Paillalef, the Ambassador of the Mapuche People

 

 

Flor Rayen Calfunao-Paillalef was born on August 28th 1961 in La Araucanía Region. She belongs to the Juan Paillalef community (Temuco city). Since 1996, she has lived in Switzerland. She is the ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Mapuche to the United Nations.

In 2008, the city of Geneva recently gave her the “Exiled Woman, Committed Woman” award for her continuous work on denouncing the human rights violations that the Chilean Government daily commits with the Mapuche community. 

 

 

However, on July 11th of 2018 after a 10-year long process, Switzerland definitively denied her asylum request, and also ordered her deportation to Chile.

In light of this decision, Flor Paillalef then decided to fill a complaint to the UN Committee of Torture, aleging a violation of her Rights under the Article 3° of the Swiss Convention. As a result, the Committee urged the Swiss to reconsider Flor’s asylum application. 

In conclusion, the Mapuche people want to be the main actor in the processes of the social transformation currently taking place both in Chile and around the Globe. Therefore, we invite you to understand and learn more about this ancestral way of life and spirituality through the visit of the beautiful landscapes present in the Mapuche territory, our Lake & Volcano District. 
Hopefully, when you return home, you will have lived a true ancestral experience giving you a more meaningful perspective of life.

Scouting New Gravel Bike Routes – Conguillio National Park Chile

gravel bike conguillio 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.

 

 

gravel bike chile
Specialized Diverge E5 and the Villarrica volcano

 

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.

 

gravel bike tour chile
Designing new gravel adventures at Amity Headquarters.

 

What is a Gravel Bike?

 

elite gravel chile

 

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.

 

gravel amity chile
Amity team about to hit the gravel roads of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

 

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.

 

colico lake chile
Colico Lake at Santa Amalia Lodge

 

Gravel Biking in Conguillio National Park

 

 

gravel bike conguillio chile
Entrance of 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.

 

llaima volcano conguillio
Llaima volcano

 

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.

 

gravel cycling chile
Cycling alongside Truful Truful Canyon

 

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.

 

 

gravel conguillio truful truful
Impressive Truful Truful Canyon in Conguillio

 

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.

 

laguna verde conguillio
Laguna Verde in autumn with the lowest water level

 

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.

 

 

araucaria tree conguillio chile
Under the araucaria trees, spotting the flying condors

 

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.

 

captren lagoon conguillio
Final stop of our gravel adventures in Conguillio National Park

 

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 chile
Aerial view of La Baita Lodge during autumn season

 

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.

 

 

double room la baita
Double room in La Baita lodge

 

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.

 

hot tub la baita
Hot tub at La Baita Lodge

 

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!

 

llaima volcano
Amity Team at Conguillio lake with the Llaima volcano in the background

 

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.

 

Sustainable Practices at Amity Tours

It all started with a big dream: Amity Tours wants to become a Zero Waste Company. As simple as that. What might sound easy, is in fact the beginning of a long journey. A fascinating one without any doubt. Let’s dive into the beginning of this long sustainable trip.

 

Our Zero Waste Challenge

 

As a company offering responsible tourism in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, Atacama Desert and Patagonia of Chile since 2003, we decided to take a new challenge towards becoming a Zero Waste Company. As a result, we are implementing several new measures: 

 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND MUCH MORE.

 

sustainability chileReduce

In order to prevent the production of waste, we have partnered up with local & organic food suppliers. This allows us to buy in bulk. Thus, it avoids the use of disposable plastics but also fuel the local economy.

sustainability

Reuse

We donate all of the remaining reusable water bottles after each operations’ season. In 2019, approximately 450 bottles were donated to local sport clubs. Moreover, we highly encourage our clients to bring their own water bottles.

sustainability chile

Recycling

At our main office we installed a recycling point. We separate Plastic, Cans, Glass, Paper/Cardboard, and of course, all the organic waste generated at our office. Our chicken at the headquarter are happy about every food waste.

During the trips our guides and drivers set up a dismountable recycling point where clients and staff can dispose the residues. These will be collected at the hotels visiting during the trip. In addition, we separate and collect the organic waste to be transformed into compost. This compost will be used for our vegetables garden located at Amity Headquarters.

We are encouraging our local partners to join the Zero Waste Challenge. Sustainable practices and waste management are important focuses by electing our accommodations and food suppliers during the trips. Our goal is it to contribute to a first Zero Waste Destination in Chile.

 

Since 2021 we’ve been forming part of the Zero Waste Community of the Fundación Basura in Chile.

 

Our chicken waiting for their food
Our chicken waiting for their food. You can see our recycling point and warehouse in the backdrop.

 

Tourism Declares Climate Emergency

 

While we were investigating about how to become a Zero Waste Company, a whole new world opened up. We learned about sustainable practices for tour operators and found great local alternatives for our previous waste problems.

During these searches we stumble over the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency website. A global community who has declared a climate emergency and came together to plan a better future for tourism. We immediately declared as Amity Tours and committed to act in order to cut global emissions in half over the next decade. We just finished our first Climate Action Plan.

Being part of the Tourism Declares Community means sharing ideas, challenges and solutions, so that together we can create a new, regenerative tourism industry built on the principles of climate justice.

 

 

climate emergency
Llaima volcano (3.125 meters) from Sollipulli volcano.

 

Carbon what?

 

During our journey we read a lot about carbon footprint, how to offset it or even how to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon offset, carbon removal, carbon capture, carbon neutral, climate positive… A complete new area for all of us, and we got a little confused with all these different terms. In a few words we would like to explain each concept in order to give you an idea about our decisions.

 

Offsetting your carbon footprint

 

Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way for companies or individuals to manage the carbon emissions that are not able to completely eliminate. The emissions are getting calculated and an equal amount will be invested in projects that reduce or remove emissions.

Need an example: It is like, eating a chocolate bar with 500 calories. Afterwards you bike to the Caburgua Lake and burn the 500 calories. That is how the actual impact (in terms of calories) of eating the chocolate bar would be zero.

Now let’s apply this concept into carbon offsetting: The chocolate bar in this case would be the carbon footprint and burning the calories is offsetting it into projects where carbon is getting removed from the atmosphere (by buying carbon credits from projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy).

 

Carbon removal or Carbon capture

 

Carbon removal means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades or centuries in plants, soils, oceans, rocks, saline aquifers, depleted oil wells, or long- lived products like cement. source: Tommorows Air

 

Getting Carbon neutral

 

Carbon neutral means taking action to reduce and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as an organisation puts into it. Being carbon neutral means that an organization has a carbon footprint equal to zero.

 

Getting Climate positive

 

Getting climate positive is going one step further then reaching the carbon neutrality. That can be reached by creating greater environmental benefits, than the actual carbon footprint. You can remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for example.

At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions. Since the beginning of our trajectory we have been focusing on responsible and sustainable tourism practices. A fact that also gets reflected in our Conservations Tours.

 

 

sustainable chile

 

Amity Tours and Conservation Tourism

 

We love supporting projects, that are providing benefits to the local communities and environment. Here a few examples we have worked on during our 18 years:

 

Kütralkura – Chile’s First Geopark

 

An amazing example of how geo-sciences connect with local culture for the conservation of the geological and cultural heritage of this landscape in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District.

 

 

 

Mapuche Tourism – Valle del Kuel

 

The objective of the project was to put in touristic value the heritage resource “kuel” of the valleys of Lumaco and Purén. A heritage considered by national and international archaeologists as one of the most important and unknown of the original Mapuche people.

 

 

 

Asi Conserva Chile and WWF

 

The project sought to value, through the design of tourism conservation products, private and community conservation initiatives that make up the trade association “Así Conserva Chile“.
A 100% tour operator pilot focused on conservation tourism was implemented. Where we assured in it all the skills and abilities necessary to sustain itself over time.

 

 

https://www.adventuretravelnews.com/working-with-wwf-chile-for-the-development-of-special-interest-tourism-in-private-conservation

 

Darwin’s Route Tour in Chiloé

 

A tour where you can discover the wonders that Charles Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean rain forest, and watch the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science.

 

 

sustainable tourism

 

Route of Parks of Patagonia

 

Our most recent project is a 14-day Multisport Route of Parks, Patagonia. In this tour you will discover Torres del Paine National Park, the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park, and a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees in Conguillío National Park.

Nature, diversity, local communities and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences leaded by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!

 

Our latest inquiry ended up in a local tree planting project.

 

Wiñolfe Anumka

 

In April 2021 the platform Wiñolfe Anumka has been launched. This brand-new project is the response of the inquiry we at Amity Tours made one year ago. We now get the possibility to offset our carbon emissions on a local basis. Wiñolfe Anumka is a Mapuche Pewenche community network offering reforestation of native forests through their own nursery network.

Beginning of 2020 we contacted our local partner, Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias to discuss a solution about offsetting our not avoidable carbon emissions on a local basis. Since many years we are working together with the award winning community based project, sending clients from all over the world, to connect with the local culture. We did share with them our vision, about a reforestation project in Kurarewe, located just a few kilometers away from our headquarters. After our first meeting, we invited a forestry engineer to join the project.

Together with a local company that is dedicated to landscape management, environmental education and regeneration, we stared working on gathering relevant and scientific information. We then calculated the CO2 emissions produced by Amity Tours (approximately 50 Ton CO2), and hence the amount of native trees to be planted to neutralize these emissions. As a result we learned that we must plant at least 14 tree clusters, each formed of 20 different native especies, to be able to offset the 50 tons CO2 in the next 20 years. Together with Wiñolfe Anumka we will be working on the implementation of this great goal.

 

 

 

Local is our solution

 

At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions to support the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future. Indeed carbon offsetting alone won’t fix the climate crisis. Despite that, we are convinced that each step towards a climate positive society is worth any effort.

At Amity Tours we want to make changes, share progresses and solutions. It is one of our main goals to motivate other companies and individuals to join the Zero Waste Movement and to participate actively in the big challenge of changing unsustainable habits.  We are not only a tour operator but also a consultant company and are aware of our responsibility by sharing practical knowledge.

 

 

Amity Greenhouse waiting for its consumers

Chile Lake Volcano District – Araucanía Andina

araucania andina lake 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.

 

araucania andina chile
Map credit: Araucania Andina Travel

 

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.

 

araucania andina lake volcano district

 

In this week’s post, you will discover the best natural places to explore in La Araucania Andina.

 

conguillio araucania andina
Conguillio National Park, Araucania Andina (Photo Credit: Chile Lagos y Volcanes)

 

Kütralkura Geopark

 

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.

 

llaima volcano sollipulli
Llaima volcano (3.125 meters) from Sollipulli volcano.

 

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.

 

pewenche araucaria
Drinking Yerba Mate has been part of the ancestral tradition of the Mapuche culture since ancient times.

 

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

 

tolhuaca volcano chile
Tolhuaca volcano (2.806 meters) and Blanca lagoon.

 

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.

 

Laguna malleco tolhuaca park
Malleco lagoon, Tolhuaca National Park.

 

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. 

 

malleco waterfall tolhuaca
Malleco 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.

 

conguillio llaima volcano
Araucaria trees with the Llaima volcano at sight, Conguillio National 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”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o2N7EE4-g8&list=PLzV6yGh6hXDaQ9wbClUj7lhey1PCtLdtx&index=2&ab_channel=GabrielM.R

 

 

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.

 

Conguillio lake sierra nevada
Conguillio lake from the Sierra Nevada trail.

 

Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

mtb chile
Mountain biking next to Lonquimay volcano (2.865m) and Christmas crater, 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.

 

 

tolhuaca volcano kutralkura geopark chile
Tolhuaca volcano (2.806 meters), Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

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.

 

ski lonquimay volcano
Skiing in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. Main crater of Lonquimay volcano.

 

On the other hand, during spring and summer (late-October to April), cycling might be the best way to explore Malalcahuello.

 

MTB Malalcahuello
Mountain biking with the Tolhuaca volcano at sight. Photo credit: Evoc Sports.

 

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.

 

pewenche chile araucania andina
The “cordero al palo” is a whole roast lamb barbecue, offered by the Meliñir family.

 

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.

 

araucaria tree araucania andina
Piñon, seed of the araucaria tree.

 

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.

 

araucaria tree
Bark of Araucaria tree

 

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 active travel adventures and discover the incredible diverse landscape and history of La Araucaria Region.

 

 

lake volcano araucania
Road cycling near Bio-bio river, Araucanía Andina circuit, Chile’s Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.