Chile is the best spot to ski in South America. Located along the Andes mountain range, it’s a country full of contrasts, with changing climate and geography. The presence of such natural wonders has allowed the country to be elected the World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination since 2016 according to the World Travel Awards.
In addition to be the best adventure travel destination in the world, Chile also offers great snow conditions. Indeed, from July to mid-October, you can enjoy winter sports in 18 different ski resorts. The most famous are concentrated near the Capital, Santiago de Chile.
But, if you are an adrenaline-seeker and love breathtaking landscape while skiing, the Lake and Volcano District is the best place to practice your favorite winter sport in Chile.
As of matter of fact, we can say without a doubt that Chile is a country of volcanoes. Indeed, with no less than 2.900 volcanoes which 80 of them are still active, you can slide over more than one of them.
Corralco Ski Resort is located 120 kilometers from the city of Temuco. Nestled in the heart of the Malalcahuello National Reserve, Corralco is the best ski resort in Chile. Additionnally, and over the last few years, it has become a world-class destination preferred by hundreds of beginner and advanced skiers.
Located 1.450 meters above sea level and on the southeast slope of the Lonquimay volcano, the ski resort offers a luxury hotel with comfortable facilities and excellent service. In winter, Corralco counts on a skiable domain of more than 1,000 ha. for alpine skiing and snowboarding, with its 6 lifts you can access 29 runs of different levels of difficulty. The skiable terrain surrounded by a unique forest of ancient araucarias and views of the Lonquimay volcano.
All of these elements have led the experts to categorize Corralco Ski Resort as a unique destination for the practice of ski, snowboard, splitboard and randonnée. As a result, it’s no surprise that Corralco has played host for the US Ski Team and for the Burke Mountain Academy to practice this sport during winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, Los Ríos Region
Located in Panguipulli, in the middle of the Patagonian Andes, the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve mainly focuses on the care and conservation of the native species and the Temperate Rain Forest.
The Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is located 860 kilometers south of Santiago, in Los Rios Region. This reserve has a little explored ecosystem. In fact, it has a great diversity thanks to its particular geography: lakes of glacial origin, eternal snows on the Mocho and Choshuenco volcanoes, and countless water courses. As a result, the main purpose is the conservation of the native species of the Temperate Rain Forest.
The Bosque Encantado Ski Center is within the biological reserve, at more than 1.000 meters high. Accordingly, it has 3 runs of 1,200, 1,300 and 1,400 meters. And for those who are not so familiar with the white sport, there is also the possibility of trekking with snowshoes, tubing, glaciological tour and snowmobile rides, among others.
In all our ski experiences including Huilo-Huilo, we go Cat skiing until we reach the glacier plateau. From there, we skin up to Mocho volcano, a 40-minute hike up to summit this “easy” climb. Then, we ski down back to the plateau and aim North, towards a much more challenging climb: the Choshuenco volcano. You won’t believe your feet and eyes, as you attack the slopes of this side of the montain.
Huilo-Huilo is a great place for outdoor activities. Indeed, it is surely one of the most outstanding spots to practice summer skiing in Southern Chile.
3. Pucón Ski Center, La Araucanía Region
Commonly, when talking about skiing in Chile, the first thing that comes to mind are the ski centers located around Santiago. But if you’re really looking for real ski adventures mixed with mindblowing landscapes, we highly suggest to go south.
Approximately 785 km south from Santiago de Chile, you can find Chile’s capital of adventure travel: Pucón. Located at the foot of Villarrica Volcano (2,847 meters), and the lake of the same name, Pucón is the best place to be for nature lovers. In fact, this quaint little town offers plenty of outdoor activities to do.
Pucón Ski Center is located 16 kilometers from Pucón, on the northern slope of the Villarrica volcano. This is Chile’s most active volcano, blowing smoke all year round. There, you can enjoy about 30 kilometers of skiable terrain. Likewise, given the fact that you’re sliding down a volcano, you get to marvel at an incredible scenic view of La Araucanía Region.
Ski Resort Map
Notably, the Pucón Ski Center is one of the most beautiful in Southern Chile. In fact, it has a certified ski/boardercross run for skiing/snowboarding, with international teams coming in for “summer training”.
Also, Pucon offers 9 lifts, and 20 runs for all types of levels. Hence, it is a great place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, especially if you decide to climb up the crater of the Villarrica volcano.
During our skiing adventures including Pucon, we support our backcountry access with powerful snowmobiles, so you can rest assured that you’re going to get a lot of fun.
The best part of a ski experience in Pucón consists in hiking up to the open crater, and then skiing all the way down to the ski center, with excellent snow conditions. Accordingly, as every adventure activity in the mountain, the ascent of the Villarrica volcano must be carried out by a professional mountain local guide, along with the appropriate mountain gear.
Ski Adventure Experience in Chile
If you are still wondering where to enjoy summer skiing, check out our last ski adventures we had with our international friends!
Our ski experience in Chile is unique. Basically, you can expect some great luxury hotels with SPA to relax after a full day of skiing. But also excellent restaurants to enjoy local cuisine paired with the best local wines and beers.
Furthermore, we use exclusive services such as cat-ski and snowmobiles, in order to explore the best hidden parts of the Lake and Volcano District.
Contact us for more info about the 2022 ski season in Chile and follow our great active adventures in Chile!
The Llanquihue Lake is located in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Ensenada, Las Cascadas and Puerto Octay.
The Llanquihue Lake is located approximately 1,000 km south of Santiago de Chile, in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the lake Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Las Cascadas, Ensenada and Puerto Octay.
Indeed, what makes the Llanquihue lake an interesting cultural destination to visit is the cultural identity that defines the Los Lagos region. In fact, the Huilliche Mapuche indigenous group along with the European settlers compose the social and cultural legacy of the area.
From 1852, the Spanish and German colonists began to arrive in the area of the lake. As a result, they contributed to the territory in various ways.
Until today, the arrival of the German settlers has left a strong influence over the architectural style of the area. Thus, when visiting the Llanquihue lake, sometimes it can feel like a journey to History as we get to appreciate the original large houses, sheds and churches built by the German pioneers. Interestingly, some of them are now restored and turned into boutique hotels.
Lago Llanquihue Circuit
At Amity Tours, we love this destination. Since 2003, we have visited and cycled the iconic Llanquihue lake every spring and summer season with our international friends. It’s more, we truly believe that cycling is the best eco-way to appreciate its deep blue waters, wonderful landscape dominated by the Osorno volcano, hills and natural reserves.
With the new gravel bikes, we said goodbye to summer season by cycling the Llanquihue lake loop ride. In this post, you will follow the gravel bike adventures we lived.
Well-known as the bike-friendly destination in Chile, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bike lane (82 kilometers), gravel cycling the Llanquihue lake is an authentic adventure to live when visiting the Lake and Volcano District. First, we get to appreciate the imponent presence of the Osorno volcano (2.652 meters) whose conical shape seems to emerge from the water of Llanquihue lake.
Second, the intense green of the Austral forests surrounding the lake, especially in the east side where the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park remains.
Gravel Cycling Llanquihue lake
We started our gravel bike adventure from the small town of Frutillar. Located on the northwest shore of the lake, and 45 km from Puerto Varas, it is the other attraction of Llanquihue. Both towns stand out for their well-preserved German-style houses.
In 1856, Frutillar emerged as a shipping dock with the arrival of the German pioneers. They settled around the lake and then dedicated themselves to agricultural and livestock work. For this, they installed different types of farms such as dairies, mills, breweries, along with emporium stores.
In addition to the Historic heritage, Frutillar enjoys the presence of the unmissable Teatro del Lago. There, the famous “Frutillar Music Week” festival takes place every year. Thanks to the strong musical activity, UNESCO designated Frutillar as part of the Creative Cities of Music Network in 2017. This network integrates another 180 cities around the Planet.
Leaving from Frutillar, we cycled towards Los Bajos area on a road that mixes asphalt and gravel. Always bordering the Llanquihue lake, the route passes by various gastronomic ventures from elegant tea houses to farm-style restaurants. They have become one of the great attractions of the area.
After another 17 km, we finally reached Puerto Octay on the northeast end of the Llanquihue lake. Watched over by the volcanoes around, this quaint little town never ceases to surprise us with the German architecture and heritage. That’s why in 2010, the CMN (Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, or National Monument Council), declared Puerto Octay as a Traditional Zone since it is one of the most picturesque and best preserved towns of the Llanquihue basin.
Wandering through Puerto Octay to admire its typical large houses is like a journey to the 1800-1900 century. Indeed, the population increased in these years as a connection point with Osorno and reached a certain economic boom.
Our bike adventure continued on a gravel road towards Playa Maitén where we took a break for some photos on the beach. Playa Maitén received the first 21 German families who settled around Llanquihue lake.
Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, we weren’t able to appreciate the Osorno volcano nearby. Nonetheless, during a bright summer day, we can easily admire this imponent volcanic element.
Finally, the last kilometers led us to our final destination of the day: Las Cascadas village. This part of the Llanquihue lake is a beach resort of fine sands, where the last German immigrants arrived between 1870 and 1880. Interestingly, this area is full of various waterfalls immersed in abundant green nature.
What’s more, Las Cascadas is also the starting/ending point of the largest bike lane in Chile, with no less than 82 kilometers from this sector to Puerto Varas, with another stretch from Ensenada to Petrohue.
There, we were well-received in our favorite lodge located at the shores of the lake.
On the next day, after a good breakfast, our gravel bike adventure continued and we started cycling from Las Cascadas lodge towards Puerto Varas. It goes without saying that this part of the Llanquihue lake is fascinating. Indeed, we get to cycle through the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, one of the highlights of the Lake and Volcano district.
With 253,780 hectares of evergreen forests, this national park is located in an area where volcanism has been the main factor that shaped the Andes mountain range, along with tectonic and glacier processes. Moreover, it is part of the Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Andes.
From the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park the bike lane takes us through the forest, always with the Osorno volcano at sight. And after 65 km of cycling around the Llanquihue lake, we finally arrived at the quaint city of Puerto Varas. Along with Pucón, Puerto Varas is the other capital of tourism in southern Chile. With remarkable views of the Llanquihue lake and the Osorno volcano, this city is also a reflection of European colonization in the late 1700’s thanks to the strong German architecture.
There we stopped for lunch to gain some more strength before the last 33 km of our gravel bike circuit. After leaving Puerto Varas we quickly reached Llanquihue. This urban and industrial center started to develop with the arrival of the first colonists, and afterwards the rail.
Besides, Llanquihue is where the lake drains and the course of the Maullín river starts.
Finally, we reached the last point of our gravel bike adventure, back to Frutillar. We cycled the last 20 km passing through the countryside on a winding road surrounded by small lake beaches flanked by large trees, churches and ancient harbors.
In Frutillar, we visited our friends of Cancagua, a spa where the hot tubs are located in a natural ravine of native forest overlooking the Llanquihue lake.
Cycling the Llanquihue lake circuit is an incredible experience to live when visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!
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We’ve just said goodbye to summer season full of adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. After 2 years of global uncertainty around traveling, we felt beyond thankful to receive our international friends again.
From december to march, we cycled between pristine lakes and hiked the stunning trails around active volcanoes.
WHAT DO WE DO IN THE LAKE AND VOLCANO DISTRICT
Geographically, Chile is part of the Ring of Fire. Indeed, there are no less than 3.000 volcanoes from small cinder cones, to huge boilers of various kilometers in diameter located all along the Andes mountain range. In the Lake and Volcano District, we find 17 active volcanoes. Among them, the Llaima and Villarrica volcanoes are South America’s most active volcanoes.
Traveling throughout the southern region, the giant cones dominate the landscape. What’s more, we can appreciate how their shape and silhouette change radically. Thus, many of them present large glaciers on their summit.
In addition to the active volcanic activity, we can also find the largest lakes of southern Chile. Many of them are interconnected by a hydrological system consisting of 26 large rivers, and thousands of small ones. As a result, these water sources are the main actors in conserving the rich biodiversity of the Lake and Volcano District.
It goes without saying that, given the natural elements composing the landscape of the southern region, we are blessed with stunning and remote places to explore.
Below, you will find out the best attractions to visit when traveling to Chile.
Kütralkura UNESCO Geopark
More than just a park, the Kutralkura geopark is 8.000 square kilometers that includes 6 protected areas located in La Araucanía. In Mapudungun, the native tongue of the area, Kütralkura means “stone of fire”. Indeed, there we can find one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
But also, the territory has a strong human and cultural importance. As a matter of fact, the pehuenche mapuche, first inhabitants of the area, have their ancestral cosmovision that stands out the divine essence of the volcanoes, and every element of nature in general.
Conguillío National Park
With the Llaima volcano as the main attraction of the Conguillio national park, we can also find other natural beauties such as the Captrén lagoon, the Conguillio lake and the Truful-Truful canyon. There, the area offers a lot of active adventures to experience through beautiful hiking trails.
In Amity, we particularly love the Sierra Nevada trail hike. Surrounded by ancient trees, the starting point of the trail is near the lake. The ascent is progressive and passes through a beautiful forest of native trees like lengas, colihue and araucarias. Until reaching the first two look up points, the trail is quite easy.
Afterwards, when reaching 1.600 meters above sea level, the views get really magnificent. In fact, we can admire the Llaima volcano exhibiting its cone-shaped silhouette. At its feet lies the Conguillio lake.
In addition to the many stunning hiking trails available in the park, crossing through the national park by bike is the best eco-friendly way to visit the area. From Temuco airport, our supported bike route offers a well-paved section, cutting through farm lands in the rolling hills of La Araucanía region.
Riding alongside the Llaima volcano, we get to enjoy the landscape of the Mapuche land with smooth hills and scenic nothofagus tree forests in the middle of green meadows.
When entering the park, we easily witness how the high volcanoes have shaped the landscape of the Conguillio national park.
Check out this great adventure in our Multisport Tour in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District and Patagonia.
Malalcahuello National Reserve
Another natural treasure of the Kutralkura Geopark is the Malalcahuello National Reserve. Interestingly, this territory might be one of the most outstanding attractions to visit in Chile. Geographically, the landscape is deeply marked by volcanic and glacial activity. The main natural actor is the Lonquimay volcano (2.820 meters above sea level).
Not without mentioning the presence of the “Cráter Navidad” that ended its last eruptive process in 1990. As a result, the Malalcahuello National Reserve features a unique surreal landscape that blends recent volcanic slags with ancient forests of araucaria trees.
In summer, our favorite outdoor adventure is mountain biking at the foothills of the Lonquimay volcano, passing through pristine forests of araucaria trees. On top of it, we get to connect with the pewenche Mapuche community. During this cultural encounter, they share with us their cosmovision and ancestral knowledge, and why their relationship with the araucaria tree is very close.
Watch the great adventures we had with our international partners H+I Adventures and Evoc in the Malalcahuello National Reserve.
Chile’s Capital of adventure tourism: Pucón
The strong omnipresent figure of the Villarrica volcano is without a doubt the highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. At his feet, the quaint mountain cities of Villarrica and Pucón stand around the Villarrica lake. The latter is actually the capital of adventure tourism thanks to the many outdoors activities it offers. Actually, Pucón is consolidated as a world-class destination.
Around Pucón, exploring the crystalline lakes and rivers, in addition to the incredible trails located on the foothills of the Villarrica and Lanín volcanoes are surely the best adventures to experience in this area. Moreover, you are always surrounded by ancient forests and get to connect directly with the roots of the Mapuche, the first inhabitants of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
Either by bike or by foot, we love to visit the best attractions around Pucón.
Villarrica volcano hike
Located near the Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area that is characterized by the majestic volcanoes, native tree forests, rivers and lagoons.
Dominating the landscape, the imposing Villarrica volcano (2.847 meters) is the greatest attraction. In the Mapuche culture, they call it the Rukapillán, which means “house of the spirits”. From the open crater, we can see flowing lava.
Hiking up to the summit of Chile’s most active volcano is definitely a must-do.
Cycling around Pucón
On the other hand, pedaling through this ancestral territory might be what we love to do the most. In fact, given the huge variety of trails, Pucón is actually the perfect place for every kind of biker.
Indeed, if you fancy more paved terrains, road cycling towards the Andes mountain range between volcanoes, lakes and the quaint countryside is definitely an authentic experience. What’s more, we love to relax at natural hot springs after spending an active day on our bike.
But if you are more into dirt and gravel roads, mountain or gravel cycling through Pucón’s nature is for you. For mountain biking, our favorite spots to pedal are between the Lanín and Villarrica volcano, an incredible territory of ancient forests and lagoons.
And because sometimes videos speak louder than words, check the mountain bike adventures we had with our international partners H+I Adventures and Specialized Bicycle.
Furthermore, we also added a new modality to our bike tours around Pucón. Indeed, in Amity Tours, since the pandemic, we’ve been actively exploring new routes to gravel bike. With our team of nature lovers, we’ve been gravel cycling the blow-minding trails that Pucón’ surroundings feature.
Check out our new gravel bike tour that blends adventure, ancestral culture all together with outstanding nature.
This circuit might be the most representative of Chile’s Lake and Volcano district. As indicated, there are no less than 7 lakes of extraordinary beauty: Calafquén, Panguipulli, Riñihue, Pullinque, Pellaifa, Neltume and Pirihueico.
As you cycle the Seven-lake circuit, you can enjoy and feel the presence of the Valdivian Rainforest and the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano, the main figure. With a strong Mapuche cultural identity, exuberant nature and also natural hot springs, this circuit has developed as a major tourist destination in Southern Chile. One of the natural attractions is the famous Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, an important center of biodiversity and endemism.
Every summer, we enjoy cycling the incredible seven-lake route with the imposing nature surrounding us.
Located in the Los Ríos region, the Llanquihue lake is Chile’s second largest lake and is characterized by the strong blue color of the water. Depending on the weather, it is possible to appreciate the reflection of the Osorno volcano. The cities of Puerto Varas and Frutillar settle at the shores, famous for their beaches and a strong German architecture.
Truth to be said, the area is a true paradise for every cyclist. In fact, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bicycle lane that borders the Llanquihue lake (82 kilometers). It starts from Puerto Varas and reaches Ensenada, where it forks towards the Petrohue waterfalls up to Las Cascadas.
We give thanks to each moment shared with our friends from all over the world. During this great summer season, we loved to connect again to share beauty of the Lake and Volcano District.
Home of the Mapuche indigenous people, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District has a wide range of natural and cultural highlights. At Amity Tours, we are always exploring new routes or beautiful sites, and yet we still get surprised about the great diversity. Recently, we went on to discover the Pacific coast of La Araucania region for our newest gravel bike tour.
During our last scouting trips, we focused more on the mountain part of La Araucania Region. Indeed, we travelled to the amazing Conguillio National Park for some gravel adventures alongside Llaima volcano, in addition to biking alongside the Araucaria trees (Monkey Puzzle Trees) towards Mamuil Malal pass, the border with Argentina.
In this instance, we wanted to get to know more in depth the Pacific coast side of La Araucania Region. Thus, we started at the Temuco Airport (ZCO) and drove towards the west, passing through the town of Freire. There, we visited a very charming lady with their famous handicrafts.
After a nice lunch at Teodoro Schmidt, we went on the gravel roads until arriving at the famous Budi Lake.
Facts about Budi Lake
In Mapudungun, “Budi” means “salty” and it is the only salted lake in Chile. The Budi Lake is located near the Pacific coast of La Araucanía , and is part of the county of Puerto Saavedra.
Comprising a total area of 65 square kilometers, the lafkenche (“men of the sea”) communities inhabit around the Budi Lake. As one of the last biodiversity reserves of La Araucanía Region, it is home to almost 200 native flora, in addition to 156 species of endemic fauna.
Throughout history, the steady raising of the ocean and tidal cycles have been sculpting the lake. But in 1960, a huge earthquake permanently shaped the Budi lake since wide areas of low altitude were flooded forever.
During our stay at Llaguepulli at Budi Lake we got to know a few families of the Mapuche Lafkenche community. We had a nice chat around the bonfire at their typical ruka and enjoyed a tasty home made dinner.
The Lafkenche group mainly lives by the Pacific Ocean and around the Budi Lake. Their traditional house is a ruka lafkenche, whose construction is mainly covered by the kuna, a plant of the territory. The main feature of the typical housing is the stove located at the center of the house where the family and invited guests meet.
Regarding the lafkenche gastronomy, we find a strong association with the sea. Indeed, the main typical dishes are based on seafood products, fish and seaweed. In addition, the Lafkenche Mapuche also incorporates wild fruits to give the dishes a unique flavor.
Among the cultivable products in the lafkenche cooking, the potato stands out. Actually, the Lafkenche territory supplies a large part of the potato demand of Chile.
One of my personal goals when travelling to the Budi lake was finding one of the famous pilwa bags. I have been looking for it for a long time, but wanted to buy it directly from a local producer.
On our way around the Budi lake, I found a very friendly Mapuche woman offering me one of her bags. Of course I did not doubt any second and bought one of her self-made treasures.
What makes these bags so unique?
The pilwa is part of the identity and craft tradition of the Mapuche Lafkenche who live around the Budi lake. They are made from the plant known as “chupón” (Greigia sphacelata), a vegetable fibre that grows around the lake. This specific plant is giving rise to basketry products such as bags, baskets and key rings. A 100% biodegradable material which offers a great alternative to the plastic products generating a vast amount of waste.
As part of my own Zero Waste philosophy, I love finding local, climate friendly products and contributing to the local circular economy. Something that is also reflected in our company’s values like the Zero Waste Challenge. Also check out our Sustainable Practices.
After a very unique night spent in one of the traditional Rukas, we woke up with the sound of the singing birds and the mooing cows, in addition to the familiar smell of the bonfire that provided us with heat during the night.
The generous breakfast gave us the energy to continue our adventure in the Pacific coast of La Araucania.
Only 11 kilometres from the small village of Llaguepulli, we reached the beautiful Puacho beach. Several installations give evidence to the ritual ceremonies (Nguillatun and Traditional Horse Racing) taking place at this beach.
Bordering the Pacific Ocean we enjoyed great unpaved roads and spotted a Lile cormorant colony (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) on the northern side of the beach. The lile, or red-legged cormorant is an endangered bird and one of the most beautiful cormorants in Chile. We could observe their spectacular flights and hunting activities while enjoying the nice ocean breeze.
On the northern end of the Budi lake and turning west to the Pacific Ocean we got to the city of Puerto Saavedra.
Puerto Saavedra is the main urban center of the Saavedra county. This place, which in Mapudungun means “The melody of the river when it sounds” is located in front of the river mouth of the Imperial. In addition, here the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Budi lake and Imperial river converge.
The city was founded by the sea in 1887 by Cornelio Saavedra. However, the 1960 tsunami devastated the town, which later had to be rebuilt behind the dunes of the sector.
There, we enjoyed a tasty and fresh seafood lunch looking at the riverside. Afterwards, we continued our journey passing by the city of Carahue and Nuevo Imperial.
On our way to the nice little town of Capitan Pastene, the pine plantations predominated the landscape and gave evidence to the importance of the wood production in this area.
Capitán Pastene: the little Italy of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
The Italian and Chilean traditions blend together in a unique way in Capitán Pastene. Indeed, the original recipes have been transferred from generation to generation as well as its inhabitants’ hospitality.
Capitán Pastene is the village that illustrates and represents the Italian migration, specially those italians from the Emilia-Romagna region. In fact, its tradition has remained unchanged as of now. There, we can visit the pasta factories and buy artisanal sausages and hams. But above all, you can also taste the original recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
The smell of fresh pasta, real prosciutto and Espresso transferred me to one of my beloved little italian towns visited during all the holidays in my childhood. Nothing prepares you to dive into this little Italian oasis.
Capitan Pastene is surrounded by pine plantations, small traditional towns and Mapuche communities, that is why you would never expect an italian town in the middle of that surrounding. We stayed at an Italian-Family owned Hotel L’Emiliano.
L’Emiliano is one of the first tourist businesses of the area. Besides offering accommodation for families and couples, this warm and spacious place also provides a rich and varied gastronomy. Indeed, its unique flavors and food combinations will take you straight to Italy.
As a result, the menu features delicious fresh homemade pastas stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables and seafood. Not without mentioning the desserts delighting the palate with tiramisu or strawberry panna cotta.
Unmissable sites at Capitan Pastene
Walking around the nice little town, we could feel the efforts of the Italian immigrants due to the beautiful buildings and unmissable sites, such as:
The church of San Felipe de Neri, located in front of the main square. Since 1943, the church has been commemorating Saint Philip Neri, who was born in Florence, Italy.
Cinema Pastene. As the oldest movie theater in Chile, this cultural heritage belongs to the Viani Family. And what’s more, the place has maintained its original structure and design since its construction (year 1016).
The Prosciutto de Don Primo Cortesi museum. This typical Italian character reflects in a special way the settler from Emilia Romagna.
The Molino Rosatti. Built in 2016, this mill has ever since been keeping secrets and anecdotes of the new village Capitan Pastene.
I enjoyed visiting this authentic village a lot, but at the same time feeling curious about the other interesting places of La Araucania region to visit.
Leaving little Italy behind, and only driving a few kilometers we immersed ourselves into a total different surrounding: the Kuel valley.
From ancestral times until the 19th century, the Mapuche communities constructed artificial and sacred earth mounds with the shape of a volcano. According to the anthropological study of Tom Dilehay, these mounds were used to bury the important persons and to serve the machis to feed the relationship between the ancestors and the living population. Moreover, the local family members used them as a map or as a reference physical node for families and lineages in the community.
In Purén-Lumaco valley, we can find the highest concentration of earth mounds in Chile. In effect, there still exist more than 300, which are more than 1,500-years-old. Thanks to them, we can learn more about the oldest monuments and rituals of the Mapuche people.
Inside the kueles, there is soil and material which come from other parts of the valley. This means that this work would have required the effort of many people. Some kueles are several meters high, which leads to presume that the ones who built the kueles were dedicated to this activity.
With this new knowledge I really got curious about the local Mapuche traditions, which vary depending on the geographic conditions in which each Mapuche group is settled. Indeed as people of the land (Mapu Che) they adapted their traditions due to the local conditions. That is why we can find differences between the Mapuche Lafkenche, Wenteche, Pewenche and Nagche.
Mapuche Nagche, the human identity of the Nahuelbuta mountain range
In Mapudungun, Nag Mapu means “Land of the plains”.
The territory of the Nagche group skirts the southeast side of the Nahuelbuta mountain range. At first sight, the differences between the other territorial identities are hard to distinguish. One of them is the way to speak the native tongue Mapuzungun. Indeed, there are phonetical differences in how the Wenteche and Lafkenche speak Mapuzungun.
Another different aspect is the clothing. For example, the Nagche women decorate their clothes and plait with bright-coloured wool, or with silver inlaid wrappers. Also, they wear one-coloured aprons with breastplates, just like the blouses. In other territories, the women wear blouses and floral aprons.
Moreover, we can notice distinctions in their ancestral housing. Actually, the traditional Nagche “ruka” has an oval plan, the roof is made with straw bundles and the side walls are made with wood.
Whereas the Lafkenche ruka has a circular plan and both the roof and sides are covered with straw. Finally, the Pewenche ruka has a square plan, and the roof is made with a structure resistant enough to support the weight of the snow.
In their spiritual realm, the Nagche have been integrating the accordion to traditional music instruments in their prayers when praying or performing healing rituals such as Machitún or We Tripantu.
Another difference in the spiritual part of the Nagche culture, the integration of the cinnamon tree as an element of great importance during the spirituals prayer and healing rituals. Unlike the nagche, the wetenche and lafkenche groups in La Araucanía Region commonly use the maqui, colihue and laurel trees.
In addition, it is worth noting as they live by the Nahuelbuta mountain range, the nagche easily have access to the pine nut, the fruit of the ancient monkey puzzle trees that grow in the region. But more importantly, they also have access to countless medicinal plants.
Mapuche Museum at Purén
Another great place to learn about the history of the Mapuche is the very interesting Museo Mapuche de Purén, located in the historical park of Purén overlooking the town. There you can find archaeological pieces, textiles and crafts.
The threats of the forestry plantations
Nowadays it is quite hard to distinguish the kuels or other important mapuche sites in this area. That is why you will always have to be accompanied by a local Mapuche leader, who can explain to you the historical and actual use of the ceremony spots.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of the forestry plantations and the agriculture, the ecosystems of the area have been heavily degraded and fragmented. Thus, the native vegetation has reduced to small sectors such as the Nahuelbuta National Park and the Contulmo Natural Monument.
From an environmental point of view, the forestry plantations are the major contributor to the drought currently present in La Araucania region. Indeed, the planted trees by the industry like pine and eucalyptus are high water consumers. As a result, this has not only caused the social and economic poverty of the area, but the drought has also affected culturally. A clear example of this: the decrease of the plants ancestrally used as natural medicines.
That is why it is so important keeping as much protected area as possible. One very good example is the beautiful Nahuelbuta National Park.
Nahuelbuta National Park
Founded in 1941, the Nahuelbuta national park is located on the highest zone of the Nahuelbuta mountain range, in La Araucanía Region. One of the last strongholds where the araucaria araucana lives, it has beautiful hiking trails and natural lookout points.
The park covers an area of 6,832 hectares, characterized by big forests of araucaria trees, most of them are thousands-year-old. As as specie native to the Andes mountain range, the Nahuelbuta national park is responsible of its protection.
You can hike 2 main walking trails in the Nahuelbuta national park. The first one is Piedra El Águila located 1.460 meters above sea level. There, you can find a lookout point with a spectacular view over the Andes mountain range, the valley, the Pacific coast and ocean. Second, the Cerro Anay (1,450 m.) offers a 5-kilometer hiking trail with stunning panoramic views over Los Nevados de Chillán, and the Villarrica volcano.
Back home I felt so grateful for the amazing opportunity to learn about the Lafkenche and Nagche culture and to enjoy the great trails on the coastal side of the Budi Lake. Not to forget the short excursion to little Italy, which stayed in an interesting contrast to the Mapuche culture and invited me to learn about the colonial history of Chile.
The Christmas Crater is a pyroclastic cone of the Lonquimay Volcano located in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. It was formed during the volcanic eruption on December 25 of 1988, and reaches a height of 190 meters from its base.
The hike to the crater is not technical; but you’ll do require mountain gear to climb it in winter as it is covered in snow. However, in summer (from November to Early April), the hike doesn’t require any gear.
Regarding difficulty, it is relatively short, and takes approx. 2 to 4 hours back and forth depending on your walking pace. It is ideal for families with teenagers, or people with little hiking experience.
From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view over the foothills of the Lonquimay Volcano. In addition to the lava field, extended araucarias tree forests, along with view over the Tolhuaca and the Callaqui Volcanoes.
Coloradito trail hike – Malalcahuello National Reserve
The Coloradito trail, located at the Malalcahuello National Reserve, is a place shaped by tectonic and volcanic processes with an interesting and endemic fauna and flora.
This trail is a good alternative featuring typical landscapes of the Andes mountain range under the watchful eye of the Lonquimay Volcano.
All along the way, you’ll pass through forests of endemic trees such as the araucaria and the lenga tree surrounded by the ground vegetation with a predominance of michay, quila and viola trees.
Called “El Coloradito”, it is unique access to the Lonquimay Volcano that ending near the Coloradito River. The landscape is dominated by the presence of the Lonquimay Volcano and the Sierra del Colorado. During the hike, you can observe the Llaima Volcano and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
Sierra Nevada hike – National Park Conguillio
The Conguillio National Park is one of the most outstandings places Chile has to offer. With the stunning Llaima Volcano, Sierra Nevada, volcanic lakes everywhere, araucarias tree forests, endemic fauna and flora, it is a must-see for everyone who wants to visit Southern Chile.
The national park has a wide variety of trails, but without a doubt, the Sierra Nevada hike is the most accessible and offers a wider range of landscape, enough to get a good idea of the natural richness existing in the region.
The Sierra Nevada trail begins from one of the most beautiful beaches of the Conguillio Lake, passes through a spectacular endemic forest with several viewpoints facing the lake along the way. After 3 hours, the trail reaches a clear and an out-of-the woods viewpoint facing the Llaima Volcano and the Conguillío Lake.
The hike is not technical, but does require a minimum of good health as the path can sometimes be steep. In winter, the trail is covered in snow, requiring mountain gear and good hiking experience.
This 10-kilometer long hike is recommended for active people.
Andean Lagoons hike – Villarrica National Park
Close to the Argentinean Border, and located at the foothills of the Lanín Volcano, this trail called “Lagos Andinos” is a must-see of the Villarrica National Park. During this amazing hike, suited for families, you’ll visit 3 lagoons in a large endemic forest with Coihues and Araucarias trees and end up in a volcanic landscape dominated by the majestic Lanín Volcano.
The hike begins at the shores of the Quillelhue Lagoon at 1200 meters above sea level. After 40 minutes of hiking on a flat terrain, you’ll arrive at the Huinfiuca Lagoon, the perfect spot for picnic.
While you visit the park you will witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions and you’ll have the fantastic opportunity to see and walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. You’ll also visit the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden), Huinfiuca and Verde (green) with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.
That is to say, the hike is not technical and only requires a minimum of good health.
Huerquehue National Park
The Huerquehue National Park is located at the foothills of the Andes, 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.
The hike, called “Sendero Los Lagos” starts easy but after a short distance the trail becomes rougher and sometimes steeper, but is still considered a relatively easy hiking level.
On your way to the lakes, you’ll get to see the Nido de Aguilas (nest of eagles) waterfall before the terrain gets steeper, surrounded by gigantic coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and mañíos (Podocarpus nubigena).
The first lookout point is where you’ll get to appreciate the views of Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m / 9.349 feet) and Tinquilco Lake which are absolutely stunning; here you’ll find great photo opportunities as well as chance to reenergize with a snack.
If you’re lucky, you can spot some birds that live in the forests of Nothofagus, such as chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula), black-throated huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii) and the magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) among others.
Once you pass the Trufulco falls, the hike gets a little more demanding. Once you’re over 1000 meters above sea level, you’ll see the first araucarias trees. You’ll then walk through a mixed forest before arriving at the first lake called Lago Chico. It is characterized by its clear waters reflecting the image of hundreds of araucarias, and the snow-capped peaks around.
After visiting the different lakes, you can then start to turn around and walk back to the entrance of the park.
El Cañi Reserve
El Cañi Reserve is located approximately 21 kilometers from Pucón. This 500-acre private reserve committed to the preservation of the Araucaria Araucania tree species.
This hike, although not technical, does require an overall good physical condition since you’d be constantly walking on a steep terrain until arrival to the final viewpoint. It starts with approx. 1,5 kilometer of flat terrain, and from there you’ll start the stiff climb for 3 more kilometers.
You’ll then arrive at Aserradero Refuge (1000 meters above sea level). It is the entrance of the reserve, with the first panoramic views over the valley and flora. You’ll pass through the Las Totoras Lagoon, Negra Lagoon surrounded by the thousands-year-old Araucaria, Lengua and Coihue trees.
The final path climbs until you arrive at the final viewpoint, your reward. You’ll have a 360° panoramic view over 4 volcanoes, two lakes and the valleys around the Reserve.
Moreover, you can walk around a small path that starts at Laguna negra and takes you to 6 mores lagoons.
Villarrica Volcano Ascent
Without a doubt, the Villarrica Volcano (2847 meters) ascent is a must-do activities if you plan to visit Pucón. As of today, it is one of the most active volcanoes in South America. The climb to its open crater is definitely a one of a lifetime experience.
The adventure starts at approx. 6 am, when the van takes you to the ski center located at 1.300 meters. After putting on your mountain gear, the hike begins with 2 options: use the chairlift, or start walking immediately.
Depending on your walking pace, it will take you approx. 4-5 hours to reach the open crater. From there, you’ll get to have an incredible 360° panoramic view over volcanoes, lakes, mountains and valleys around.
The descent consists in sliding down until the base of the Volcano (approx. 2 hours) where the van awaits you before taking you back to Pucón for a well-deserved rest.
Pichillancahue Glacier hike – Villarrica National Park
The hike to Pichillancahue is not very famous but will surely take your breath away for its landscape. This is a hike suitable for everyone who seeks connection with nature, from children to elder adults.
This Glacier is located at the Villarrica National Park, Coñaripe side. Youll get to see several majestic snow-capped volcanoes such as Quetrupillan and Rucapillan. The vegetation changes from raulí and hualle forests to araucarias as you ascend to Chinay. The highest point of the day at 1.250 meters / 4.101 feet altitude.
After approximately 1.5 hour of hiking, you’ll arrive at the Pichillancahue Glacier trail. A good spot to relax and eat a good snack to refill energy if needed. The rest of the trail (3.5 hours round trip) leads to a phenomenal glacier covered by black volcanic ashes. Once again, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views of four volcanoes.
This hike is not technical and does not require any mountain gear. The best hiking time is during summer season.
Visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do for every hiker & nature lovers.
Find out why Amity Tours will make your ski experience in Chile a once-in-a-lifetime trip you won’t regret!
Chile has a great variety of outdoor activities to do all along the territory. During winter in the Southern Hemisphere, skiing is the best activity to do in the Lake and Volcano DIstrict. Thanks to the proximity with the Andes mountain range, and the presence of the many volcanoes, this country counts on many ski resorts. They can be all appreciated by skiers of every level.
Find out why Amity Tours, as the leader in adventure travel in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, will make you have an amazing ski experience.
In Amity Tours, all of our team members are passionate skiers. This means we perfectly know what an excellent ski experience has to be made of. As a tour operator providing ski trips since 2003, we make sure your needs are well taken care of. After these many years of experience, we know what our travelers expect of a ski tour.
All of our ski experiences were designed to take you to the best snow Chile and Argentina have to offer. In addition to the best powder, we provide the best prices and great offers for our clients in our ski packages. As a result, we’ve come to be the leading Tour Operator in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
Professional and all-inclusive service
We are aware that a great adventure can sometimes come with a little bit of risk. Skiing is “the art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at a great personal risk”. However, in our company, we’ll always make sure your safety comes first no matter what.
Our English-speaking guides, besides being excellent skiers, are professional and expert in the field. In addition, they are experienced mountain guides & Wilderness First Responders. Finally, they always carry on with them radios, in case of any emergency.
In other words, our professional team will always provide a safe, friendly and professional service. If you want to get to know more about our guides, check out our staff page here!
On the other hand, we’ve designed our ski experiences in a way that you won’t worry about anything to make the most of your holiday. From luxury hotels & SPAs, good food in selective restaurants and great snow, you’ll surely enjoy each day of your ski trip.
Ski on Southern Chile’s active volcanoes
Skiing is the best winter sport in the world, and we absolutely love the feeling when skiing down the slopes. But imagine yourself skiing on an active volcano, with incredible panoramic views over other volcanoes around…
In Amity, we make this dream come true. During our ski experience, you’ll feel the adrenaline of sliding down the most active volcanoes in South America, such as Llaima, Lonquimay or Villarrica Volcanoes.
The best of it ? We take advantage of the unique volcanic activity of the region. How ? We combine the ski activity with the most natural hot springs of the Lake and Volcano District. As a result, we provide the perfect combination of an active day and a deserved relaxing evening.
Uncrowded Ski Resorts
Worldwide, the most known ski resorts in South America are located around Santiago de Chile, such as Farellones, Colorado Valley & La Parva. With Amity, you’ll have a unique ski experience in the usually unknown and uncrowded ski resorts of Southern Chile & Argentina.
Indeed, as our company is based in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, we have plenty of slopes to ski down on active volcanoes. Moreover, the proximity of the border with Argentina makes it easy for us to cross it and head towards excellent ski resorts.
For many of us ski lovers, the snow season is always and all too short. In Chile, located in the Southern Hemisphere, we give you the opportunity to enjoy snow during summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
In fact, in Chile and Argentina, the snow usually starts falling at the end of June, making the ski slopes ready to ski on at the end of June. It is only until the end of September, with the arrival of Spring season that the ski resorts are closing.
What a great excuse to travel to Chile during winter!
Ski for any level of experience
If you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert skier, it doesn’t matter. Although most of our tours are designed for intermediate skiers, we make sure to design a tailor-made trip according to your level of experience. Indeed, our professional mountain guides will be your ideal teachers with great ski lessons if you want to give it a try as a beginner.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for any information you might need for your next ski trip in South America.
Group or Private Tours
We are perfectly aware that skiing is not the cheapest sport to practice in the world. This is why we offer both private tour and both departure dates for group tours.
If you are a group and want to have a private tour, we’ll get the best deals with excellent service. The most important, you get to decide your travel dates, and we make sure you choose the ideal travel dates to enjoy the best snow available.
You are a solo traveler, or you simply want to join a group to make the best of your trip ? Please ask us about our group departure dates available from July to September.
If you liked this article, share it with your travel buddies! If you’re still hesitating, drop us a line and will give you the best information regarding this amazing sport called ski!
Don’t wait any longer and start planning the best ski experience Chile has to offer!
Cycling Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do if you are a bicycling enthusiast. Here’s a list of the top reasons why riding the backroads of Southern Chile is a true once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
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 beautiful!
In this blog, you will find out the top reasons why cycling the Lake and Volcano District is an incredible adventure to do in Chile.
Cycling the backroads of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
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 filled with amazing landscapes composed of lakes, active volcanoes and the Andes mountain range. Moreover, you will observe some incredible endemic fauna and flora.
Cycling Chile’s southern backroads is the best way to explore this fascinating part of the country. In other words, you will pedal alongside the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks. In addition, you will visit local ethnic villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.
The best ? You will be fully assisted by our team of professional and passionate guides/drivers.
During our bike tours, you’ll get to explore the following highlights of the region:
Kütralkura, Chile’s first UNESCO Geopark in the Malalcahuello National Reserve, always with the Lonquimay Volcano watching you.
The Andes Mountain Range at the Alto Biobio National Reserve.
Pucón, the Capital of Adventure Travel and Villarrica Volcano, Chile’s most active volcano.
The 7-Lake Route, Chile’s most scenic route.
Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, one of the most awarded landtrusts for conservation.
Puerto Varas with the Llanquihue Lake, Osorno Volcano and the Petrohue Waterfalls.
Professional service and safety measures
At Amity, we aim to providing the best travel experiences in Chile. For us, it means that this comes with an excellent service, comfortable hotels and great local food, beer and wine. Secondly, you will really find a true friend in our team of experienced and professional guides and drivers. They will show the best of Chile. Along with them, you’ll get to meet local people at every destination. Finally, they’ll make sure you discover the best hidden places that will take your breath away.
As a responsible travel company, we make sure our bikers 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 for 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.
Mountain Bike & Road Cycling
Being the longest country in the world, Chile has a lot of biking trails to offer. You’ll absolutely get fascinated by the diversity of landscapes at the wheels of your bike.
In the Atacama Desert, we recently have developed our bike and hike tour. As a result, this adventure will allow you to fully appreciate the vastness of the driest desert in the World. You will ride on a mix of asphalt and dirt roads, and mainly on a flat terrain. For such a trip, you don’t need to be a bike expert since the routes are very easy to ride on.
On the other hand, the Lake and Volcano District offers even more biking trails. If you are an adrenaline seeker, or an avid challenger, you will definitely be amazed by our tours and bike routes.
Our 7-Day Mountain Bike Tour was especially designed by Ernesto Araneda, our top cyclist guide. 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 program 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.
If you’re are more into paved road, don’t worry. Our famous road cycling experience will make you ride the most beautiful and scenic roads of Chile. Designed for intermediate and advanced road cyclists, this experience will surely challenge you. 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 climb of South America. If not Europe.
But not everything is about physical activity, adventure and amazing landscapes. Morover, we also make sure our bikers’ belly gets well treated with our delicious Chilean cuisine.
Food in Chile is great and healthy. Likewise, it is one of the highlights of our bike tours. Great wine, fresh and flavorsome produce, seafood and all kinds of meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb and wild boar) will be part of the daily menus. We are prepared to cater vegetarian, pescaterian, gluten free and dairy free food. However, if you are vegan or eat kosher food you may have to be flexible because in this part of Chile we have very limited vegan options and kosher food is not available.
And to make it memorable, you will experience an indigenous encounter with the Mapuche community. You will have the privilege to share a typical dinner, drink some YerbaMate and learn more about their ancestral culture.
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 buffet picnic, prepared with love by our drivers on a perfect scenic spot.
Check out our top 8-Day Road Cycling Tour in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, group departure dates available until April 2022.
Elected Chile’s capital of adventure tourism, and highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, Pucón has so much to offer and lots of outdoor activities to do. Find out the 5 things to do in this beautiful Lake City!
Pucón, the dream town of southern Chile, is located at the shores of the Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica volcano. 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile, it belongs to the La Araucania Region.
Lately, this lake city has been recognized world-wide for its ski center, water sports and hiking trails, among many other outdoor activities. Beaches, forests, valleys and the generous nature of Pucón also invite you to dive into the natural hot springs of the area. Between more than 30 excursions you can do around Pucón, you can also access Argentina through the border crossing Mamuil Malal. Thus, it connects the Araucania Region with the Lanín national Park of the Argentinean Republic.
In this post, you will discover what to do in Pucón, and realize why every nature lover and aventurous travelers should add this destination in their bucket list.
The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters) is Chile’s most active volcano, and one of the most actives in South America. The idea of climbing it might sound surreal, but is definitely possible to do. It does require a certain level of fitness, but the hike is not technical at all.
You don’t need to bring with you all the mountain gear needed for such activity, since this excursion includes the full equipment. Also, it is very important to know that the weather is very weather-dependent. Indeed, in order to reach the summit, the weather conditions must be optimal: minimal wind and clear sky.
The route of ascent, starting at the foothills of the volcano, allows the most adventurers to reach the open crater. After approximately 4 to 5 hours of hiking, the final reward is the surrounding landscape made of lakes, volcanoes and valleys. If you’re lucky enough, you will get to see some lava flows.
It is worth noting that it is absolutely a hike you cannot miss in Pucón. It is possible to do it all year long, however it is easier to reach the top during spring and summer. In winter, the volcano is totally covered in snow, making the excursion of difficult level.
If you want to climb Chile’s most active volcano, read more about our hiking program around Pucón!
The Geométricas hot springs are a thermal center, composed of 20 stone pools from 35°C to 45°C. Moreover, they are immersed in the amazing landscapes of native forests of Villarrica Volcano National Park located near Coñaripe.
In addition to enjoying the thermal water and contemplating the landscape, the design is truly unique. Indeed, the facilities were designed by the distinguished national architect Germán del Sol, who subtly intervened the environment, through walkways made of red coigüe wood that connect the different swimming pools.
In Amity, we love to have a good physical activity and then dive in the hot springs!
3) Rafting – Trancura River
This outing holds no great dangers and is perfect if you are after a less extreme adventure. It could be a family day-out, a beginner’s introduction to rafting, or a warm-up for the upper river rafting trip. Although it is still exciting and fun!
We invite you to glide through calm stretches of water, admiring the beautiful nature around Pucón.
The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”. Once on the Trancura River, you will experience the full flowing effects of the raft passing over class 3 rapids, along with the sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft.
After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.
This exciting trip is suitable for the ages of 14 to adult and for those looking for lots of excitement without great dangers. Be prepared for 2 hours of pure adrenaline, tackling Class 4 rapids with several drops. The rapids’ names speak for themselves: Last Laugh, Devil’s Throat and Rapid of Fear. There are spectacular views of Villarrica Volcano and smaller Quetrupillán Volcano up the valley.
The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”.
Once on the Trancura River you will experience straight away the full flowing effects of class IV & V rapids along with the booming sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft. Here you will need to row hard to pass over the torrents.
After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.
4) Huerquehue National Park
The Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of Los Andes mountain range. 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.
The best way to explore the park is by foot. Indeed, you can choose between various hiking trails crossing the whole territory in which you can observe the local fauna and flora.
The easiest hike is Los Lagos Trail. It is the most popular of the park. The main attraction are the forests of ancient monkey puzzle tree surrounding the lakes on the high area. Observing them might be an overwhelming experience as they make you think about how small and ephemeral the human being can be in front of nature.
In summer, the bravest hikers can swim into the cold water of the lakes. Moreover, you will be able to observe a huge variety of birds like ducks. if you’re lucky, and patient, you might be able to spot the woodpecker and its impressive red head.
5) Villarrica National Reserve
Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape.
Dominating the scene, the Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction. In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. In the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.
The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.
If you are looking for some wild adventures when visiting Chile, Pucón is the place for you to be!
Last week, we celebrated the re-opening of Conguillio National Park by exploring new gravel bike routes. With the Llaima volcano always at sight, we explored the park across colorful ancient monkey-puzzle tree forests.
Since 2003, Amity Tours has been the leading adventure travel operator of the Lake and Volcano District, Chile’s world-class destination. Among our main domains of expertise, cycling the incredibles routes of southern Chile is our main specialty, and the year 2021 marked a milestone in the history of Amity Tours.
Indeed, we decided to renew our bike tours with the new gravel modality. As we all know, the gravel bikes are buzzing in the world of cycling, and we certainly could not stay apart. Since the arrival of our new gravel bike fleet, we have been working on the best cycling way to explore the off-the-beaten routes of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
What is a Gravel Bike?
A gravel bike is a drop-bar bike designed to let you ride over many different surfaces. The drop handlebar and road bike-like design mean that you can make good progress on the road, but with wider tyres, lower gearing and stable handling you can also head off-the-beaten tracks.
A gravel bike will typically give you a more upright riding position than road bike geometry, with a longer head tube and shorter reach. That should result in more comfort on long rides and also lets you shift your weight around to tackle obstacles and off-road descents.
Scouting new routes in the Lake and Volcano District
Finally, we could change the office seat for a bike saddle and explore the routes we previously designed at our desks with a bike route planner software. Armed with a bunch of zero-waste snacks, bicycle tools and good mood we hit the road towards Conguillio National Park.
Travelling in times of COVID-19 is a big privilege. Thus, after 1 month of lockdown, we felt so grateful to be able to visit again one of the most beautiful parks of Chile. Starting from our operation center based in Pucón, Chile’s capital of adventure travel, we initiated the road trip on our pickup.
During the first 70 kilometers, we tracked routes on GPS, searching the most beautiful roads and trails, in addition to enjoying the spectacular views over the Villarrica lake and volcano. Moreover, we took advantage of the moment to stop by our beloved and exclusive Santa Amalia Polo Lodge.
Gravel Biking in Conguillio National Park
Conguillio National Park is located in La Araucania Region, approximately 110 kilometers from Temuco city. Without a doubt, Conguillio is one of the highlights of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, and part of the Kütralkura Geopark by UNESCO. Indeed, with 60,831 hectares and altitudes ranging between 700 and 3,125 meters above sea level.
More importantly, the unparalleled beauty of Conguillio National Park is mostly expressed in the native thousand-year-old Araucaria tree forests and also the remarkable lava flows like long black scars drawn in the landscape. Truth to be said, the landscapes are impressive: the active Llaima volcano (3,125 meters), the extinguished Sierra Nevada volcano and the pristine Verde, Captrén and Arcoiris lagoons.
Upon arrival at the park, we could immediately observe the presence of the Llaima volcano on our left-hand side. This volcano is the highlight of Conguillio National Park. Historically, the Llaima volcano is one of the most active in South America, and one of the most voluminous in the southern Andes.
Afterwards, we kept pedaling until arriving to the famous Truful Truful Canyon. There, we could observe the fantastic 20-meter waterfall, along with the geological and eruptive history of Conguillio National Park. In other words, standing in this special part of the park is like a trip to the past. Indeed, it reveals how the Llaima volcano and the effects of the ancient glaciers deposited in the valleys haven been shaping the landscape for the last thirteen thousand years.
These surprising changes are projected in layers of land that were eroded and cut vertically by the effect of the Truful-Truful River.
Following our adventures, we kept gravel cycling towards the andean volcanic lagoons. We first arrived at Laguna Verde (green lagoon) that connects with the Truful Truful river and through which it drains. At this time of the year, the water level is at its lowest point and the lagoon seems to be very small. During the rain season, and especially in spring, we can appreciate the full size and greenish color of the lagoon.
Right after, we entered the extensive colorful temperate-rain-forests of ancient and native Nothofagus trees. On the way, we stopped by the Arcoiris Lagoon. Formed by the damming of the waters of a estuary, the lagoon is product of lava flows from the Llaima volcano, the great sculptor of the landscape of Conguillio.
Following the smooth gravel road, we finally reached the impressive Araucaria trees. These monkey-puzzle trees with the Sierra Nevada Volcano in the background let you feel like reaching another world. We even spotted two Condors overflying the forest. What a majestic animal, flying through the wind with its enormous wings.
Finally, we reached our last point of interest: the Captrén Lagoon. The Lagoon doesn’t cease to surprise us with the dozens of trees submerged in the water, which can be easily seen.
The water is a mix of green, deep blue and transparent color, making this lagoon a unique place. There, we can also admire the contrast between the volcanic remains surrounding the Captrén, and the lush forests of intense green color.
Visiting the Conguillio National Park in autumn is just a blast. The golden-colored native forests and stunning sunsets invite to fill your camera with unforgettable pictures, and fill your heart with strong energy from Mother Nature.
Amity’s best choice of accommodation: La Baita Conguillio
La Baita Conguillio is Chile’s first ecolodge. Pioneer in the area, with a recognized prestige for the quality and warmth of the services delivered. La Baita Lodge is equipped with 6 comfortable rooms designed with native wood and looms, added to large windows that overlook a ravine from where the wonderful araucarias hang.
The restaurant offers a healthy and organic menu with products from local suppliers, while its SPA offers great relaxation with a massage room and several hot-tubs amomg the native forest.
And not to forget the famous hot-tub under the open sky! Can you imagine a better way to relax your muscles after a challenging biking day? We felt so lucky! Arriving at the lodge and immersing ourselves into the warm water, watching the starry sky and chatting about the beautiful day we just spent together!
Contact us for more info about our active trips in the Conguillio National Park, and check out Instagram and Facebook to follow our adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
La Araucania Andina is located 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile. Geographically, this destination is formed by two large mountain areas: the Lonquimay volcano and the Llaima volcano, hence the outstanding volcanic activity of the area. Demographically, the core historical-cultural identity is strongly marked and linked to the original Pewenche people, the first inhabitants of La Araucania Region.
More than just a destination, it is where starts the famous Lake and Volcano District of Chile. The main natural attraction in this special part of La Araucanía Region is the Kütralkura UNESCO Global Geopark. There, you can witness how the volcanic activity has been shaping for ages the impressive landscapes of southern Chile.
In this week’s post, you will discover the best natural places to explore in La Araucania Andina.
Area of globally recognized biodiversity, Kütralkura is Chile’s first geopark. With six protected wilderness areas of diverse landscape, 5 volcanoes, and a geological history covering the last 250 million years, it in fact is no surprise that UNESCO declared this outstanding territory the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve in 1983. Dominated by the presence of the Llaima, Sierra Nevada, Lonquimay, Tolhuaca and Nevados de Sollipulli volcanoes, the notable geological features are of mainly volcanic, tectonic and glacier character.
The richness of the Kütralkura geopark does not solely lie on its natural wonders. But also on its people who play a big part in the culture of this ancestral territory. First inhabitants of Southern Chile, the Pewenche are an indigenous subgroup belonging to the Mapuche community.
Pewenche people take their name from their dependence for food on the seeds of the pewen (pehuen) or monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana). They consider the Araucaria tree as their Mother and protector.
It should be noted that the Pewenche have their own cosmovision, social system, and ancestral arts. In addition, they have great knowledge and wisdom related to the use of medicinal plants (known as “Lawen” in their Mother tongue). In Mapudungun, “Kütralkura” means “stone fire”.
Tolhuaca National Park
Located on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range, the Tolhuaca National Park is a spectacular scenery of native flora and fauna. With 6.474 hectares of Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) forest, the geological formations shape the characteristic mountainous reliefs of the park. Moreover the presence of the Tolhuaca volcano also highly contributes in this landscape composition.
In the Tolhuaca National Park, you can easily access Laguna Malleco by a good trail that does not take more than an hour to hike. There, you can walk through a forest of coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and araucarias, leading to great views towards the Malleco waterfall. In addition, the hiking trail offers the the opportunity to also visit the Culebra waterfall.
Conguillio National Park
The Conguillio National Park is located in the heart of the Kütralkura Geopark, highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Originally, with an area of 60,832 hectares, the Conguillio used to form two different parks: Conguillio National Park and Los Paraguas National Park. Then they merged and formed the current park.
In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native language, the word Conguillio is “Ko-nqilliu”. The meaning is “pine nuts in the water”, or “to settle by the pine nuts” based on the abundance of araucarias (known Monkey puzzle tree) and the existence of lakes surrounding the volcanic area of the park.
Among its main attractions, the Llaima volcano (3.200m) stands out the most. Dominating the landscape, the volcano is surrounded by its lakes of volcanic formation and its forests of ancient araucarias. What’s more, the forests of this native tree are 1,200 year-old!
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) refers to the Conguillio National Park as one of the last refuges in the World to preserve the landscape where dinosaurs lived.In this place, the UK’s broadcaster filmed part of the documentary “Walking with Dinosaurs“, more specifically the chapter centered on the Upper Cretaceous: “Death of a Dynasty”.
Our favorite activity to do when visiting the Conguillio National Park is hiking the Sierra Nevada trail, a high volcanic mountain range. The trail starts near the Conguillio Lake, and crosses a spectacular forest of araucaria trees. During the hike, there are three scenic viewpoints over the lake; the trail culminates in a large open viewpoint, outside with great views over both Llaima volcano and Conguillio lake.
Malalcahuello National Reserve
Located in the northeast part of La Araucanía Region, Malalcahuello is the must-see place to visit in Chile. Indeed, the volcanic and glacial activity of the Lonquimay volcano (2.865 meters) has strongly been shaping the landform of the reserve. With the Christmas crater (cráter Navidad) that completed its last volcanic eruptive process in 1990, the Malalcahuello Reserve is more like a surreal landscape where recent volcanic slags combine with ancient araucaria forests.
As a result of the volcanic geography, the 31.260 hectares stand out for its great diversity of flora and where the native forest manifests in thousands of colors and forms, with streams of crystal-clear waters descending from the Andes mountain range.
From July to mid-October, the Malalcahuello National Reserve is Amity‘s favorite place to be. In effect, the area is best known to be a great host for skiing in Southern Chile. Proof of that are the yearly visits of international ski racing teams training in the Corralco Ski Resort, a world-class destination well-known for its great snow conditions and the exuberant surroundings of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
On the other hand, during spring and summer (late-October to April), cycling might be the best way to explore Malalcahuello.
Riding across the reserve surrounded by thousand year-old araucaria trees, with the Lonquimay and Tolhuaca volcanoes at sight, and our MTB is a true travel adventure experience we love to do. More than a bike experience, it is also a great opportunity for a cultural encounter with the Pewenche. Sharing with them their traditions, culture and culinary specialties is the best way to learn about the human side of La Araucania Region.
The Andean ancestral legacy of La Araucania Region: the Pewenche culture
In geographical terms, the Pewenche territory encompasses both sides of the Andes mountain range, between the Maule River and the Lonquimay Volcano. Before the arrival of the Spanish settlers, they were hunters and gatherers of pine nuts (piñon, pewen or pehuén), fruit from the araucaria tree that gives the name and essence characteristics of the Pewenche culture. Thanks to this, they elaborate gastronomic products such as pine nut flour, jams, muday (ancestral drink), among others.
It is not without saying that the Pewenche consider the araucaria as a sacred tree thanks to its medicinal properties. Thus, we understand that their ancestral culture is closely related to the natural environment in which they live. Likewise, they maintain a deep bond with their territory of origin. Hence understanding that the land cannot be separated from culture and identity.
This intertwined connection explains the tremendous importance of the first inhabitants of La Araucanía Region. Every corner of this Andean territory has a history linked to the processes of the Pewenche through time.
If you are interested in visiting this area, please send us an email to schedule a call with one of our Trip Design experts.
Experience the rich union between the Pewenche ancestral culture and the beautiful nature of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Ask about our best activetraveladventures and discover the incredible diverse landscape and history of La Araucaria Region.
A beautiful summer is coming to an end in the Chilean Lake and Volcano District. It is time to remember the great adventures lived during this appreciated season. For me, the outstanding experience during the last months was the unique trekking on the Pacific Coast at Mapu Lahual.
First of all, I would like to introduce you to the territory we will dive into during the next paragraphs.
Mapu Lahual is an indigenous parks network along the Pacific Coast of Chile, located around 1000 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile, and 100 kilometers North of Puerto Montt.
The 60.000 hectares count with a high diversity (many of them endemic) Patagonian Temperate Rain Forests. It is worth mentioning that the area is recognized as a hotspot or world-class natural heritage (Mittermeier et al, 2004). Here, you can find the last major expanse of primary coastal forests, coastal olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum), centuries-old larches, lonely beaches and rivers with transparent waters, as well as marine and river ecosystems free of pollution.
Mapuche Williche Community
The Williche (or Huilliche) are indigenous people who belong to the Mapuche community. In Mapudungun, Williche means “people from the south”, since they are located to the south of the largest Mapuche group, which lives in the regions of La Araucanía and Los Ríos.
The Williche were exclusively semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers until the 13th or 14th century, before they also introduced limited horticulture. The rich game population, fishing and the gathering of wild pine fruits continued to provide the most important subsistence basis.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, under the influence of the Spaniards, they switched to agriculture (wheat, potatoes) and cattle breeding (llama, cattle, horse). In contrast to the other Mapuche peoples, the Williche lived monogamous.
The Williche owned large canoes to cross rivers and lakes. They must also have had some knowledge of metallurgy as copper jewelry was found on them.
The ethnic religion corresponds to the Mapuche religion. According to surveys, 10 percent of the Williche still profess the traditional religion, another 10 percent are non-religious and 80 percent are officially Christians. However, the Huilliche Christianity is strongly mixed with traditional elements and the important rituals of the Mapuche still have a central meaning.
Currently, it is estimated that there are only about 20 speakers of Tse süngun, the local variant of the Mapuche language, typical of the current province of Osorno. One of them, Juan Eligio Cumigual, over 80 years old, lives in the community of Manquemapu, being perhaps the southernmost native speaker of the Mapuche language.
An unforgettable trekking
Without any doubt, the overwhelming natural beauty of the Mapu Lahual park and the hospitality of the local Williche people made this trip an unforgettable one.
We started our trip in the south, at the small fisher town of Manquemapu.
On the way to the small cove, we passed by white sand beaches, where we spot a group of Chilean dolphins. These small and curious dolphins are only found o the coast of Chile. They were jumping with the waves and gave us a perfect welcoming party! What a great beginning of this adventure!
Arriving to the locality of Manquemapu, we parked the car and crossed a hanging bridge by foot. On the other side of the river, a friendly women welcomed us and showed us our campground. On the walking trails we could see many blocks of larch shingles. The larch, or “lawal”, is the characteristic tree of the local forests. In this community, they still use this appreciated wood to export shingles and handicrafts.
After setting up our tents, we started a nice hike towards “El Galpón“, a hidden beach. The waves invited us to jump into the cold pacific ocean. While taking a sunbath to dry our wet bodies and hair, a family of Chilean dolphins visited us. They were jumping around in the big waves. We felt so lucky about this natural spectacle!
Starting the trail “El Troncal”
The first morning on the pacific coast welcomed us with a typical rain shower. Nothing that could minimize our enthusiasm about the upcoming trekking. Today our goal was getting to Caleta Condor. 17.2 kilometers of Valdivian rainforest, steep mountain trails, river crossings, wetland, ancient larches and beautiful lookout points were waiting for us.
As the first few hours of the trekking were leading through deep rainforests, we did not feel affected by the slight rain. Then, as soon as we got to the first plain, the rain stopped and only a slight wind accompanied us.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice picnic lunch at the river side, we had to climb another hill. Yet, our big backpacks felt a little heavier with every meter, but the abundant nature and nice company were worth any effort. Almost at the end of the hike, we could catch some great views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
With every step we got closer to the beautiful white sand beach of Caleta Condor. The sound of the ocean filled us with energy and we run the last meters to the beach to jump into the welcoming waves.
Famous Caleta Condor
A personal dream came true! While I was traveling to Chile for the first time, I read about the cove of Caleta Condor. I was very much interested in getting to know this hidden place, only reachable by boat or foot. While swimming in the refreshing sea, looking at the small cove with its private beach, I could not believe having reached this spot six years later. Caleta Condor is well known by adventure tourists. Not only it offers an impressive beach but also scuba diving, fishing or seafood gathering, kayaking and a good local gastronomy.
Huellelhue Cove, “the place where you swim”
After a cosy night in the tent, listening to the waves, we took another swim in the refreshing ocean. Then, we got ready for our next hiking day. First of all, we took a tipical wooden fishers boat, crossing the Cholguaco river. On the way we could appreciate evergreen forests, whitesand beaches, small wooden houses, birds like great egret (ardea alba) and many others.
Our friendly local guide Lucho led us uphill, where we got spectacular views over the pacific ocean. We were walking through forests of olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum) and had to find our way through dense formation of native bamboo jungle. Here is where we appreciated our professional guide, who knew every corner of this abundant rainforest.
After a tasty picnic, we continued our way downhill. We could not believe our eyes when we reached the several kilometer-long whitesand and lonely beach of Rada Ranu. An unforgettable feeling overcame us when we drop our backpacks in the sand and run towards the smooothy waves of the pacific ocean!
Afterwards, we had to cross only a few more kilometers on the beach and through beautiful wetland. At the end of the day, we reached the Huellelhue river, where some friendly locals waited for us.
On their wooden boats we crossed the river and got to a perfect camping spot. Dinner was ready and we enjoyed fresh seafood in a cosy local house. Tonight we set up a nice campfire and shared funny stories.
As well as Caleta Condor, the small locality of Huellelhue is only reachable by foot or boat. Huellelhue or “Weyelwe” means “the place where you swim”.
Course to Maicolpue
Another day in paradise! This morning we woke up with a sunray reaching our tents. The river and surrounded wetland were covered with a silvery mist, which turned the area in a mystical atmosphere. Again we jump on a fisher boat and crossed the Huellelhue river for about 40 minutes. What a great way to immerse ourselves into the local way of life!
With our new local guide José, we started walking through wetland until getting to the base of the next hill. A steep uphill trail through ancient forests followed. We all felt great as the backpacks got a little lighter and our legs were already used to the efforts from the first hiking days. As a result, we reached our lunch spot faster then expected. Finally, we got to our last beach called Tril-Tril. A very small cove with only a few holiday houses. Here we enjoyed our last swim in the ocean and felt so greatful about the passed days in pure nature!
Our last night dinner was a five-star experience in a local cabin. We were attended like queens and enjoyed the homemade bread, smoked sawfish, natural juice, fresh salads and a tipical „pebre de ulte“(mix of seaweed, tomato, onion and coriander).
What an amazing way to finish this spectacular experience of hiking along the pacific coast. I have been hiking along many beautiful trails around the world but this trekking was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me!
Born and raised in Switzerland, I turned my hobby into my job and worked as a Travel Agent for many years. Always exploring hidden corners around the world. In 2014, I traveled to Chile for the first time. What started as a single-women-adventure turned into a life-changing-trip.
My objective was to travel from Santiago de Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. By hitchhiking or using public ground transportation as close as possible to the local culture and nature.
During this trip, I met my actual boyfriend and father of our little daughter. After years of living in between of two countries, I decided in 2016 to move to Chile and to start my life here. I am still very happy about this decisions, I cannot imagine a better place to raise my child. The abundant nature, wise culture and adventurous friends fill my heart every day with happiness!
Hiking the Lake and Volcano District is one of the most rewarding travel experiences to live when visiting Chile. Last week, we had the chance to welcome our first international travelers after 11 months of long waiting. During 2 weeks, with our team of local experts, we explored the hidden corners of the national parks located in Chile’s world-class destination: the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
The first Scenic Route of Chile, also locally known as Red Interlagos, is a road network composed of 6 different circuits belonging to 3 regions: La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. Along with the breathtaking landscape of active volcanoes, pristine lakes and thousand-years-old endemic forests, this circuit aim to provide sustainable experiences allowing the encounter between the local inhabitants (Mapuche), the Colonos and Criollos culture, and the unique nature of Southern Chile.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Los Lagos Region
The Vicente Perez Rosales National Park is the oldest park in the country. A key component of the Temperate Rain forests of the Austral Andes Biosphere Reserve, it is located in an area where volcanism has been, along with tectonic processes and glaciers, the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range.
It covers an area of 251,000 hectares (619,970 acres), incorporating the park’s centerpiece: Todos los Santos Lake, Petrohué Waterfalls, Osorno and Puntiagudo Volcanoes.
This trail crosses the national park from the North face of the Osorno Volcano towards the South-East, all the way to the Petrohue sector. Originally, it was a cattle trail used for animal transportation between the Todos Los Santos Lake and the Llanquihue Lake via the Desolación pass.
From volcanic scorials to dense forests of nothofagus trees, this trail allows us to travel through dramatic changes in the landscape. Additionally, the excellent panoramic views of the Tronador and Osorno Volcanoes, La Picada hill and the Todos Los Santos Lake are the main prizes of the hike.
El Solitario trail hike
El Solitario traik hike is a simple, short and fairly flat route that allows its visitors to appreciate the Osorno Volcano from the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
First, we started hiking through a native forest with the volcano on our right-hand during the entire route. Afterwards we continued passing by a valley covered with lava flows formed by old eruptions. After almost 2 hours of hiking, we finally arrived at the road that leads to Osorno Volcano.
Crater Rojo trail hike
The Crater Rojo (Red Crater) is a natural attraction located on the South-West slope of the Osorno Volcano (1.400 m.a.s.l). The trail starts at the ski center. During this incredible journey, we could witness how the landscape has been shaped for thousands of years in the course of geological and volcanic actions.
Puyehue National Park, Los Lagos Region
The Puyehue National Park is located in an area of great and exuberant natural beauty of the Los Lagos region.With more than 100 thousand hectares, it is a territory where several active and dormant volcanoes are located. In addition, it belongs to the Biosphere Reserve Temperate Rainforests of the Southern Andes.
In ancient times, this area was inhabited by the Huilliche communities (the southernmost branch of the Mapuche culture). Created in 1941, the park has accumulated centuries-old legends that exist since before its institution.
During our adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, we had the change to explore the best parts of the Puyehue National Park.
Casablanca Volcano and Raihuen Crater
Also called Antillanca, the Casablanca volcano is located in the Puyehue National Park, 77 kilometers from the city of Osorno. This beautiful volcano, of typical conical shape, rises between Puyehue and Rupanco lakes.
Geologically, the Casablanca volcano is part of the Antillanca volcanic complex. Due to its low height and low glaciation, the ascent of the Casablanca does not present technical difficulties. As a result, it relatively easy to access one of the dominant summits of the southern Andes.
There are various alternatives to reach the top. During our visit of the volcano, we had the incredible opportunity to also visit the Raihuen Crater.
Part of the Casablanca volcanic complex, the Raihuen Crater is located near the Antillanca ski resort. There are no records of eruptions. However, volcanologists believe that the last eruption occurred more than 10,000 years ago.
The hike towards is impressive, as you can witness the special nature of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.
The presence of the Puyehue Volcano, the Puntiagudo and the Osorno volcanoes, the Cordon Caulle gives us an idea of how unique is this particular area of the Andes Mountain Range.
Finally, we had the chance to discover a very special place called Paraíso lake. It is an Andean lake surrounded by an evergreen forest. This hidden corner of the Andes mountain range is a true paradise. Indeed, the pristine lake offers a solitary beach with incredible views of the exuberant surroundings.
Villarrica National Park, La Araucanía Region
Located in the Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes (Villarrica, Quetrupillan and Lanín), stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape. The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction.
The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.
Andean Lagoons trail hike
Very close to the border with Argentina at the foot of the Lanín volcano, the Andean Lakes trail is a must-see in Villarrica National Park. This easy hiking trail is a beautiful route, without difficulties and suitable for family.
During the hike, you get to know 3 Andean lagoons, a great native forest of coihues and araucarias. The cherry on the top is the volcanic landscape dominated by the great presence of the Lanín volcano (3.747 meters).
While visiting the park, we could witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions. Also, we had the fantastic opportunity walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. Lastly, we visited the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden) and Huinfiuca with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.
El Cerdúo & Correntoso River
El Cerdúo is a fantastic place located at the slopes of the Villarrica volcano, the most active one in the Chilean territory. Visiting El Cerdúo is a unique experience, as we can observe the geological effect of the volcanic eruptions that participated in shaping this valley over the course of the years.
In addition to spectacular views of the Villarrica volcano, the valley also allows to observe the areas affected by ancient lahares and the lava flows that have created waterfalls. Moreover, we can clearly see the impressive contrast between the volcanic rocks and the dense forest areas.
We are facing a complex global situation due to the COVID-19 virus. At Amity Tours we want to assure a risk free and positive experience during all our tours. That is why we follow strict local and international protocols.
First of all we ask our team, providers and guests to follow the rules of the sanitary authority which principally established the following obligations:
Frequent hand wash with water and soap
Use of face masks in all public areas
Social distancing at all times (min 1 meter)
Carry on a valid sanitary passport while traveling from one place to another
In addition we did establish some Amity rules, such as:
Temperature check twice a day
Using the same seat in the van during the whole tour
Entering the van starting by the last row of seats
Following a strict emergency protocol in case of COVID-19 symptoms
We provide our guests with reusable face masks, some disposable face masks and gloves for emergency reasons, alcohol gel and a face shield. Our guides introduce all guests on their first meeting about our protocols and the local restrictions.
That is how we enjoyed an unforgettable and very safe trip in Chile this summer!
Gravel has been almost on every cyclist gathering over the past couple of years, with everybody talking about wheel sizes, flared drop bars, tyre width and tread pattern, but for the most of the people, the road bike vs gravel bike question might seem strange at first, as they may not look all that different on the surface.
But riding a bike designed for multi-terrain excursions means you can link together gravel routes in new ways, taking in sections of gravel roads, forest tracks, trails, byways and bridlepaths. Or you can load up your gravel bike with camping kit for multi-day bikepacking adventures, what means more miles to get lost and enjoy.
Road bike vs gravel bike: What are they supposed to do?
As you can probably work out from the name, road bikes are designed to be ridden on routes with a tarmac bias, while gravel bikes can be taken off-road, on gravel paths, dirt roads, fire trails, and even singletrack (if you are brave enough).
Road bikes ultimately fall into two camps, race bikes, and endurance bikes. Race bikes are what you see the pros pushing to the absolute limit, or your wealthy friend trying to look like these pros but clearly with more body fat, or those friends that come with Amity Tours to the Lake & Volcano district and we need to assign the strongest guide (probably Ruben or David) so he can follow them and not get lost!
Instead, endurance bikes are a bit more upright, feature more stable handling, put a premium on comfort, and most probably the profile of the rider that will use this bike with us will take more than 1000 pictures…per ride!
You can definitely use a gravel bike as a road bike. However, there are a few small limitations you might run into if you do this. Depending on how you like to ride, it could be important, or not important at all.
If you are a road bike racer, or your wealthy friend dressed in Rapha outfit with a Colnago C64 with Campy components, then a gravel bike probably won’t work as your primary bike. Many gravel bikes these days have a single chainring set up in the front. You’ll still get plenty of gears for most road riding, but you won’t have quite enough high gears for when the speeds get very fast, over 25 mph. You’ll probably spin out because you can’t pedal fast enough, and what is for sure, nothing can be worst to see than how the rest of the peloton leaves you behind, alone and talking to yourself for the rest of the ride.
But if you’re mostly riding by yourself, or with friends who keep a more reasonable pace during our bike tours here in the Lake & Volcano district, then a gravel bike works just fine. In many ways it’s a lot more comfortable than a road bike, because you can use wider tires at lower pressure to give yourself some nice cushioning. You’ll also get better stopping and turning power from more rubber on the road.
Gravel bike tours in the Lake & Volcano district
Amity Tours, as a national leader in the development of road bike and MTB tours, we are sure that being able to include our new gravel tours in our offer ensures that we can satisfy the needs of these new customer segments seeking to get out of the paved route and look for more inaccessible attractions difficult to reach either by other kind of bike.
Coming soon in 2021: Gravel bike tour in one of the most outstanding parks of Chile
The Conguillio National Park is without a doubt one of the most appreciated parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. It covers a surface of 150.319 acres, and ranges from 2.296 to 10.253 feet above sea level. It must be said that the landscape are spectacular:
Llaima volcano (3.125 meters)
Arco Iris Lagoon
Truful Truful Canyon
Stay tuned for our next cycling adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, and get ready to discover the best of the Chilean territory on a gravel bike!
We have all suffered in these hard times from Covid-19, either by having close people who have lost their lives, sick relatives, locked down without being able to leave home for months, children unable to play with their friends, and why not to say, many losing their jobs and their will to live.
Although Amity Tours has not been oblivious to this misfortune, which has undoubtedly hit the company in various aspects, our team has not lost the desire to continue fighting it with everything they have available, enthusiastically seeing a vaccine on the near horizon, that will allow us to resume our lives and work, without any doubt in a different way and operating under extremely rigorous protocols.
Amity Tours doesn’t give up, and renews its bike products in Chile
Within the DNA of Amity Tours, led by its CEO Cristián Levy, is the permanent gene of exploration, a gene that is stronger than any virus or bacteria, covered by a dense layer of fresh air and nature, and protected by volcanoes and seas that hit and battle anyone who tries to harm it. This is how we have not wasted time in our company, and we have decided to expand our offer of bike tours by creating the first gravel bike tour in Chile.
Gravel bike, the new cycling trend from the United States
Gravel bike tours were a real necessity for many: the trend finally arrived (as it so often does) from the United States, where pedaling on unpaved roads on a gravel bike is part of everyday reality. In the United States, in fact, due to high maintenance costs, almost all secondary roads are not paved. This has generated a new type of cyclist who is looking for new routes, tired of driving on roads with a lot of motorized traffic and missing a large part of the attractions located in rural areas.
Amity Tours has an explicit requirement for this new type of experience, nowadays non-existent in Chile, manifested by our main clients from the US, Canada, and Europe, for which we have put all our effort into making it a reality.
Our gravel bike tours consider an extensive use of local services run by small entrepreneurs and communities of native peoples willing to collaborate and do business with us, generating a wealth distribution effect among various stakeholders of the destination, which in the era post-Covid-19 is the best vaccine that we can contribute as a company to our local partners.
Among these collaborators, we can mention accommodations, mainly hotels located in the region and cabins, small restaurants characteristic of the region, communities of native peoples (Mapuche), local tourist guides, drivers and entrepreneurs selling organic food, handicrafts, and souvenirs, all of them positively impacted by the bike tours operation that Amity Tours develops. For you to know, if we take as an example a tour of 10 passengers for 1 week, the service and employment to be hired when you buy our gravel bike tour, are broken down as follows:
2 or 3 hotels
2 0 3 cabins
6 to 10 restaurants
1 or 2 local Mapuche communities
3 local organic food supplier companies (to provide food during the tour while en route)
1 artisan market
They are the local partners waiting to welcome you again in 2021!
New gravel modality in the cycling world in Chile
On the other hand, the gravel bike gives more possibilities when connecting sections and areas of both dirt and asphalt. And this is where we see a great opportunity to develop new gravel bike tours, and by the way, an extraordinary opportunity for the Lake & Volcano district, being able to add routes in all circuits where bike tours are not operated today due to lack of asphlat. For example, our first gravel tour that will go from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes mountain range will pass through territories 100% Mapuche, where different groups coexist: Nagche, Lafquenche, Wenteche and Pewenche. This territory is the heart of the Mapuche people!
We hope to receive you next season on our new gravel bike tours, touring the wonderful Lake & Volcano district, but now getting even deeper into the true Chile, the Chile away from the pavement and urbanity.
Todos hemos sufrido en estos tiempos duros por el Covid-19, ya sea por tener personas cercanas que han perdido la vida, familiares enfermos, encerrados sin poder salir de casa por meses y meses, los niños sin poder jugar con sus amigos, y por que no decirlo, muchos perdiendo sus trabajos y sus ganas de vivir.
Si bien Amity Tours no ha estado ajeno a esta desgracia, que sin duda ha golpeado a la empresa en varios aspectos, el equipo no ha perdido las ganas de seguir peleándola con todo lo que tienen disponible, viendo con entusiasmo una vacuna en el horizonte cercano que permitirá retomar sus vidas y el trabajo, sin ninguna duda de una manera diferente y operando bajos protocolos sumamente rigurosos.
Amity Tours no baja los brazos y renueva su oferta de Bike Tours
Dentro del ADN de Amity Tours, liderado por su CEO Cristián Levy, está el gen permanente de la exploración, un gen que es más fuerte que cualquier virus o bacteria, que está recubierto por una densa capa de aire y naturaleza, y protegido por volcanes, lagos y mares que golpean y batallan a todo quien intente dañarlo. Es así como no hemos perdido el tiempo en nuestra empresa, y hemos decidido ampliar nuestra oferta de bike tours creando el primer gravel bike tour de Chile.
Gravel bike, la nueva tendencia que llegó desde Estados Unidos
Los gravel bike tours eran una necesidad real para muchos: la tendencia finalmente llegó (como ocurre tan a menudo) desde Estados Unidos, donde pedalear por caminos sin asfaltar en una bicicleta “gravel” es parte de la realidad cotidiana.
En Estados Unidos, de hecho, debido a los altos costos de mantenimiento, casi todas las carreteras secundarias no están pavimentadas. Esto ha generado un nuevo tipo de ciclista que busca nuevas rutas, cansados de circular por carreteras con mucho tráfico motorizado y perdiéndose gran parte de los atractivos situados en áreas rurales.
Amity Tours tiene un requerimiento explícito por este nuevo tipo de experiencia, hoy inexistente a nivel nacional, manifestado por nuestros principales clientes extranjeros, para lo cual hemos puesto todo nuestro esfuerzo en hacerlo realidad.
La logística experta requerida para un tour inédito de gravel bike en Chile
Nuestros diseños de experiencias para gravel bike tours consideran un uso extensivo de servicios locales de pequeños emprendedores y comunidades de pueblos originarios dispuestos a colaborar y hacer negocios con nosotros, generando un efecto de distribución de la riqueza entre varios stakeholders del destino, lo cual en la era post Covid-19 es la mejor vacuna que nosotros podemos aportar como empresa a nuestros partners locales.
Dentro de estos colaboradores podemos mencionar alojamientos, principalmente hoteles emplazados en la región y cabañas, pequeños restaurantes característicos de la región, comunidades de pueblos originarios (Mapuche), guías de turismo locales, choferes y emprendedores en venta de alimentos orgánicos, artesanía y souvenirs, todos ellos impactados positivamente por la operación de los bike tours que Amity Tours desarrolla.
Para que ustedes sepan, si tomamos como ejemplo un tour de 10 pasajeros por 1 semana, el servicio y empleo a contratar se desglosa de la siguiente manera:
2 o 3 hoteles
2 0 3 cabañas
6 a 10 restaurantes
1 o 2 comunidades Mapuche
2 guías locales
3 empresas locales proveedoras de alimento orgánico (para proveer de alimentos durante el tour mientras está en ruta)
1 mercado de artesanos
¡Son estos partners locales que están esperándolos recibir nuevamente durante el 2021!
Modalidad gravel novedosa en el mundo del ciclismo en Chile
Por otro lado, la bicicleta de gravel otorga más posibilidades a la hora de conectar tramos y zonas tanto de tierra como de asfalto. Y aquí es donde vemos una gran oportunidad de desarrollo de nuevos tours de cicloturismo en modalidad gravel, y por cierto una extraordinaria oportunidad para el destino Lagos & Volcanes, pudiendo sumar rutas en todos los circuitos donde hoy no se operan bike tours por falta de rutas asfaltadas.
Por ejemplo, nuestro primer tour de gravel que irá desde el Océano Pacífico a la Cordillera pasará por territorios cien por ciento Mapuche, donde cohabitan diferentes grupos: Nagche, Lafquenche, Wenteche y Pewenche. ¡Este territorio es el corazón del pueblo Mapuche!
Esperamos poder recibirlos la próxima temporada en nuestros nuevos gravel bike tours, recorriendo el maravilloso destino Lagos & Volcanes, pero ahora adentrándonos por un Chile más auténtico, el Chile alejado del pavimento y urbanidad, ese Chile profundo que enamora y sorprende.
Así como Violeta Parra le canta a la Vida, yo puedo cantarle a la bicicleta “que me ha dado tanto”.
No me considero ni cerca un ciclista, pero llevo casi dos décadas viviendo de este deporte maravilloso. En la forma de tours de cicloturismo, en Amity Tours me ha tocado vivir momentos inolvidables, realmente épicos, todo gracias al mountain bike.
Aquí te voy a contar tres historias que vale la pena recordar e inmortalizar en este blog de mtb tours en Chile, específicamente en el Destino Lagos & Volcanes. Todas tienen un denominador común: están relacionadas a marcas líderes de la industria del mountain bike mundial, todas ocurren entre volcanes y araucarias, e involucran a un grupo humano de riders de lujo. Y lo que se me pide es siempre lo mismo: una experiencia inolvidable en mtb, extraordinaria, memorable, épica.
Euan es un escocés experto en viajes en mountain bike. Literalmente ha recorrido todo el mundo a la cabeza de su empresa H&I Adventures, diseñando y guiando tours de mtb para fanáticos y expertos. En 2015 lo invitamos a conocer Chile y se enamoró en un día del país, de la gente y del terreno que hay para andar en mtb.
Ernesto, por su parte, es un destacado atleta nacional, oriundo de Temuco, multicampeón nacional de XC, vice campeón panamericano de MTB XC y medallista en el mundial de mtb cross-country. Además de ser un atleta de elite, Ernesto se especializó en turismo aventura y lleva más de una década guiando tours de mtb y ruta en Chile y Europa.
Con estos dos personajes me ha tocado vivir estas tres aventuras que llamaremos: YETI TRIBE, TRAIL HUNTER y EVOC SPORTS.
1. YETI TRIBE
Seguramente has escuchado hablar de las bicicletas Yeti, una mountain bike de alta gama diseñada en el estado de Colorado, Estados Unidos.
Euan llevaba trabajando con ellos por un buen tiempo, específicamente en uno de los eventos más importantes de la marca: “el viaje de la tribu”, o en inglés “Yeti Tribe”. Es marzo 2016, cuando recibo una llamada de Euan que me dice: “get ready Cristián, the tribe is coming to Chile weón”.
El Tribe de Yeti es un viaje anual que organizan los dueños de la marca Yeti: Mr. Conroy y Mr. Hoogendoorn. Dos gringos con pinta de hippie, pero ultra exigentes con el destino, pues también han recorrido los mejores senderos del mundo en mtb. A este Tribe, solo pueden venir personas que sean dueñas de una bicicleta Yeti y que sean lo suficientemente fit para llevarle el ritmo a los dueños de la marca.
El Tribe ya había pasado por Escocia, Colorado y Nepal, por lo que la vara que se nos imponía era muy alta. De todas maneras, estábamos confiados en lo que Chile tiene para ofrecer, así que sólo nos dedicamos a dejar afinada la logística, ver que los hoteles del tour estaban bien, y preparar alguna que otra sorpresa para estos viajeros experimentados del mtb enduro.
Dentro de los invitados VIP del Tribe – además de los dueños – estaban dos personajes de la industria, Berne Broudy y Joey Schusler. La primera una escritora especialista en viajes en bicicleta, y el segundo un ex rider dedicado a la filmación y fotografía de aventura.
El itinerario del Yeti Tribe es muy similar a los tours de mtb que ya hacemos, que combina senderos en volcanes, bosques de araucarias, termas naturales y conocer la cultura local. Para esa ocasión, y junto a 20 gringos simpáticos, partimos en Pucón, con varios rides por los senderos en torno al Volcán Villarrica, nos tiramos un piquero en las termas Geométricas, probamos merkén y jugamos palin con los Mapuche, recorrimos Huilo-Huilo, pedaleamos en el centro de ski Antillanca y terminamos cruzando el paso Desolación junto al Volcán Osorno. Aquí puedes ver las mejores fotos de ese viaje: Yeti Tribe Chile
Mi recompensa fue escuchar de los dueños de Yeti dos cosas: 1) sus felicitaciones por un tour con un servicio impecable, que los hizo volver después con sus familias, y 2) que a pesar de haber estado pedaleando en tantas partes increíbles del mundo, Chile los había dejado impresionados por su belleza natural y por las condiciones ideales que tiene para andar en mountain bike.
Estamos a mediados de Enero 2017, el Tribe ya había sido todo un éxito, y una nueva aventura se nos aproxima.
Esta vez, Euan lleva un buen tiempo hablando con su amigo Dan Milner, un súper conocido escritor y fotógrafo inglés, famoso por sus fotografías de naturaleza y aventura. Dan había cruzado de Pucón a Junín de Los Andes hacía ya 30 años, y había quedado impresionado con el paisaje que se tiene del volcán Lanín y de los bosques milenarios de araucarias.
Euan conocía también a Matt Hunter, un rider profesional de Canadá, que bajo el auspicio de las bicicletas Specialized, tiene un programa en Youtube llamado Trail Hunter. En este canal, muestran sus videos de aventura en mtb por todo el mundo, y Matt andaba en búsqueda de un nuevo destino para su canal. Con esa conjunción de astros, Euan une los cabos sueltos y llama a sus amigos para que vengan a Chile a recorrer el destino Lagos y Volcanes en mtb.
A este grupo se le suman dos riders profesionales más, ambos auspiciados por RedBull: Matty Miles de Canadá y el suizo René Wildhaber.
Sin embargo, justo en Chile estábamos viviendo uno de los incendios forestales más brutales del último siglo, con focos por todo el país, pero los más intensos y destructivos en las regiones de O’Higgins, el Maule y del Biobío. Con ello, gran parte de los parques nacionales estaban cerrados por orden de la CONAF, y en nuestro destino todos estaban en alerta roja (sin incendios, pero cerrados).
Euan había regresado a Pucón el 23 de enero y no podía creer lo que salía en las noticias, un desastre natural de grandes proporciones y los parques nacionales cerrados. Todos los preparativos estaban listos, y los riders ya tenían sus pasajes a Chile. Fue en ese escenario cuando entre todos decidimos seguir con lo planificado y esperar un milagro. Los distintos focos de incendio tuvieron una extensión gigante, provocadas por una alta velocidad del viento y unas olas de calor inéditas. El 26 de enero de 2017, se registró la temperatura máxima de la historia de Chile: 44,9°C en Quillón.
Es el 31 de enero, 7am y los riders extranjeros han arribado a Santiago desde distintos rincones del mundo, nos mandan un texto diciendo que está todo bien y que esperan aterrizar en Temuco por la tarde. Con Euan y Ernesto salimos al patio a tomar aire fresco junto a nuestro tazón de café, y al mirar al volcán Villarrica y verlo “con sombrero” se nos dibuja una sonrisa y creemos que ocurrirá el milagro.
Cuando nubes lenticulares se forman junto a la cima del volcán (en forma de gorro), es casi seguro que en Pucón lloverá en las próximas 12 horas. Y así ocurrió. Al momento de llegar los riders a nuestro centro de operaciones en Pucón ya ha comenzado a llover, y con Ernesto sabemos que esto es una muy buena noticia. Les damos la bienvenida con el clásico asado de cordero al palo y les contamos todos los planes que tenemos para los siguientes días.
A la mañana siguiente continúa la lluvia, y escuchamos por la radio que CONAF ha levantado la restricción en los parques de La Araucanía y Los Ríos. Tenemos LUZ VERDE para nuestra aventura.
Subimos nuestro equipo a las 4×4 y salimos rumbo al volcán Lanín. Una fina lluvia de verano crea una cortina densa que impide que nuestros amigos puedan apreciar el paisaje. Nosotros sabemos lo que está detrás de ese manto gris, pero preferimos guardar silencio y concentrarnos en el armado de nuestro campamento base-1, ubicado en un punto secreto a los pies del Lanín y protegidos por un bosque de gigantescas araucarias.
Dan y los dos Matt se concentran en organizar y chequear su equipo audiovisual, René, Ernesto y Euan preparan las bicicletas para dejarlas a punto, y a mi con José nos toca sorprender al grupo con un rico risotto de cena y música de fondo (esa misma que escuchas al inicio del video del Trail Hunter en Chile). La lluvia no ha parado, y eso nos tranquiliza mucho, pues reduce el peligro de incendio y así los parques se mantendrán abiertos. (José es el multifacético que toca el Hang en el video)
A la mañana siguiente, la ansiedad me despierta al alba y al salir de la carpa no puedo evitar decir un WOW que despierta a todos. Si bien este paisaje es familiar para mí, verlo a primera luz del día, con el imponente volcán Lanín cubierto de una fina capa de nieve me deja boquiabierto. Las carpas y bicicletas también están blancas, con una capa de escarcha que comienza a irse rápidamente a medida que vemos los primeros rayos del sol al amanecer.
Ciabatta con huevos de campo, tocino y palta, bowl de frutas y un buen café de grano es el menú del primer “desayuno de campeones” que producimos con José. El aire está frío para ser una mañana de febrero, pero estamos en la montaña a 1.200 metros de altitud. El cielo no tiene ni una nube y el suelo humea a medida que el sol lo calienta y evapora la lluvia de la noche anterior.
Ernesto vaticina un día perfecto para andar en mountain bike, pues se levantará muy poco polvo y tendrán un grip ideal en el sendero. Como buen guía, reúne al grupo en torno a la cafetera y comienza con su charla técnica para el día que se nos viene.
Así pasamos los próximos cinco días, filmando, fotografiando, asombrándonos y pedaleando en las mtb, teniendo como telón de fondo a los volcanes Lanín, Quetrupillán y Villarrica. Recuerdo que Matt Hunter una tarde se emociona y nos dice: “no puedo creer que existan lugares así en la tierra y que se puedan recorrer en mtb; primero estás en medio de un bosque milenario con distintos tonos de verde, y después pasas por un terreno sacado de la película Lord of the Rings, con valles gigantes cubiertos de lava de antiguas erupciones”.
El resultado habla por si mismo, y aquí lo puedes ver:
3. EVOC SPORTS
Cuando conocí a Euan le vi usando muchos accesorios de la marca EVOC. No me tomó mucho tiempo comprender que son una marca muy innovadora, con productos muy bien pensados y de excelente calidad. Y con el antecedente de las otras marcas que ya habíamos atendido en Chile, asumí que era otra marca de Estados Unidos.
Después de otro exitoso tour de mtb que hicimos en Chile para clientes de Euan, él me comenta que lleva tiempo hablando con los dueños de EVOC, persuadiéndolos para que vengan al destino Lagos y Volcanes de Chile. Y me envía un correo de un tal Holger Feist que le pide a Euan una locación que tenga un terreno volcánico y un árbol milenario que había visto hace unos años en Argentina en un viaje de ski (refiriéndose a la Araucaria araucana). Los directores de EVOC buscaban un paisaje único para ser de fondo del catálogo 2019 de los productos nuevos de la marca, que serían expuestos como primicia en la feria EuroBike (la más importante del mundo en la industria).
Euan no quería repetir las misma locaciones que ya habíamos utilizado para asombrar a Yeti y Specialized, y con toda tranquilidad le dije que no se preocupe, porque esta vez con Ernesto teníamos en mente concentrarnos en el Geoparque Kütralkura, un territorio con sello UNESCO, lleno de volcanes y bosques de araucarias ubicado en la punta norte del destino Lagos y Volcanes.
Sabiendo ya qué buscan este tipo de marcas y que siempre traen a un team impresionante de expertos audiovisuales y riders, el itinerario que creamos incluía lugares como: Laguna Blanca y volcán Tolhuaca, Cañón del Blanco y Sierra Nevada, volcán Lonquimay y Cordillera Las Raíces, Quinquén y lago Galletue, lago Conguillío y volcán Llaima, y como guinda final a Pucón y el volcán Villarrica. Todo esto combinado con termas, geiser, cabalgata, comunidad Pewenche, y una mezcla de hoteles pitucos, lodge de montaña y camping.
Es el 1 de diciembre de 2018 y en el aeropuerto de Temuco es fácil identificar quienes serán nuestros mejores amigos por los próximos días. Son 5 gringos con gorra, polera, mochila y maletas EVOC. Los primeros en salir son Sebastian Bender y Benedikt Ruf, que por su equipo deducimos que son los expertos en audiovisual. Después sale Jan, Holger y Bernd (estos dos últimos los fundadores de la compañía). Junto a Ernesto y Euan les damos la bienvenida a La Araucanía y nos distribuimos rápidamente en nuestras dos camionetas, no sin antes hacer la primera sesión de fotos con las maletas Evoc World Traveler en el frontis del aeropuerto (las puedes ver en el catálogo).
Nuestra primera parada es en Curacautín, donde pasaremos una noche para hacer las últimas compras y distribuir la gran cantidad de equipo y accesorios que han traído a Chile para probarlos en terreno. Uno de los accesorios EVOC que no tenemos permiso de fotografiar son los de bikepacking (por temas de secreto industrial), que serán la novedad de la marca para la feria Eurobike.
Y es en esta primera conversa-reunión con una cerveza Lonquimay en la mano que noto un acento extraño en los cinco extranjeros. Su inglés no es nativo, y yo sin rodeos les pregunto: ¿no son ustedes de USA? Los cinco sueltan la risa y me dicen “no Cristián, somos de Alemania, pero no te preocupes, somos unos alemanes especiales, más relajados”, y vuelven a soltar otra carcajada.
A la mañana siguiente ya tenemos ambas camionetas cargadas al tope, con carro de arrastre incluido. Salimos rumbo al fundo Laguna Blanca donde la familia Knust nos espera. Desde su lodge y centro ecuestre ponemos la marcha 4L y subimos por un camino de montaña áspero, que nos lleva a los pies del volcán Tolhuaca junto a la laguna Blanca. Aquí el entusiasmo es total, la sonrisa de la cara es imposible borrárselas a estos 5 alemanes atípicos. Nos pasamos todo el día en el lugar, siendo uno de mis spots favoritos el valle inter-volcánico que se forma entre el volcán Lonquimay y el Tolhuaca, es como el altiplano de Atacama, pero con sendas araucarias.
Luego de noche hacemos la transición hacia el “barrio de Manchuria” y nos internamos por el cañón del Blanco, donde mi amigo Cristián Parra nos espera con un asado criollo. Llevamos recién un día y el grupo está eufórico con lo vivido. A la mañana siguiente salimos a caballo hacia los geiser de la Sierra Nevada, y finalizamos la jornada en un pozón de agua termal.
Esta mañana amanecemos en Corralco, haciendo un vuelco en 180° desde la cultura criolla a un ambiente moderno y sofisticado. Muy temprano ya están todos en la terraza del hotel, fotografiando la cara sur del volcán Lonquimay. “This is unbelievable, amazing, crazy landscape” son algunos de los adjetivos que reiteradamente me dicen nuestros huéspedes de EVOC. Y con Ernesto nos reímos porque sabemos que todavía queda muchísimo más para sorprenderlos.
Cargamos el equipo en las camionetas y salimos en las mountain bike rumbo al cráter Navidad. Nuevamente resuenan diversas expresiones de asombro y felicidad. ¿Cómo es posible que hayamos salido de un bosque verde y milenario junto al hotel, y 10 minutos más tarde estamos en un paisaje que parece sacado de la Luna o de Marte?, me preguntan Holger y Bernd. “Así es el destino Lagos y Volcanes” – respondo cada vez que la misma pregunta se asoma.
Recorremos extensivamente los alrededores áridos del cráter Navidad y le explicamos a nuestros amigos como se formó este cráter para la navidad de 1988 en una erupción que duró 1 año. Después Ernesto los anima a regresar al hotel haciendo un free-ride por las faldas del volcán, llegando a la terraza donde unas cervezas heladas los esperan junto a la piscina y el SPA.
Hoy nos toca conocer a los Pewenche, la gente que salvó a la araucaria de ser cortada, y para eso nos vamos a pedalear a Quinquén, donde la familia Meliñir nos espera en su comunidad. Un asado de chivo con puré de piñón es parte del menú que nos tiene preparado Joaquín, el hijo del Lonko de la comunidad. Recorremos senderos con vistas al Batea Mawida y al lago Galletue, y sumamos más escenarios en nuestras mtb con los accesorios de Evoc. Al caer la noche, junto al fuego en la ruka, y con un mate compartido, escuchamos atentos la historia de como esa comunidad logró que se declare a la araucaria un Monumento Natural, prohibiendo así la tala.
Nuestro viaje ya ha llegado a la mitad y todavía nos queda lo mejor. Ahora toca acampar y poner a prueba todo el equipo de bikepacking. Armamos campamento en el sector el Hoyón junto al lago Conguillío y con la Sierra Nevada de fondo. La noche está muy estrellada y sin luna, ideal para esas time-lapse nocturnas. A la hora del desayuno, Holger y Bernd nos cuentan más sobre los inicios de la compañía, y lo significativo de este viaje para ellos, pues cumplen 10 años como empresa.
Teniendo como campo base al lago Conguillío, Ernesto nos lleva a recorrer caminos y senderos del parque y una aventura un poco más extrema hacia el volcán Nevados de Sollipulli, en donde llegamos en mtb al cono Chufquén y al mismísimo glaciar del Sollipulli.
Finalmente, y ya un poco más cansados, nuestro tour llega a Pucón, donde concluimos el viaje por los senderos del centro de ski del volcán Villarrica, con las pistas Lengas, Flow y El Clásico. Por la noche vamos a uno de esos bares imperdibles del pueblo y hacemos incontables salud por el éxito del viaje y por haber coronado en mtb el destino Lagos y Volcanes.
Mira aquí el video de este viaje épico y profundo a La Araucanía.
Que tres reconocidas empresas del ciclismo de montaña del mundo te digan los mismos comentarios positivos de Chile como un paraíso para el mountain bike, no solo me llenan de orgullo, sino que me ratifican que tenemos todo para seguir desarrollando este deporte, en la naturaleza y con todo el respeto hacia ella.
¿Y tú, cuándo te animas a viajar con Amity y tu mtb?
During this unique bike and hike tour in Chile, especially designed by women for women, we will immerse ourselves into the ancestral culture of the Likan Antai people. In addition, we’ll explore the most beautiful spots around San Pedro de Atacama, by foot and by bike.
We will enjoy tasty local food, get to know local traditions. As well as discovering the open skies, and relaxing in natural thermal hot springs. Our very unique accommodation offers us perfect moments to relax and enjoy the yoga sessions and other well-being moments.
A tour for adventure women and nature lovers!
The Atacama desert is the highest and driest desert in the world. San Pedro de Atacama is surrounded by the Andes Range, the Salt Range and the Domeyko range. The main highlights are the Moon Valley, the Mars Valley, the Atacama Salt flat, the Altiplano, the geysers and the Andean lagoons (4000 meters above sea level). Thanks to the volcanic activity it is possible to find hot springs and active volcanoes such as Lascar and Putana. It has a variety of endemic bird species and flora species that makes it a unique place on earth. The indigenous people, who inhabits the charming villages are the Likan Antai people which culture has been alive for 12.000 years.
Likan Antai people
The Likan Antai or Atacameños communities maintain traditional ways of living alongside the oases and streams of the Loa River and the Salar de Atacama, without losing contact with the urban centers and current Chilean society.
Upon their arrival in the 16th century, the Spanish named the Andean population „Atacama“.During the centuries before the European invasion, the Atacameños used an unwritten language to name the local geography and the different ecological landscapes. According to the first linguists and travelers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Atacameño communities used the Cunza as their main language and called themselves, along with their territory, the compound word Licán-Antai.
The arid climate limited settlements to small and isolated oases. Each village was autonomous, made up of a group of related families under a chief working collectively. These villages or Ayllus were usually located on high ground, surrounded by defensive walls. The Ayllu is a form of extensive social community originating in the Andean region.
Weather in the Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is commonly known as the driest place in the world. Although the almost total lack of precipitation is the most prominent characteristic of the Atacama Desert, exceptions may occur. The Invierno Boliviano or Altiplano Winter is a phenomenon, which can produce rain and abundant electrical storms and occurs in January and February. The average rainfall is about 15 mm. (0.59 in) per year. Moreover, some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain. This desert is so arid that many mountains higher than 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) are completely free of glaciers. Indeed, only the highest peaks have some permanent snow coverage.
In San Pedro de Atacama, the local climate is extremely dry and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25ºC to 30ºC (77ºF–86ºF) in the summer (December to February) and 18ºC to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F) in the winter (June to August). Nighttime temperatures routinely drop below 0 °C (32 °F) and can reach as low as −10 °C (14 °F) in the winter.
The best season for hiking and biking in the Atacama Desert runs from mid June through mid November.
On day one for example we will first pass by Solcor, Sequitor & Tulor. Here we will make our first stop in order to visit the archeological site Tulor. One of the oldest archaeological sites in northern Chile, that was excavated by the famous archeologist Ana Maria Baron, a very inspiring woman.
Afterwards we will met a friendly Likan Antai woman and her family at the Ayllu of Coyo. She will share with us some of her daily activities and ancestral cosmovision. She has worked on emphasizing the ancestral caravan with llamas.
Then we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Coyo, where we will be able to taste typical food prepared with local products. Finally, we will bike back to the hotel, rest from the sun and get prepared four our afternoon excursion.
Local women and traditions
The third day of our trip also includes a great visit of the local women and their traditions. We will travel south towards the Altiplanic Lagoons, gaining altitude to enter the puna highlands and surprise ourselves with its particular vegetation: wildlife, lagoons and salt flats. It is where, without any doubt, the Miscanti Lagoon stands out: the largest in the entire Antofagasta region.
Later, we visit the town of Socaire, where the indigenous community still preserves part of the traditional Atacameñan way of life. In this small town, we will pay another great woman and her family a visit. The women of the family still keep alive the tradition of weaving, carrying out the complete process, from the spinning of wool to the production of the most traditional items in the area such as clothing and others.
We will enjoy lunch at the Guest House of the Indigenous Community of Socaire. After lunch, we will go to the town of Talabre, in the middle of the prepuna. There, accompanied by a local guide (mostly women) from the Talabre indigenous community, we will walk through Kezala, one of the gorges, that connects the high Andes Mountains with the Salar de Atacama basin. That treasure’s an invaluable archaeological heritage in rock art.
Later, we can enjoy a tasting of Lican Antai products before driving back to our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.
Yoga session and hotsprings
Have you ever experienced a yoga session in the driest desert of the world? If not, it is time to do so during our Women tour. We will enjoy a relaxing yoga hour with a professional teacher in a safe and protected area. It is a perfect activity to enjoy the splendid sunset and to feel the magic of the desert.
Depending on the lunar cycle we might even join a full moon women circle on one of the evenings during our trip.
In addition to the soul treatment during the yoga session we will also relax at the amazing and natural hot springs of Puritama. Immerse yourself into the unique landscape and relax your muscels in the natural pools after a nice hike.
Star-gazing and the Andean cosmovision
The night in the Atacama Desert, its starry sky and the presence of ancient fire, give life to a unique and unrepeatable experience. Here, the knowledge of the Andean cosmovision of the skies meets the scientific understanding of the stars.
We will combine traditional scientific astronomy with the ancient Andean vision of the first astronomers of the place. They have been long before the first telescope. As a complement, we will also have the possibility to observe the stars through a modern telescope.
Local handicrafts and shopping
Accompanied by our guide, we will walk through the streets of San Pedro. The focus will be to learn a little more about its history and formation. And to finish familiarizing ourselves with some of the challenges that characterize and influence social organization, politics and life in this place. We will visit the nicest shops with local handicrafts. That is when we will have time to find some souvenirs and gifts for our family and friends.
Our accommodation: Atacama Loft and Glamp
For this unique trip we chose a unique accommodation. The Atacama Loft & Glamp is a woman owned and managed accommodation with a very special atmosphere. Just a few car-minutes away from the busy center of San Pedro de Atacama. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the spectacular views or chat with a nice pisco sour at one of the cosy corners around the pool.
El Martes 6 de Octubre 2020, Eduardo Silva de FullOutdoor – la multiplataforma digital de estilos de vida, actividades y deportes al aire libre en Chile – se reunió virtualmente con Cristián Levy y Germán Pino, los socios principales de Amity Tours.
El COVID se instala en Chile y detiene las operaciones turísticas
Durante esta conversación, hablamos del impacto que ha tenido la crisis del COVID sobre la industria turística en Chile, y como han repercutido los efectos en la tur operación:
“Fue muy abrupto el corte de nuestra temporada, dice Cristián. Nuestra temporada de verano normalmente termina a fines de abril, pero ya el 15 de marzo tuvimos que devolver a un grupo de viajeros de Estados Unidos el mismo día que aterrizó en Chile, por orden del cliente emisivo. Fue complejo, y pensamos que iba a ser una cosa de semanas y al final se alargó un mes, dos meses, tres meses y ahora ya siete meses en eso…”
Luego comentó que, en Pucón (donde se encuentra la base principal de operaciones) afortunadamente por los pocos casos, el municipio y el área de salud local han podido llevar muy bien la trazabilidad de los casos. “Actualmente tenemos 12 casos activos, con un total de 110 casos en todos estos 7 meses, agregó. Aquí la mayoría de la gente vive en el campo, tú sales de tu casa y llegas al río, llegas a la montaña, llegas al bosque y esa conexión con la naturaleza no nos ha dejado como leones enjaulados… Al contrario, nos ha permitido reconectar, estar más tiempo con la familia, los [email protected], …”
Luego, Cristián nos explica como Amity nació de “un vuelvo abrupto en la vida” y como se le ocurrió a Alejandro Levy (el Papá de Cristián) hacer una empresa de turismo ligada a la naturaleza y al deporte. Alejandro es ingeniero textil de profesión, pero también amante de la montaña y del deporte. Tras la llegada a Chile de la crisis asiática en 2002, la industria textil en Chile empezó a morir y se quedó sin trabajo.
En este mismo tiempo, Cristián y Germán trabajaban como consultores junior en la Fundación EuroChile. Gerd Walther, jefe y mentor de estos jóvenes entusiastas, empezó a bromear sobre crear una empresa de turismo en Temuco, donde se había instalado la familia de Cristian a vivir, para así recibir a los clientes internacionales en esta zona del país.
La broma fue tomando seriedad cuando llegó la solicitud de una familia de Brasil, que quería venir a Chile a esquiar, pero no a los centros de ski típicos. Así, Alejandro y Cristián organizaron el viaje para esta familia, quienes se convirtieron en fieles clientes, viniendo a esquiar a Chile 10 veces más.
“Nunca pensé que hacer lo que más me gusta me pudiera dar dinero y con eso vivir!”, confesó Alejandro a Cristián.
Luego de eso, empezó a tomar vida Amity, con la compra de la primera van para poder recibir los primeros clientes de Inglaterra quienes vinieron a esquiar y conocer los volcanes del sur de Chile.
Durante los primeros 10 años de operación, el fuerte de la empresa fue el mercado europeo de habla inglesa que venía a esquiar los volcanes activos de la zona, y de habla alemana que venía a conocer los parques nacionales además de la flora y fauna local y de conversar con la comunidad Mapuche.
Tras la integración de Germán como socio de Amity Tours el 2011, la empresa se hizo miembro de la Adventure Travel Trade Association, que marcó un antes y después en la historia de Amity. Gracias a las cumbres anuales organizadas por la asociación, la captación del mercado norteamericano fue posible, lo que abrió muchas puertas de nuevos negocios. La adquisición de este nuevo mercado llevó Amity a atender a clientes extranjeros quienes buscan aventura, pero con confort de lujo.
Nuevos programas de aventuras en el Sur de Chile
Dados los cierres de las fronteras, y la imposibilidad de recibir a turistas extranjeros, Amity Tours ha estado trabajando en adaptar los programas de turismo aventura para el mercado nacional.
El desafío no fue menor, pero se logró diseñar experiencias de viaje para clientes quienes buscan aventura y confort, con la seguridad de contratar a una empresa registrada en SERNATUR que cumple con los protocolos nacionales e internacionales.
El próximo 14 de diciembre de este mismo año, ocurrirá un evento astronómico especial en los cielos del Destino Lagos y Volcanes. En efecto, se nos acerca el eclipse solar total, que se podrá observar al 100% desde La Araucanía.
Respecto al eclipse, Germán comenta: “Este fenómeno es tan importante que tiene que generar – nosotros lo hablamos de la óptica del turismo – riqueza para la comunidad local.Lo importante, es generar programas donde la comunidad local se involucra, y pueda participar de este reparto de ingresos. Porque si no, es un mal negocio para todos. Si uno no lo hace así, eso va a terminar siendo un desastre con mucha gente en el territorio dejando pocas lucas y muchas toneladas de basura.”
Desde esta visión, diseñamos un programa súper exclusivo. Pues, nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tiene una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
La expertise con la que contamos del Destino Lagos y Volcanes nos dio la capacitad de elaborar una experiencia del eclipse “a contra-reloj”, es decir ingeniada para evitar el flujo de la gente y así evadir los inevitables tacos que se podrán generar debido al evento solar.
Amity Tours, Empresa líder del Destino Lagos y Volcanes
Cabe destacar que Amity Tours es local en el Destino Lagos y Volcanes. Y éste destino son 3 regiones: la región de La Araucanía, la de Los Ríos y de Los Lagos. En línea recta, son casi 500 kilómetros, que cuentan con una ruta escénica llamada Lagos y Volcanes, llena de volcanes nevados y miradores, acceso a parques nacionales, grandes lagos, termas, colonos europeos, y pueblos originarios, todo a muy poca distancia.
“Es un parque de diversiones. A alguien que le gusta la actividad al aire libre. (…) Hay pocos lugares así en el Mundo”, Germán comenta.
Respecto a la riqueza natural del territorio, Cristián finaliza declarando: “lo que nos gustaría a nosotros, poder dejar en todos los clientes que nos visiten, que se enamoren de la misma manera que nosotros estamos enamorados de la naturaleza de Chile.“
Cabe destacar que internacionalmente, Chile no solamente se luce por la belleza natural de sus paisajes. En efecto, Chile fue elegido 4 veces como mejor Destino Mundial de Turismo Aventura por los World Travel Awards (2016, 2017, 2018 y 2019), y 5 veces como mejor Destino de Turismo Aventura en Sudamérica (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 y 2019).
No te pierdas esta interesante entrevista, y entérate de las mejores sorpresas de viaje que tenemos para cuando se pueda volver a viajar!
“Estoy sobrecogido, yo había visto un eclipse casi total, pero entre un eclipse casi total y uno total hay una diferencia enorme, porque los dos minutos de la totalidad son sublimes, son como de otro planeta. Se vio la corona alargada con unas puntas hacia arriba y unas puntas hacia abajo, y además, la luz cambió de tono, era realmente lindo y además nos dio bastante frío”. Estas eran las palabras del doctor, y rockstaen astronomía y astrofísica, José Maza, el año 2019 al observar su primer eclipse total en Chile, emocionantes e increíbles considerando su trayectoria y todo lo que ha vivido en el ámbito de la astronomía.
Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
En términos generales, es inusual que eclipses totales de Sol consecutivos sean visibles en un mismo país. Sin embargo, debido a los 8.000 kilómetros de longitud que tiene Chile, se da la posibilidad única de observar durante tres años seguidos espectaculares ocultamientos de nuestra estrella brillante y caliente de hidrógeno y helio – el Sol.
Eclipse solar el 14 de Diciembre 2020
El eclipse, como ya muchos saben, se volverá a repetir el lunes 14 de Diciembre, pudiéndose observar en su totalidad en la Región de La Araucanía, más precisamente en las cercanías del Lago Villarrica, destino Lagos & Volcanes.
Y según muchos expertos, en comparación con el fenómeno del 2019, el eclipse que se producirá en Diciembre en La Araucanía será aún más espectacular. No sólo porque se observará en uno de los destinos turísticos más bonitos de Chile, rodeado de volcanes y lagos, ni por su relación con el pueblo Mapuche y su cosmovisión. Sino porque será a pleno día, con el sol justo arriba de nosotros generándose así un cambio radical pasando desde un día soleado (estamos trabajando para que esto suceda ;-)) a la penumbra absoluta de la noche por exactamente 2 minutos y 7 segundos (60 segundos si lo vemos desde el Rancho Santa Amalia en nuestro tour exclusivo).
Seguridad en tiempos de COVID
Las buenas noticias han llegado esta semana desde las instituciones encargadas por velar por nuestra seguridad en tiempos de Covid. Finalmente, estamos permitidos a transitar por Chile casi con normalidad. Los traslados sin necesidad de un permiso entre comunas y ciudades, se podrán hacer solo en aquellas que se encuentren entre las últimas tres etapas del programa Paso a Paso. Es decir, en fase de preparación (lugares donde la cuarentena ya se levantó, salvo para grupos de riesgo), etapa de apertura inicial (donde disminuye el grado de confinamiento) y apertura avanzada (donde se levanta la cuarentena para la población en general).
Pucón, hoy, se encuentra en Fase 4: Apertura Inicial.
Con esta extraordinaria noticia, todos quienes quieran venir a ver este fenómeno astronómico, lo podrán hacer tomando todos los resguardos necesarios. En este sentido, Amity Tours ha implementado los máximos protocolos que la industria ha diseñado, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional.
Nuestro programa exclusivo para ver el eclipse
Para quienes vengan, hemos preparado una exclusiva experiencia de 5 días diseñada especialmente para familias con [email protected] que quieren venir a vivir días que serán inolvidables. Uno de los aspectos importantes que hemos diseñado es, evitar los eternos traslados que se producirán por el movimiento de gente. Para lo cual hemos diseñado los trayectos para intentar evitar el colapso vial sin dejar de vivir una experiencia única.
Nuestro tour Eclipse Araucanía lo diseñamos en conjunto con el Rancho Santa Amalia. Lugar único en Chile, escondido en un rincón del lago Colico. Rodeado de bosques milenarios y una cancha de polo privada para quienes se animen a jugar o tan sólo montar a caballo. Ahí serán atendidos por sus dueños. Disfrutarán de la hospitalidad del sur. Pero con todas las comodidades y servicios esperados de un hotel.
¡Nuestra recomendación es que se apuren en reservar, ya que este paraíso sólo tiene capacidad para 24 personas!
Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
An exclusive and carefully crafted adventure led by three of the most iconic adventure companies of Chile: Amity Tours, BirdsChile and Chile Nativo Travel. A lifetime experience exploring on foot, bike, raft and kayak the most spectacular landscapes of northern and southern Patagonia. This exclusive program covers and connects the wild and diverse landscapes of two Scenic Routes: The Lake and Volcano Route + Route of Parks of Patagonia.
In this tour you will discover Conguillío National Park, starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees, explore the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of Pumalin Park (Douglas Tompkins legacy), and finish with a stunning finale in Torres del Paine National Park
Nature, diversity, local communities, and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences led by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!
Different sustainable concepts in one tour
We have been strategizing on how to develop a product which benefits are given back to local communities, supports conservation, and that the trip integrates the REWILDING concept. All of which posed to be the biggest challenge incorporating these exact concepts into a multisport program.
Cristián, Raffaele and Gonzalo – the CEOs of the three adventure companies – went together on a creative retreat, laying out the first draft itinerary and agreeing in the key factors to success with an epic and transformational multisport tour in Patagonia.
As a result, they came back with a unique itinerary connecting the Lake & Volcano Route and the Route of Parks of Patagonia, covering 1.400 miles (2.300 km) between Conguillío National Park and Torres del Paine.
The trip was ready to launch for the 2020/2021 season but it was postponed due to Covid international travel restrictions. However, this amazing trip was officially launched during the AdventureELEVATE virtual event and now 2021-22 dates are already confirmed.
Before we dive deeper into the highlights of the trip, we want to introduce these two iconic scenic routes with a short video:
Lake & Volcano Scenic Route
Route of Parks of Patagonia
The efforts of conservations in these lands were skeptically accepted at the beginning, provoking a controversy among Chileans, politicians, and part of the population.
Here another video to show the controversy:
Now, an especially important detail of this topic of conservation is Rewilding and the adaptive form of Rewilding in Tourism, which is a new way to power the art of traveling, transforming it from a high consumption product of tourism to a real and genuine act of empathy. Let’s talk a little more in depth about REWILDING.
What is rewilding?
We like to separate the two concepts: Ecological Rewilding and Tourism Rewilding. While ecological rewilding means “to return an ecosystem to its original state”, we have to understand that Tourism Rewilding is “adapted to tourism because we cannot erase the human impact completely”.
The Patagonia National Park has a rewilding concept with one of the highest global standards. If you want to know more about the rewilding process in the Patagonia National Park, you can take a look at this video. The story of Douglas Tompkins is intimately related to this park that became part of the largest donation of private lands ever made, and the first step for the creation of the Route of Parks of Patagonia.
During our multisport trip we are part of a Tourism Rewilding concept. This is not the only reason why we talk about a sustainable project. Moreover, we operate the tour only in small groups (8 guests max.), trying to focus on low-impact activities. That allows us to have a traceable and measurable trip. So, between the three companies we can collect data and publish exact numbers about the real social, economic and environmental impact. Furthermore we support local NGO’s for educational and conservation programs such as Fundación Legado Chile, and Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.
More about our Zero Waste concept
In all of our self-operated group departure tours we do focus on our Zero Waste Concept. First of all, we reinvented our picnic tables and box lunches. Wherever possible we changed to local suppliers and focused on organic processes. We eliminated single use plastic products and separated all unavoidable waste for recycling. During the last season we visited our most important local partners such as hotels and restaurants to involucrate them into the Zero Waste program. At the moment we are working on our Climate Emergency Plan. And we are part of the Climate Action Leaders Community.
How do we incorporate the local community?
Our brand-new Multisport Tour focuses also on the local communities, their culture, habits and history. We want to give our international guests the opportunity to learn more about the ancestral heritage of the Mapuche People. This proud nation has a huge influence in the Lake and Volcano District. We are able to get to know a friendly family, who shares with us their way of life between the actual progress and the ancestral heritage.
In our rewilding work on day 6 of the tour, in the city of Llanquihue, we will combine this regeneration effort to work with local communities, creating a virtuous circle where nature gets restored and communities get benefits.
Furthermore we meet the friendly Kawésqar women. They started and initiative to rescue their culture. Valuing the ancestral heritage that they inherited from their canoe ancestors of Kawésqar. The vision of this project is to generate, in a collaborative way and through the dialogue between indigenous communities and interested people, the best strategy to value the culture and ancestral Kawésqar heritage. Through initiatives that benefit the original people, its members, culture, and the ancestral territory.
We will learn about the traditional basket weaving. This local art of mainly Kawésqar women has been transmitted by their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters. They kept alive the beautiful handwork with a thin vegetal fiber known as jonquil.
Multisport activities on the Route of Parks Tour
We love the adventure and want to share this feeling with you. We kick-off the trip hiking among volcanoes and ancient Araucaria trees. Then we jump on our bikes and travel southbound Pedalling the Lake and Volcano scenic route is a great way to appreciate the stunning nature with the perfectly cone-shaped volcanoes, pristine lakes, and beautiful national parks.
Afterwards we leave the bikes behind and continue by water, rafting the turquoise rapids of Petrohué river. Then we follow Carretera Austral by foot. Exploring active volcanoes, hidden waterfalls, and the Northern Fjords of Patagonia. Finally, one of the highlights of the trip is definitely the day kayaking in Torres del Paine. Paddling in between floating icebergs and descending the Grey River is something you will remember forever!
A trip of your lifetime
The Route of Parks, a Patagonia Collection Program, is a lifetime experience for the traveler seeking the awe and wonder that Patagonia provokes in all of us. This multisport journey exploring on foot, bike, and kayak connects some of the most spectacular landscapes of northern and southern Patagonia.
This exclusive program takes travelers to the base of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucarias of Conguillío National Park. To the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park. Last but not least, a stunning finale at the wild and diverse landscapes of the Torres del Paine National Park.
Travel must be an act of empathy
During the last ATTA Elevate event we had a wonderful, and educational session filled with great conversations from participants from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.
The result? Conservation is not enough anymore. Travel must be an act of empathy. Travel must regenerate communities and ecosystems, and as a leader in our trade, and as travelers ourselves, we must make conscious decisions to transform. Transform our programs, our products, and ourselves into something greater – even if that means making certain sacrifices such as smaller group departures and lower-impact travels. The effects of travel must be measurable and traceable.
We are convinced that travel MUST regenerate our public and private lands, environments, ecosystems, and communities.
Are you looking for a real adventure in South America? Would you like to share it with other women travelling together? Our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia is the perfect match!
During this unique women-only trip in Patagonia, you will enjoy the beauty of the Torres del Paine National Park. Also you will get to know very important entrepreneurs women. And for sure, you will get connected with your spirit during the private yoga and meditations sessions.
Hike and kayak with the best views of Torres del Paine Massif. Walk through the wilderness, kayak on pristine rivers and lakes, and enjoy tracking wild horses off-the-beaten path. Be part of the positive impacts generated in the Torres del Paine National Park. On this tour you will help the Legacy Fund in a special reforestation project. The comfortable Riverside Campsite and the authentic Patagonia Bagual Camp will be your home far away from home.
This is an unforgettable Multisport adventure to entice all outdoorsy types together with other adventurous women.
We carefully created all our women adventures to give solo female travelers or friends the possibility to explore our country in a unique way. We packed all the trips with great and relaxing moments like massages, hot tubs, hot springs or yoga sessions. Travelling in small groups is a great way to experience a country. And of course also getting to know other people from around the world. On a women only tour the focus of wellbeing and connection to the Mother Nature are the main goals we want to achieve. Last but not least, as we love the adventure, our trips are all fulfilled with unforgettable adrenaline moments.
Some special activities during our Multisport Women Tours in Patagonia
Getting to know the Kawesqar women
The first activity on our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia takes place in the little town of Puerto Natales. Here we will meet the friendly Kawésqar women. These women started and initiative that responds to the need of the indigenous communities to rescue their culture. Valuing the ancestral heritage that they inherited from their canoe ancestors of Kawésqar.
We will learn about the traditional basket weaving. This local art of mainly Kawésqar women has been transmitted by their grandmothers, mothers, aunts and sister. They kept alive the beautiful handwork with a thin vegetal fiber known as jonquil. Through weaving the artisans will take you to know in first person not only their techniques and methods to weave the jonquil, but also their personal stories and history. In the beginning the basketworks were used to transport food collected by theses nomadic canoe-gatherers and hunter-gatherers. Afterwards they were exchanged with non-perishable food of modern ships travelling through ancestral territory. Nowadays the famous baskets are sold as an exclusive piece of art and design.
The cultural elements -such as: language, the cosmovision, storytelling, basketry, medicine, the collection of shellfish and eggs, fishing in the sea, the hunting of birds and mammals, together with the great knowledge of navigation, diving, the geography of its territory and the coexistence with its environment of which we are part- those who motivate this group of young Kawésqar and friends to begin this path of study, rescue, visibility, and conservation of the treasure that today possess the old and new Kawésqar. Of alive or intangible heritage, to enthuse firstly the indigenous communities themselves, other original peoples and all those who wish to know more about the Kawésqar people.
The vision of this project is to generate, in a collaborative way and through the dialogue between indigenous communities and interested people, the best strategy to value the culture and ancestral Kawésqar heritage. Through initiatives that benefit the original people, it’s members, culture and the ancestral territory.
Collaborate with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund
Another interesting project we will not only visit but also collaborate, is the reforestation monitoring with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.
The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund is a non-profit initiative of Sustainable Travel International dedicated to ensuring a more sustainable future for Torres del Paine National Park and its surrounding communities. Launched in 2014 in response to challenges posed by rapidly increasing visitation to this iconic yet fragile landscape, the Legacy Fund mobilizes and implements collective stewardship of one of the world’s most cherished and spectacular natural wonders. It partners with local and international businesses, municipalities, park authorities, and visitors to collaboratively raise funds, awareness, and execute local sustainability projects that:
Restore and protect ecosystems
Improve tourism infrastructure and mitigate visitor impacts
Promote community development
Diversify recreational & cultural opportunities for residents and visitors.
Facts about Torres Del Paine National Park
In 2018, more than 285,000 people flocked to Torres del Paine National Park, considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. This figure represents double digit annual and five-year growth rates and is not expected to abate in the near term. Such intensive use and overcrowding have placed significant strain on the region’s unique flora and fauna, aging infrastructure, insufficient resources, and local population. Since 1985, three man-made fires, all started by tourists, have ravaged almost 1/5th of the park’s area, including native lenga tree forests, home to the black woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), Cachaña (Enicognathus ferrugineus) and the endangered huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisculus), amongst other endemic and endangered species now facing drastically reduced and altered habitats.
Naturally occurring forest fires are nonexistent in this part of the world. That means when a species like lenga is devastated by human-induced fires, it won’t automatically recover. As a result, humans must intervene to rehabilitate and revegetate these ecosystems.
In response to the fires, Chile’s National Forest Corporation, CONAF, began ecological restoration efforts to accelerate recuperation of the park’s damaged forest ecosystems. Lenga seedlings are cultivated in a nursery until they are ready to be transferred into the park. They are then replanted in small clusters, or “nuclei,” of 100 in the least resilient fire-affected areas. To date, more than 900,000 lenga seedlings have been planted in the park.
Our support during the trip
The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund supports CONAF’s restoration efforts by monitoring reforested lenga nuclei. A combination of volunteers and tourists, YOU in this case, will join us on field expeditions to collect data on the health and growth of the young seedlings. This collaborative citizen-science effort will help inform CONAF to improve reforestation efforts in Torres del Paine.
Yoga session at a unique spot with a professional instructor
There is no women tour where we do not incorporate a private yoga session. On this tour a professional yoga teacher will guide us through a 1.5 hours Hatha Yoga Class. Which will be accompanied by a meditation session of around 1 hour. This experience will depend on weather conditions as it takes place under the open sky, with stunning views over the National Park.
Tracking wild horses in a extraordinary surrounding
On day 5 of our tour we’ll hear a short but interesting introduction to the area’s history and the evolution and characteristics of the wild horses. With the help of satellite tracking equipment, coupled with our guide’s experience and knowledge, we’ll begin our trek, searching for the 100 untamed horses that remain isolated in this sector surrounded by mountains, lakes, and plains, in the most pristine and untouched terrain of Torres del Paine. Depending on the location of the horses, we’ll choose a place to have lunch and share our stories and experiences. The experience of tracking, observing, and analyzing the horses in such natural surroundings is incomparable. Additionally, we’ll be privy to fantastic views of Lago Stokes, the Cordillera Dickson, and the imposing Towers.
A unique accommodation during our Multisport Women Tour in Patagonia
The Riverside Campsite is located within Torres del Paine National Park. The fully equipped campsite is located on the shores of the Serrano River, away from the buzz of crowded Refugios and campsites. The double deluxe tents are located on raised platforms, protected against the bracing Patagonian elements. Inside, the double-height mattresses, cozy down covers and heaters do operate during the evening to ensure a warm night’s rest. Permanent, separate male and female bathrooms with hot showers are just a short walk from the tents.
Meals are abundant, delicious and shared in a dedicated dining lodge with views of the Paine Massif’s changing colors and spacious room to lounge, relax, and enjoy great company. The buffet breakfasts, design-your-own packed lunches and chef-prepared three-course dinners are a nourishing mix of local delicacies and high-energy foods to fuel our days’ adventures. Think king crab, lamb, power bars, endless vegetables, eggs, cereals, jams and local cheeses. Vegans, vegetarians and guests with other dietary needs are more than catered for with a range of alternative milks, gluten free breads, vegan cheeses and soy products. And of course, beer, Chilean wine and Pisco sours mark the perfect end to a day’s trekking.
The own hostess is always onsite to answer questions and to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible.
En Amity Tours, no tenemos ninguna duda que nuestros guías son el principal capital que tiene nuestra empresa, con quienes hemos desarrollado una relación fraterna de amistad y preocupación mutua. Nuestros guías son los mejores guías del Destino Lagos & Volcanes, conocen cada rincón del territorio, y lo más importante, están involucrados en las raíces de las comunidades locales.
Sabemos que la primera y última cara que ven nuestros clientes es la de nuestros guías. Tenemos un equipo pequeño, pero estamos seguros es el mejor. Y no son solo palabras, pues cada año tenemos unos 20 postulantes y usualmente nos quedamos con 1 o 2.
Personas que por sobre todo sientan pasión por lo que hacen, sepan trabajar en equipo y tengan un gran corazón.
En este blog, presentamos a 3 de nuestros guías más queridos: David, Rubén y Francisco. Todos tienen historias de vida diferentes, pero que comparten su pasión por las actividades al aire libre, el deporte, la competencia, el humor y los trabajos comunitarios.
Todos nuestros guías deben pasar un riguroso proceso de selección y tener al menos la certificación “Wilderness First Responder”, curso certificado que entrega las herramientas técnicas necesarias para responder de buena forma en casos de accidentes en terrenos complejos como montañas, ríos o bosques.
DAVID JOOS, 7 años guiando en Amity Tours
David, el con más experiencia (por no decir el más viejo ), es rescatista del Cuerpo de Bomberos de Chile, montañista, reconocido instructor de kayak, con varios triatlones en el cuerpo y certificado en WFR. Quienes han tenido la mala fortuna (o buena suerte) de tener un accidente durante sus tours, han visto cómo responde un verdadero profesional ante estos dramáticos eventos, que varias veces han requerido su gestión experta.
Ir en tour con David es un constante reír y disfrute, pues él siempre se las ingenia para conquistar a los viajeros a través del humor. David es muy entusiasta, siempre alegre y con una actitud positiva ante la vida.
¿Cómo te llaman tus amigos y compañeros de trabajo?
¿Cuál es el tour que más te gusta guiar?
Bike and Hike tour alrededor de Pucón
¿Cuál sería el peor trabajo que podrías tener?
Hacer lo mismo todos los días
¿Cuál es tu deporte favorito para practicar?
Kayak y triatlón (ya son 4)
¿Cerveza o pisco sour?
Cerveza, ¡y mucha!
¿Rutera o MTB?
Ambas bicicletas me encantan
Si pudieras ser un animal ¿cuál serías y por qué?
Pato correntino, se mueve tan elegante entre el agua y el aire
¿Carne o pastas?
Pasta con carne
¿En una escala de 1 a 10, cuan “cool” eres?
¿Qué te hace reír?
Las tallas chilenas con doble sentido
¿Qué te hace enojar?
Los celos de mi señora
¿El cliente siempre tiene la razón?
¿Cuánto tiempo te toma estar listo en la mañana antes de un tour?
¿Comida que menos te gusta?
¿Qué es mejor para ser guía, la experiencia o un diploma?
Experiencia, por sobre todas las cosas
Si pudieras vivir en otro lugar ¿dónde vivirías?
Patagonia, Carretera Austral
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta y lo que menos te gusta de tu trabajo como guía?
El contacto con la gente; tener problemas en el tour fuera de tu alcance para arreglar
Si ganaras 1 millón de dólares ¿qué comprarías?
Una casa rodante “filete”
¿Dónde estarás en 3 años?
En Pucón con una pequeña empresa de poda
RUBEN PAILLALEF, 8 años guiando en Amity Tours
Rubén, orgulloso descendiente del pueblo Mapuche, fue uno de los primeros guías que tuvo Amity Tours para sus viajes de cicloturismo. Triatleta destacado, montañista, con certificado WFR y capacitaciones en USA y Europa, pasa su tiempo “libre” subiendo al volcán Villarrica, sacando fotografías y trabajando en su huerta, siempre en contacto con la tierra, su familia y comunidad.
Rubén reconoce todas las plantas y animales del bosque, es buenísimo avistando e identificando especies de flora y fauna para que nuestros visitantes conozcan más de la naturaleza que están viendo. Es un ciclista muy fuerte, que seguro te acompañará si quieres exigirte en la bicicleta.
¿Cómo te llaman tus amigos y compañeros de trabajo?
Indio, Rubén, Kapurra (chivo)
¿Cuál es el tour que más te gusta guiar?
Bike tours en rutera.
¿Cuál sería el peor trabajo que podrías tener?
Un trabajo que no me complementa y que no me valoren
¿Cuál es tu deporte favorito para practicar?
Triatlón y todo lo que se desarrolle al aire libre
¿Cerveza o pisco sour?
¿Rutera o MTB?
Ambas me gustan
Si pudieras ser un animal ¿cuál serías y por qué?
Un lobo, porque le gusta trabajar en equipo y son fundamentales en el ecosistema que viven.
¿Carne o pastas?
¿En una escala de 1 a 10, cuan “cool” eres?
¿Qué te hace reír?
Humor con mis compañeros
¿Qué te hace enojar?
La deslealtad y el mal trato
¿El cliente siempre tiene la razón?
No, pero no tiene por qué saberlo 🙂
¿Cuánto tiempo te toma estar listo en la mañana antes de un tour?
¿Comida que menos te gusta?
Mariscos con yodo
¿Qué es mejor para ser guía, la experiencia o un diploma?
Definitivamente la Experiencia
Si pudieras vivir en otro lugar ¿dónde vivirías?
Donde existan volcanes activos
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta y lo que menos te gusta de tu trabajo como guía?
El contacto con la naturaleza y conocer gente nueva; la fragilidad económica de nuestro trabajo
Si ganaras 1 millón de dólares ¿qué comprarías?
Tierras y un buen viaje junto a mis queridos.
¿Dónde estarás en 3 años?
Probablemente en el mismo lugar igual de feliz
FRANCISCO DUATH, 5 años guiando en Amity Tours
Juan Francisco, el más joven de nuestros guías y el último en integrarse al equipo, lo conocimos cuando tenía 23 años en Huilo-Huilo y supimos en ese mismo momento que tenía el ADN que Amity Tours busca en sus guías.
Trail-runner por excelencia (o por su costumbre de andar por los cerros de Neltume), fue invitado a correr a una de las principales pruebas de esa modalidad en Santiago, lugar donde había estado pocas veces, y considerado un principiante aún, se corono campeón, todo gracias a su determinación por superarse. Allí la prensa especializada lo bautizó como el “bagual de Neltume”.
En los tours que Francisco va de guía, los viajeros siempre le toman un gran cariño, por su carisma, humildad y gran capacidad física.
Su principal preocupación es su comunidad, en especial los niños de Neltume, por esto lidera el proyecto Bagualito Bike Park donde dedica su tiempo a enseñar a los niños locales sobre la importancia del deporte, el mountain bike y la determinación para salir adelante en la vida.
For us at Amity Tours, a luxury nature tour is all about the experience, the disconnection and the unique feeling of freedom in a trip throughout Chile.
We’d love to share with you our definition of luxury!
The philosophy of Amity Tours
First of all, we are proud to call ourselves a boutique adventure tour operator from Chile, where luxury nature tours are our standard.
At Amity Tours, we are all fanatics for new adventures. Our guides are living in a constant adventurous state, showing and sharing the most beautiful places of Chile to our fellow travelers. Our drivers are always on the move, they can’t stand still and love to explore new places on our scouting trips. Likewise, the whole office team spends its free time in a national park, or on a camp ground together with friends and family.
That is why one of the main cornerstones of our philosophy is ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we define “adventure” as an experience where culture and nature are the main elements.
As George Morgan-Grenville once said: “Luxury travel today is defined less by thread count and Michelin stars and more by access to the people, places and experiences that represent all that is authentic about a destination. There’s no denying that comfort factors still apply and high standards of accommodation and dining will always feature on the luxury traveler’s wish list. However, today’s luxury traveler seeks more depth of understanding and immersion into local culture than ever before. People don’t just want to see – they want to participate. The sales process is also critical and whilst the online proposition can be an asset in terms of booking more simple arrangements, clients looking for luxury experiential travel require a deep level of sophisticated knowledge and confidence during the sales process.”
There is no better way in explaining our definition of luxury tours at Amity.
We definitely do not support luxury tourism without considering the impact it might have for the natural environment. Luxury tourism should never compromise nature, such as helicopter trips over national parks or high speed boat trips on pristine lakes.
To us, comfort doesn’t come in a “heli”. The negative impact of these kind of exclusive adventures for the wildlife is huge. There are many case studies, which prove the negative impact of helicopter flights for the natural surroundings. That is why we don’t think it is worth enjoying a short flight in a fragile environment while there are so many other great ways of connection to special places in the world.
We think that the real luxury on an adventure trip are the unforgettable experiences we make during the voyage. Experiences, which will leave a mark in our memories – as we learn more about a local place and culture.
Here are the luxury moments you can find during our nature trips in Chile:
Reaching natural thermal hot springs after a great cycling day over green rolling hills with the view of three volcanoes. No better luxury moment than relaxing our tired muscles in the thermal waters and listening to the sound of the cold river next to us. Check out this and much more unforgettable experiences in our bike tours.
Getting to a pristine beach after hiking through a thousand-year-old forests together with local indigenous guides. After the challenging hike in an almost unknown trail, a friendly local family is waiting for you in their typical housing, and offering freshly seafood – from the sea directly to the table. Interested in their ancestral seafood gathering? Join them during an afternoon on their simple wooden boats.
Enjoying a private Yoga session in Atacama, the World’s driest desert, with a professional instructor. After a mystical highlands tour that includes hiking around geysers, we will get back to our very special accommodation. Here we can enjoy a deep connection with the nature and our spirit. This unique Yoga session is one of the many highlights of our Bike and Hike Women Tour in the Atacama Desert.
Have you ever dreamed about Backcountry Skiing on an active volcano? When traveling with Amity Tours, you get the opportunity to spot lava after a challenging climb and then enjoy the unforgettable off-piste downhill skiing. A real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Having a private Polo field, an exclusive lake front Lodge and stables full of polo horses to choose from. Santa Amalia Ranch is one of the most exclusive polo getaways in Southern Chile. It is situated next to the pristine Lake Colico, and immersed in the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve.
Ready for an exclusive luxury experience?
Learning how to make an ancestral recipe from a famous Mapuche chef, while collecting the ingredients as we hike in the forest.
Embarking with local fisherman to birdwatching among the sunken forest in Chiloe Island. Feel the untouched nature and listen to the singing of the native birds. Our Conservation Tour is full of magical moments.
A great dose of adrenaline during the whitewater rafting on the Trancura, Fuy, and Petrohue rivers. No better way to experience the force of the water and the importance of good teamwork. We are sure that these are one of the luxury moments during our Family Adventures.
Horseback ride with panoramic views of the Paine Massif in Patagonia. A truly luxury moment for every nature lover during our Multisport Tour in Patagonia.
In all of our luxury nature tours in Chile you will experience several “wow” moments.
Our bespoke team of travel designers are experts in curating the best tailor-made luxury travel experience for you. We know how to surprise you with details that make the difference.
What about a cold local brewed beer under an ancient Araucaria tree after an Andes climb?
Or what about a five-star picnic after an unforgettable mountain bike descent on an active volcano?
Or a Chilean folk-dance lesson in bicycle jerseys just because we passed by a traditional trade fair with live music?
We are not only trying to minimize our negative impacts. We even maximize benefits to the environment and local community through different practices such as:
Being part of the expert team while creating the first UNESCO Geopark in Chile, Kütralkura (Rock of Fire, in native language).
Implementing sustainable tourism practices for the local indigenous communities in Chile.
All this is part of our Responsible Travel Policy, which is defined as following:
We believe and work in the universal standards put forth by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (Based on the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism), and we adopted the criteria specifically in these four areas:
Demonstrating effective sustainable management
Maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community and minimizing negative impacts
Maximizing benefits to cultural heritage and minimizing negative impacts
Maximizing benefits to the environment and minimizing negative impacts
En Amity Tours estamos conscientes de la relevancia que tiene el servicio de alojamiento en la evaluación de la experiencia por parte de nuestros clientes. Por lo que, durante nuestros 17 años de vida como tour operador, hemos profundizado nuestras relaciones comerciales con los mejores alojamientos en Chile y en el destino Lagos y Volcanes.
¿ Cómo seleccionamos los alojamientos en nuestras experiencias de viaje ?
La selección de hoteles y lodges no es un proceso fácil en Amity Tours. En jerga chilena, seguramente entramos en el grupo de “tour operadores mañosos” ya que no nos conformamos con sólo entrar y observar que sus habitaciones, baños y lobby estén limpios y con una estética adecuada. O bien quedarnos una noche y verificar que el desayuno y la atención de su personal son buenos. Ni menos que nos dan una buena “tarifa” y comercialmente es conveniente. Para Amity Tours, todos los detalles que puedan incidir en la experiencia de nuestros clientes importan, desde lo más trivial hasta lo más complejo, desde lo más tangible a lo más intangible asociado. Por ejemplo, a las emociones que cada cliente pueda sentir durante su estadía.
Dentro de los intangibles, uno de los temas más importante y que ha tomado mucha relevancia para nosotros en la última década, es la relación del alojamiento con el ecosistema, natural y social, donde se emplaza (para más detalle pueden ver nuestra política de “Zero Waste” y nuestro “Climate Emergency Plan”). Desde su relación con la comunidad local, el aporte a las economías locales a través del uso de productos generados por las mismas comunidades, y sin duda por su nivel de compromiso frente a los temas que afectan el medio natural y su manera de gestionarlos, hoy resultan fundamentales, ya que forman parte de la experiencia que viven nuestros pasajeros y son transmitidos, desde las emociones vividas, a nosotros cada vez que obtenemos el feedback de ellos al final de cada tour.
Según los testimonios de nuestros clientes, el Top 4 de alojamientos del destino Lagos y Volcanes que han superado sus expectativas, tanto por su nivel de servicio, emplazamiento y las emociones que les ha generado hospedarse allí son:
Santa Amalia Polo Ranch – Lago Colico, La Araucanía
Santa Amalia Polo Ranch es uno de los lugares más exclusivos del sur de Chile. Está situado en el prístino lago Colico, donde aún no se permite el uso de embarcaciones con motores diesel y está inmerso en la Reserva de la Biosfera Araucarias.
Amity Tours viene trabajando con Santa Amalia hace años, desde que se acercaron a nosotros para transformar esta hermosa vivienda familiar en un lodge – “ranch” para la actividad del polo y el descanso al más alto nivel. La confianza mutua ha generado un contrato de exclusividad para grupos de pasajeros de Amity Tours.
Cada detalle del lugar y el servicio entregado, es gestionado por la familia propietaria con Felipe y Catalina a la cabeza, y que a su vez cumplen la función de anfitriones, lo que genera un sentimiento especial entre nuestros pasajeros.
Santa Amalia Polo Ranch se incluye en nuestros principales productos de Hiking, Multisport y Family Tours, y sin duda será la estrella para todos los programas que hemos desarrollado para clientes privados para el evento estelar de este año 2020, el Eclipse Solar Total en el mes de diciembre.
Corralco Hotel & Spa – Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello, La Araucanía
Rodeado de antiguos bosques de araucarias, el hotel cuenta con 54 habitaciones exclusivas y espacios confortables que invitan a admirar el paisaje. En Corralco Hotel & Spa puedes contemplar la naturaleza desde casi cualquiera de sus instalaciones, incluso desde su Spa con piscina climatizada, desde su bar y su restaurante, el cual mezcla la cocina moderna con las recetas de la gastronomía local.
En los años cuando Amity Tours desarrolló sus primeros tours de Ski, que hasta hoy disfrutamos de poder operarlos, Corralco (sin Spa por supuesto) era un simple y encantador refugio de montaña en las faldas de un volcán con capacidad para 20 personas, y una cafetería de simple diseño que invitaba a sus pasajeros a juntarse a contar sus días de aventuras en ski… de eso ya han pasado ¡17 años!
Hoy Amity Tours es el principal operador de Corralco Hotel & Spa. Parada casi obligada para todos nuestros tours de ambas temporadas, invierno y primavera – verano, es un spot fundamental para nuestros tours de ski y mountain bike.
Futangue Hotel & Spa – Reserva Natural Privada, Lago Ranco, Los Ríos
“El descanso perfecto en un paraíso escondido de la Patagonia Norte”, esto se puede leer en la descripción expuesta en sus catálogos, y nosotros lo hemos comprobado cada temporada desde que abrió hace algunos años.
Nuestra historia con este hotel está llena de anécdotas. Cuando nos enteramos que toda la cuenca del Lago Ranco había sido asfaltada, comenzamos a buscar alojamientos que cumplieran con las cualidades que buscamos en un hotel, y no nos fue fácil. Después de pedalear con nuestros clientes desde Futrono a Lago Ranco, teníamos que subir a la van y continuar el viaje a Osorno o Puerta Varas, era matador.
Pero un día nos enteramos que se había abierto un parque privado cuya naturaleza era alucinante. Y así llegamos a Futangue y conocimos a Matías, su dueño y gerente quien nos llevó a conocer la reserva sin preguntarnos nada. Ahí nos enteramos que estaba construyendo un hotel y al ir a ver la faena nos dimos cuenta que sería perfecto para nuestros planes.
Hoy, al igual que en otros alojamientos, Amity Tours es el principal tour operador de Futangue Hotel & Spa, llevando cientos de pasajeros al año, en su mayoría extranjeros que vienen a disfrutar de nuestros productos de Bike Tours (de ruta y mountain bike) y Family Tours, encontrando en su reserva natural un parque de diversiones para los amantes de la naturaleza y conservación de los ecosistemas del sur de Chile.
En su arquitectura destacan las maderas nativas que lo hacen fundirse con el entorno natural, asimilando los clásicos galpones y caballerizas del sur de Chile. La decoración usa telas étnicas, coloridos textiles inspirados en artistas nacionales y objetos provenientes de la cultura Mapuche. Las tradiciones locales y el legado natural de la zona se ven reflejados en cada esquina y detalle.
Hoy cuenta con 16 habitaciones, y desde la próxima temporada se le sumarán 10 cómodas habitaciones en su nueva Casa Exploradores, a pocos pasos del hotel.
Hotel Awa – Lago Llanquihue, Puerto Varas, Los Lagos
AWA se encuentra en las cercanías de Puerto Varas, literalmente encima de la primera ruta escénica de Chile y primer destino “bike friendly”. De gestión familiar e independiente, el carisma de sus propietarios, de profesión arquitectos, se plasma en cada rincón de este soñado alojamiento.
Una casualidad nos llevó a conocer este hotel. Como recorremos frecuentemente en bicicleta la cuenca del Llanquihue, ya llevábamos un tiempo viendo la construcción de algo espectacular junto al lago, pero no teníamos claro qué era. Hasta que un día la curiosidad pudo más y pasamos a ver e intrusear. Fue ahí que nos enteramos que este edificio moderno y estiloso era un hotel y que su apertura era el día siguiente. Con esa suerte, nos mostraron todo y nos dejaron invitados a la inauguración.
Rodeado de parques nacionales y volcanes a orillas del gran lago Llanquihue y a menos de una hora del aeropuerto de Puerto Montt, su emplazamiento es estratégico y se transforma en un importante polo de operaciones para Amity Tour cada vez que tenemos un bike tour dando vueltas por el destino Lagos y Volcanes.
Una de las cosas que destacan más de su arquitectura, son que todas las habitaciones tienen una vista privilegiada del lago Llanquihue y el volcán Osorno, y todas tienen estas ventanas que van desde el suelo hasta el techo, literalmente metros y metros de ventanas!
Cuentan con fuertes políticas ambientales y trabajan activamente con la comunidad. Un ejemplo de esto es su trabajo con colegios locales que poseen formación técnica, quienes acceden todos los años para hacer sus prácticas profesionales en AWA, facilitándoles así su futuro desarrollo como profesionales de la industria turística nacional e internacional.
En paralelo, desde el año 2017 trabajan en los protocolos para transformarse en una Empresa B, una de las pocas a nivel nacional en el ámbito de la hotelero.
¿Te gustaron estos hoteles? Los podrás conocer y disfrutar en muchos de los tours de Amity. Esperamos verte pronto!
In Amity Tours, we can’t stand still. We’ve just designed a complete new section with tours only for women. The first published hiking trip brings us through the beautiful Lake and Volcano District.
We will visit interesting local women, learn about their culture, history and daily life. Like in any travel experience designed by Amity Tours, there is a lot of adventure and adrenaline packed in this program.
Learn more about our promises for a unforgettable holiday experience. As well as our protocols for a safe trip during this difficult global situation with COVID-19.
8 reasons why choosing Amity Tours for your next adventure
Personalized and high-quality tourism. We make sure before, during and after your trip, that the travel experience with us is unique and authentic. You are our number one priority! From the moment you get in touch with us, until you safely make your way back home.
Safety. Nowadays, safety is crucial, and especially regarding the health area. As a local tour operator, we’ve adopted all the protocols issued by the local authority for the industry of tourism. In addition, we also closely follow the guidelines for health and safe practices generated by the Adventure Travel Trade Association for the active tourism businesses to safely operate.
Professional and expert team. Our team of collaborators on the field is one of our biggest assets as a company. In addition to have a huge knowledge of the local fauna and flora, our guides have decades of experience in the wilderness such as mountains and rivers. They are also trained for first-aid assistance, with the Wilderness First Responder course.
Small groups. In Amity, we’ve never operated our travel experiences with big groups. We’ve always focused on small groups of travelers, in which the interaction between the guide and the guest is richer. Thus, it generates a unique experience, ideally for families or groups of friends that require spaces for encounters.
High standard of accommodation. We have developed our travel experiences with accommodations that meet excellent quality and health standards, and are strategically located in each and every visited area. We understand that travelling is not only about the excursions, but also the comfort of the hotel after an active day spent in nature.
Connection with nature. The Amity team is 100% composed of nature lovers. We’ll make sure you see, feel and discover the best of it during your visit.
Local culture. ATAmity, you’ll see and experience the true Chilean culture. Also, you’ll have the incredible opportunity to share and learn more about the indigenous communities that inhabit our country, in an authentic way.
Fuel the local economy. All the products that you will consume during your trip are made by local entrepreneurs. Thus, when travelling, you help with contributing to the local economy.
Discover Southern Chile with a group of female travelers
During the last few months, we’ve been designing new travel products especially for all the adventurous women on the Globe. Our first women tour will be in Southern Chile, during which you’ll have the opportunity to explore the best hidden corners from the Conguillio National Park, to all the way down to Puerto Varas.
This brand new trip designed by women for women is the perfect match combining active adventure and relaxing atmosphere. There is nothing better than stretching your muscles in a hot tub after a day of hiking in the beautiful Conguillio National Park. During this trip, we make sure that you get exactly these great combinations.
Women Tour Highlights
At the beginning we will spend two nights in the first Ecolodge of Chile: La Baita Conguillio. Isabel, the owner of the lodge, will be waiting for us with a typical Pisco Sour, a tasty drink made out of the famous Chilean licor Pisco. We will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of this place and her experiences as a female leader. Furthermore, we will show you one of the beautiful spots near the lodge, before enjoying a well-deserved sleep in the cosy rooms.
The Conguillio National Park is known worldwide for its abundant natural beauty full of ancient Araucaria trees, crystal-clear lakes and perfectly cone-shaped and active volcanoes. During a full day of hiking, we will enjoy this incredible landscape before finishing the day with a relaxing hot tub under the open sky.
The next destination of this trip takes us to Pucón, Chile’s capital of adventure tourism. This nice little quaint town with its small shops, restaurants and cafés is the perfect location for a break and some urban feelings.
Every effort has its reward
We will then have to prepare for a very special excursion: climbing the Villarrica volcano. A true once-in-a-lifetime experience as you reach the top of the active volcano in Chile with its open crater. If we are lucky, we will even spot some lava, and we will enjoy for sure the panoramic view over the different volcanoes, lakes, mountains, hills and valleys around. The most fun part of the day ? Sliding on our rear ends the snow down to the base of the volcano.
Tourism as women empowerment
While in Pucón, we will meet other friendly and local entrepreneur women. They will show us the native forest of the area, from a culinary and indigenous perspective. After a nice walk through the forest, we will have enough plants and fruits recollected to accompany a great lunch under huge trees. Afterwards, we will jump on an inflatable boat to raft the Trancura River. Finally, at night, we will have a special cultural encounter with a local Mapuche family. They will be waiting for us, to share some of their ancestral traditions while having a typical dinner in their “Ruka” (house).
For our last day around the Villarrica volcano, we won’t miss the opportunity to visit a magical place. Taking advantage of the unique volcanic activity of the region, we will combine this active day with a deep bath in natural thermal hot springs. This place offers the perfect combination between thermal facilities and natural surroundings. Located in the environs of the Villarrica National Park, the Geometricas hot springs offer 16 strategically-located thermal pools, allowing the visitors to never feel overcrowded. The natural surroundings are exuberant and the facilities are simple but very cozy.
Relaxing hours and yoga
Our trip continues with us going South, towards the quaint city of Puerto Varas, located at the shores of Llanquihue Lake. We’ll have the chance to meet a professional yoga instructor. She will teach us some yoga lessons and give an insight of living in Chile as a foreign woman. Finally, our last full day will invite us to explore the beautiful area around the Osorno Volcano. We’ll hear an interesting story about the volcano and the legend of princess Licarayén. She is without any doubt one of the most famous women in the Mapuche folk tales.
Before leaving the amazing Lake and Volcano District, we will enjoy a nice morning yoga session. Afterwards we will get some time to explore the cosy town of Puerto Varas.
We are sure, this tour will fill you with adrenaline, positive energy and women empowerment!
Last, but not least, we would like to let you know about our commitment for a safe operation during all tours. Without any doubt, the world is facing a difficult time with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is affecting our daily life and traveling plans. At Amity Tours quality and safety are what define us. That is why we are making sure that not only us, but also all our local partners and suppliers walk in hand with us to apply new safety standards. That is how we will be able to best adapt to the post-coronavirus industry.
We have been working hard in order to be ready for the re-opening of borders and operations post Covid. We feel blessed and privileged to be living in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, a remote but safe area, with good health centers very close by.
We are aware that planning ahead your next trip to Chile might be difficult in these extraordinary times. Rest assured, as we have updated our booking policies. This will allow you to purchase safely your next vacations. We have removed all none-refundable booking fees. All our rates have been locked-in until 2022. If you make a deposit and cannot travel, you can always use that money as a credit with us and use it within the next 24 months.
We are very confident that we will someday soon be sharing all together again.
In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and stay tuned for the best travel adventures in southern Chile
¿Dónde tendrá lugar el fenómeno del Eclipse solar total?
Chile es el lugar perfecto para observar las estrellas. Sin ir más lejos, es en nuestro país dónde los países líderes en temas de astronomía han establecido sus inversiones estratégicas para no perder la carrera por descubrir qué nos depara el Universo.
La carrera se inició, y no parece terminar en las décadas que vienen.
Sin embargo, el 14 de diciembre de 2020, el foco no estará en las estrellas, sino en el eclipse solar total. Fenómeno que, en Julio 2019, asombró a todos quienes tuvimos la suerte de observarlo. También, tuvo lugar en territorio chileno, pero mucho más al norte.
En este día especial, Pucón será el centro de atención. El evento solar durará 2 horas y 50 minutos. El eclipse comenzará a las 11:41 a.m. A las 1:04 p.m, la oscuridad será total. Durante 3 horas, las emociones aflorarán en nosotros, y recordaremos este momento por siempre.
Nuestra propuesta de Experiencia Eclipse Solar en la Araucanía Lacustre es súper exclusiva. Ideal para familias aventureras, con un máximo de 24 huéspedes para hacer la observación del fenómeno astronómico. Tienen una duración de 5 días de estadía entre el 11 y 15 de Diciembre 2020.
Además, este fenómeno es muy especial. Pues ocurre 884 años después de un evento astronómico similar en el área. En palabras más simples, nosotros, nuestros hijos, nietos, y quienes los seguirán, no disfrutarán un evento similar en el destino Lagos & Volcanes.
Ahora bien, no todo será observar el cielo. Debido a que estaremos en un territorio de gran riqueza cultural, con predominio de la gran cultura mapuche. Es más, este pueblo originario sabio nos tiene mucho que enseñar y decir. En especial respecto a este y otros fenómenos astronómicos, y que gran parte de nosotros desconocemos.
La cosmovisión mapuche, contada por ellos mismos, quienes son los protagonistas principales, generará una experiencia única.
Significado de un eclipse solar en la cosmovisión mapuche
Muchos siglos antes de la astronomía moderna y sus sofisticados telescopios, los mapuche ya estaban relacionados con el cosmos. Siempre ha sido una herramienta importante para predecir el clima y las influencias en la tierra.
En Mapudungun, el idioma nativo de los mapuche, un eclipse solar total se llama “lai antü” o “lan antü”, que significa “muerte del sol”. También, este fenómeno se conoce como “malonji ta antü” (vinieron para cubrir el sol o atacar al sol) o “zumiñii antü” (el sol se oscureció). Este evento se espera con respeto, pues el sol representa la forma de entender el tiempo. El “lai antü” tiene un fuerte contenido. Por lo tanto, designar la muerte del sol implica la suspensión del tiempo, un cambio de ciclo para la estrella, un cambio en el proceso.
Un eclipse parcial generalmente significa un buen año para la comunidad. Sin embargo, un eclipse total es un mal augurio para la humanidad. De hecho, incluye hasta la posible muerte de un querido y respetado jefe.
Todo este relato, que sin duda contienen una serie de significados totalmente distintos a quienes no pertenecemos a este pueblo mapuche, es contado por sus protagonistas, dejando siempre la oportunidad de debatir de manera cordial con quienes nos reciben en su tierra.
A pesar de la interpretación negativa del evento por parte de los mapuches, en la cultura occidental este fenómeno natural es una experiencia única en la vida. Además de ser la capital del turismo de aventura en Chile, Pucón será el afortunado anfitrión del eclipse solar total 2020.
Recomendaciones de seguridad durante el eclipse
No mire directamente al sol sin los anteojos de eclipse adecuados (certificado ISO 12312-2)
No apunte al sol con su cámara, teléfono o binoculares, esto puede dañar la vista de manera permanente.
Los niños deben ser supervisados por un adulto durante todo el evento.
Pre y post opciones de viaje alrededor de Pucón
No pierdas la oportunidad de conocer las mejores opciones de viaje en Pucón y la Araucanía Lacustre. Descubra nuestras mejores experiencias de viaje. Son especialmente diseñadas para amantes activos de la naturaleza, ideales para familias que buscan un escape tranquilo a la vida a toda velocidad que llevamos en la ciudad.
¡Contáctenos para cualquier solicitud grupal o programa a medida!
Descubre las mejores caminatas del destino Lagos y Volcanes de Chile
Si eres un ávido excursionista, amante de la naturaleza o alguien que busca paisajes increíbles, aquí hay una lista de las mejores caminatas que puedes encontrar en el destino Lagos y Volcanes de Chile!
El Cráter Navidad es un cono piroclástico del volcán Lonquimay ubicado en la Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello. Se formó durante la erupción volcánica del 25 de diciembre de 1988. Alcanza una altura de 190 metros desde su base. Su visita permite, de manera fácil, introducirse al maravilloso mundo de la vulcanología en el extremo sur del planeta.
La caminata al cráter no es técnica. Sin embargo, necesita equipo de montaña para escalarlo en invierno ya que está cubierto de nieve. Siempre se recomienda hacerlo con el apoyo de guías con conocimiento de la zona y experiencia en caminatas sobre nieve y hielo. Por su parte en verano (de noviembre a principios de abril), no se requiere ningún equipo de montaña o de otro tipo.
En cuanto a la dificultad, el tiempo de caminata es relativamente corto. Toma entre 2 y 4 horas (ida y vuelta), dependiendo de su ritmo de caminata. Por lo tanto, es ideal para familias con niños pequeños. O personas con poca experiencia en senderismo que quieran maravillarse con los atractivos de esta zona.
Desde la cima del Cráter Navidad, puede disfrutar de una vista panorámica sobre las estribaciones del volcán Lonquimay. Además del campo de lava, se extienden los bosques de Araucarias, junto con la vista sobre los volcanes Tolhuaca y Callaqui.
Caminata al Cerro Coloradito – Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello
El sendero Coloradito es ubicado en la Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello. Es un lugar conformado por procesos tectónicos y volcánicos con una fauna y flora interesante y endémica.
De hecho, Este sendero es una buena alternativa con paisajes típicos de la cordillera de los Andes bajo la siempre atenta mirada del volcán Lonquimay.
A lo largo del camino, pasarás por bosques de árboles endémicos como la Araucaria y Lenga rodeados por la vegetación del suelo con predominio de árboles de michay, quila y viola.
Llamado “El Coloradito”, es un acceso único al Volcán Lonquimay que termina cerca del río Coloradito. El paisaje está dominado por la presencia del Volcán Lonquimay y la Sierra del Colorado. Durante la caminata, puede observar el Volcán Llaima y la Cordillera de la Sierra Nevada.
Caminata por la Sierra Nevada – Parque Nacional Conguillio
El Parque Nacional Conguillio es uno de los lugares más destacados que Chile tiene para ofrecer. Con el impresionante Volcán Llaima, la Sierra Nevada, lagunas en todos sus rincones, bosques de Araucarias, fauna y flora endémicas, es una visita obligada para todos los que quieran visitar el destino Lagos y Volcanes.
El parque nacional tiene una gran variedad de senderos, pero sin lugar a dudas, la caminata por la Sierra Nevada es la más accesible y ofrece una gama amplia de paisajes, suficiente para tener una buena idea de la riqueza natural existente en la región.
El sendero de la Sierra Nevada comienza desde una de las playas más bellas del lago Conguillio, pasa a través de un espectacular bosque endémico con varios miradores frente al lago en el camino. Después de 3 horas, el sendero alcanza un mirador despejado y fuera del bosque, frente al Volcán Llaima y el Lago Conguillío.
La caminata no es técnica, pero requiere un mínimo de buen estado físico ya que el camino a veces puede ser empinado. En invierno, el sendero está cubierto de nieve, lo que requiere equipo de montaña y una buena experiencia en senderismo.
Esta caminata de 10 kilómetros de largo se recomienda para personas activas.
Caminata a las lagunas andinas – Parque Nacional Villarrica
Cerca de la frontera con Argentina, y ubicado en las faldas del volcán Lanín, este sendero llamado “Lagos Andinos” es una visita obligada en el Parque Nacional Villarrica.
Durante esta increíble caminata, ideal para familias, visitarás 3 lagunas en un gran bosque endémico con árboles de Coihues y Araucarias, y terminarás en un paisaje volcánico dominado por el majestuoso volcán Lanín.
La caminata comienza a orillas de la laguna de Quillelhue a 1200 metros sobre el nivel del mar. Después de 40 minutos de caminata en un terreno plano, llegarás a la laguna de Huinfiuca, el lugar perfecto para hacer un picnic.
Mientras visita el parque, será testigo de cómo el volcán Lanin ha moldeado permanentemente el paisaje de la zona con sus erupciones y tendrá la fantástica oportunidad de ver y caminar sobre los flujos de lava que una vez vinieron del corazón de la Tierra. También visitarás los prístinos lagos Quillelhue, Escondido y Huinfiuca con sus aguas cristalinas que reflejan colores deslumbrantes.
La caminata no es técnica y solo requiere un mínimo de buen estado físico para poder disfrutar al máximo lo que nos brinda este maravilloso parque nacional.
Parque Nacional Huerquehue
El Parque Nacional Huerquehue está ubicado en las faldas de los Andes, a 35 km (22 millas) de Pucón. El parque cubre 12.500 hectáreas (30.890 acres) con varias lagunas, vegetación densa y árboles gigantes que son el hábitat de varias aves endémicas.
La caminata, llamada “Sendero Los Lagos” comienza fácil. Después de una corta distancia, el sendero se vuelve más duro y a veces más empinado. Sin embargo se considera un nivel de caminata relativamente fácil. Eso hace que sea popular entre los habitantes de la zona y familias que visitán Pucón y sus alrededores.
De camino a los lagos, verás la cascada Nido de Aguilas antes de que el terreno se vuelva más empinado, rodeado de gigantes Coigües y Mañíos.
Desde el primer mirador podrás apreciar las vistas del Volcán Villarrica (2.847 m / 9.349 pies) y el Lago Tinquilco, que son absolutamente impresionantes. Aquí, encontrarás excelentes oportunidades para tomar fotos y la oportunidad de revitalizarte con la comida que llevas. Recuerda que debes traer toda la basura que tengas y nunca debes alimentar a los curiosos animales!
Si tiene suerte, puede observar algunas aves que viven en los bosques de Nothofagus, como el chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula), el huet-huet de garganta negra (Pteroptochos tarnii) y el pájaro carpintero magallánico (Campephilus magellanicus), entre otros.
Una vez que pasas las cataratas de Trufulco, la caminata se vuelve un poco más exigente. Una vez que estés a más de 1000 metros sobre el nivel del mar, verás los primeros árboles de Araucarias. Luego, caminarás por un bosque mixto antes de llegar al primer lago llamado Lago Chico. Se caracteriza por sus aguas cristalinas que reflejan la imagen de cientos de Araucarias y los picos nevados de los alrededores.
Después de visitar los diferentes lagos, puede comenzar la vuelta y caminar de regreso a la entrada del parque.
Reserva El Cañi
La Reserva El Cañi se encuentra aproximadamente a 21 kilómetros de Pucón. Esta reserva privada de 200 hectáreas se comprometió con la preservación de la especie arbórea Araucaria Araucania.
Esta caminata, aunque no es técnica, requiere una buena condición física general, ya que estarás caminando constantemente en un terreno empinado hasta la llegada el último mirador. Comienza con approx. 1,5 kilómetros de terreno plano, y desde allí comenzará la fuerte subida por 3 kilómetros más.
Luego llegará al Refugio Aserradero (1000 metros sobre el nivel del mar). Es la entrada de la reserva, con las primeras vistas panorámicas sobre el valle y la flora. Pasarás por la laguna de Las Totoras, la laguna Negra rodeada por los milenarios árboles de Araucaria, Lengua y Coihue.
El camino final sube hasta llegar al del sendero, su recompensa. Tendrás una vista panorámica de 360 ° sobre 4 volcanes, dos lagos y los valles alrededor de la Reserva.
Además, puedes caminar por un pequeño sendero que comienza en la Laguna negra y te lleva a 6 lagunas más.
Ascenso al Volcán Villarrica
Sin duda, el ascenso al Volcán Villarrica (2800 metros) es una actividad obligada si planea visitar Pucón. Es uno de los volcanes más activos de América del Sur. La subida a su cráter abierto es definitivamente una experiencia única en la vida.
La aventura temprano, a las 06:00 am approximadatamente. Primero, se llega en vehículo al centro de esquí ubicado a 1.300 metros. Luego, se pone el equipo de montaña cual uso es obligatorio. La caminata comienza con 2 opciones: usar el telesilla, o comenzar a caminar de inmediato.
Dependiendo de su ritmo de caminata, le tomará aproximadamente 4 a 5 horas para llegar al cráter abierto. A partir de ahí, tendrás una increíble vista panorámica de 360 ° sobre volcanes, lagos, montañas y valles alrededor.
El descenso consiste en deslizarse hacia abajo hasta la base del Volcán. Dura aproximadamente 2 hora hasta la base. Al llegar, los esperarán para regresar a Pucón para un merecido descanso.
Esta caminata está regulada por el Municipio de Pucón. Por ende, sólo pueden acceder contratando los servicios de empresas registradas para realizarla.
Caminata al glaciar Pichillancahue – Parque Nacional Villarrica
La caminata a Pichillancahue no es muy famosa, pero seguramente te dejará sin aliento por su paisaje. Esta es una caminata adecuada para todos los que buscan conexión con la naturaleza, desde niños hasta adultos mayores.
Este glaciar está ubicado en el Parque Nacional Villarrica, por el lado del poblado de Coñaripe. Podrás ver varios majestuosos volcanes nevados como Quetrupillán y Rucapillán. La vegetación cambia de bosques de Raulí y Hualle a Araucarias a medida que asciende a Chinay. El punto más alto del día está a 1.250 metros de altitud.
Después de aproximadamente 1,5 horas de caminata, llegarás al sendero del glaciar Pichillancahue. Un buen lugar para relajarse y comer un buen refrigerio para recargar energía si es necesario. El resto del sendero (3.5 horas de ida y vuelta) conduce a un glaciar fenomenal cubierto por cenizas volcánicas negras. Una vez más, podrás disfrutar de las impresionantes vistas de cuatro volcanes.
Esta caminata no es técnica y no requiere ningún equipo de montaña. El mejor tiempo de caminata es durante la temporada de verano.
Visitar el destino de Lagos y Volcanes de Chile es definitivamente una visita obligada para todos los excursionistas y amantes de la naturaleza.
Amity Tours offers not just a simple trip to Chile. We make sure you learn more about the Chilean culture during all our tours. We would like to share some traditions from our friendly local team.
Active explorations in remote areas surrounded by nature will free our visitors to become part of the place. Adventure trips by Amity Tours will unfold meaningful experiences. We do enable our guests to discover and explore hidden corners, meet local communities and immerse themselves in the Chilean culture. This does reflect not only in our visits to the local indigenous communities but also in our team. You will find a true friend in our experienced and professional guides and drivers. In today’s post, we would like to introduce you to our top drivers, Orlando and Bernardo Gonzalez.
Our trips would not be possible without the fundamental collaboration of Orlando and Bernardo. These two brothers are not only our most experienced drivers, but also the hosts of our headquarters. Trouble shooters for any kind of unexpected issue before, during and after the trips, our personal mechanics and trailer builders and most important always ready for a nice chat and laugh.
Thus, both of them started working with Amity Tours in 2007 and helped our company growing during the last 13 years!
They grew up about 45 kilometers outside of Pucón, up in the mountains and far away from civilization. Surrounded by beautiful native forests and Araucarias (monkey puzzle tree). The school was located 12 kilometers away from their house. By foot or horseback, was the only way to get there. So, they spent the whole week down in the school and only got home on the weekends.
Bernardo is not only a very experienced and safe driver. But he also loves riding bicycles. During our spectacular road cycling trips, he helps out whenever there is a mechanical problem. He also jumps on a bike to accompany our clients whenever possible.
The most fun part for him on the trips is the cultural night. We try to involve a nice evening with great local artists, where we show our traditional music and dance to our guests. This is where Bernardo presents his talent for music.
La Cueca – the chilean traditional dance
In 1979, la cueca was adopted as the national dance of Chile. Its presence can be recognized throughout the national territory, varying the choreographic and musical form according to the geographical area in which it is interpreted. But always preserving a common pattern that makes it a unique and differentiated dance;
The huaso (Chilean cowboy) advances towards the girl he likes the most and offers her his arm. She gets up, accompanying him in a short walk along the hall. The initial steps are very measured, calm, hesitant. The tissue move smoothly and, suggesting the insinuating twist of the Cueca, the huaso chases the fleeing woman, and using the tissue as if it were a soft loop, surrounds her without touching and brings his tissue to her side.
At the end, the huaso begins the shoe-tapping and usually looks like a skills competition with itself until the last lap and the hug and knee land.
In the countryside of southern Chile, the traditional dresses to dance the cueca are the peasant or country dress. The lady uses floral dresses with a petticoat underneath to expand the dresses and see them in broad form, shoes with heels. The man wears trousers sleeved up to the knee, straw hat, shirt and a blanket of red, blue, white colors.
Bernardo mentioned that exactly these very unique dress codes are making the dance a real spectacle! “Otra cosa es con guitarra”. (chilean slang which in this context would mean: there is no comparison between a dance in a normal dress or dance in the traditional cueca dress)
Let’s focus on another particularity of the Chilean culture.
You can definitely fill a whole book about Chilean slangs and their meanings. Because of that, most foreigners coming to Chile struggle trying to understand the locals, especially at the beginning! It is part of the chilean traditions, using lots of particular slangs and words while talking. Every region has its particularity, in southern Chile for example people use to talk very fast and kind of sing their words.
Would you like to learn some slangs to survive in the Chilean jungle?
Bernardos favorite one is: Güatita llena – Corazón contento. = Belly full – heart happy. Which means enjoying a nice meal makes you happy.
A word Orlando think is very typical in Chile is: Pucha! = Oops!
Furthermore, some other slangs and words that may interest you traveling to Chile:
Andar a lo gringo: Not to wear underwear. (We ask ourselves: Do a lot of Americans go around not wearing underwear, or is this just a cultural stereotype?)
Now, you should be prepared for your next trip to our country. That is why our two top drivers would like to invite you to another Chilean custom – join a typical barbecue with a nice cup of local wine.
The chilean wine
In Chile we are very proud about our wine production. Thus there is no household in our country without a good bottle of the delicious drink. Bernardo recommends trying the emblematic grape called Carménère.
Amity Tours has developed an amazing Wine Tour that comprehends 5 wine valleys on central area: Maipo Valley, Casablanca Valley, Aconcagua Valley, Colchagua Valley and San Antonio Valley; a unique experience not to be missed. Where you’ll understand and verify why Chilean wines have earned such many prices and great reputation worldwide.
Fully licensed and responsible tour operator
Last but not least, Bernardo and Orlando want to highlight some other reasons why they really like working at Amity Tours. We are a sustainable tour operator, fully licensed and certified and care about our local team not mattering which role they play inside the company’ structure.
During all these years, many clients, guests, friends and colleagues have asked me the same question: “How did Amity begin?“
The answer is a long story and I will share it with you in this blog.
The story goes way back to 1948. My grandfather, Hector Levy, was an adventurer and his greatest passion was exploring the mountains of Chile’s central valleys. Together, with a group of friends and the Grez Family, they organized trips to the mountains near Santiago.
Only people with a deep love for the mountain could go on these journeys, as they were not easy nor comfortable. They used adapted livestock trucks to get to the foothills of the Andes. From there, they continued by mule-back and finally hiked or skinned up the last snow-capped section until they arrived at the mountain refuge. One of these refuges was the famous Refugio Gaston Saavedra.
My grandfather was a travelling salesman. He traveled across the country in his Citroën 2CV, selling shoes made by his family’s shoe factory. In his free time, he would venture to the mountains or go on bike rides with his relatives.
At a young age, my father Alejandro started to come on these trips to the mountains. For a little kid, the trip was even harder, but getting dizzy with the winding road was not a reason to miss out on the adventure. He became close friends with the Grez family, skiing all over the mountain in La Parva, El Colorado and Farellones.
My father joined the Boy Scouts at the Jewish Center in Santiago. His exceptional athletic skills made him stand out among the other kids. Thus, he was offered to go to Israel and join a sports program, but his family objected to his going.
At the age of 18, my father was a very talented football (soccer) player, playing during his childhood at school and on the streets with neighborhood kids. In his last year of high school, he was awarded goal scorer of the inter-school football tournament.
My father studied engineering at the Universidad Tecnica de Santiago, where he met Paty, my mom. Here he once again stood out for his athleticism. While he was playing football on the university team, he was recruited to play on Chile’s National Football team (amateur division). For 5 years, he traveled in Chile and Argentina playing for the Chilean Football team and played at the qualifiers for the Olympic Games.
This is the year I was born. My father’s love for the mountain continued as he volunteered as a skiing instructor at El Colorado Ski Resort. As soon as I could walk, he took me skiing in the mountains and taught me to love and respect Nature.
My father Alejandro continued with his sports activities, joining the bicycle club of CDUC. Then in 1983, he biked from Santiago to Mendoza with the club, riding and climbing the Andes mountains from Chile to Argentina.
I followed in my father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and grew into a highly active boy, joining the swimming team at CDUC. This club became my second home during my childhood.
My father continued teaching skiing at El Colorado Ski Resort, mostly to friends and colleagues. On the weekends, I joined him as much as I could.
This year, my grandfather Hector planted the seed of entrepreneurship within me by lending me twenty dollars for a little business. He didn’t tell me what to do, only that I had to return the money. Then, with that money I went to buy candy and started selling it at school. Within a week, I sold all the candy and returned the loan to my grandfather. I remember feeling so proud of paying back my grandfather, and so I continued with the side business until my commercial activity was banned at school.
This same year, I joined the Boy Scouts movement, where I remained actively involved for a decade. In this group. I learnt the values of friendship and teamwork, and my love for the nature deepened.
I graduated from high school and almost immediately searched for a seasonal job at a local retail store (wrapping Christmas presents), so I could generate my own income and be more financially independent. My parents encouraged me to do that just as much as my grandfather did. With the money I made, I went on my first self-supported trip to Pucon. I took my brother, Jano, with me.
Later, my Boy Scouts friends joined us as they became aware of my travel plans. At the time, I never imagined that Pucon would become my home and the headquarters of my adventure travel company.
I enrolled at the SEK University in Santiago to study Tourism Planning. I didn’t totally understand the exact reasons for my decision to study tourism, but felt that this had been part of my whole life. Actually, since I was a young boy, I had always wanted to be a doctor, but it was clear that life had chosen a different path for me.
My father Alejandro moved by himself to southern Chile for a job as an engineer at a mattress plant. There, my father discovered and fell in love with the landscapes of the Lake and Volcano District.
Meanwhile, the rest of the family stayed in Santiago. My mom’s love and support was key during this year. Reinforcing her teachings about how to be kind, self-sufficient and responsible.
In the summer of 1998, my grandfather once again encouraged me to continue gaining experience in the business world and lent me 300 dollars. With this money, I opened a beachfront kiosk called La Ruka (the house) in Guanaqueros, in Northern Chile. That summer, our kiosk was awarded the sales point with the highest ice-cream sales in the region. At the end of the summer season, I paid back the loan to my grandfather and with the profits and my mom’s help, traveled to Rapa Nui, Easter Island.
My father finally felt settled in Temuco, and my mom and brothers went to live with him in southern Chile. I stayed in Santiago to finish college. This was a very hard decision for my family, but it turned out to be a great change of lifestyle.
The summer of 1999 I applied for an internship at the regional Tourism Board, SERNATUR Araucania, and just like my father did, fell in love with the nature and people of the region. I fondly remember my first visit to Conguillio National Park, where I was completely amazed by the Araucaria forest.
I graduated from University with honors and my Tourism Planning degree. Shortly thereafter, my classmate, German Pino, and I started to work as junior tourism consultants at EuroChile Foundation (German later joined Amity as partner in 2011).
This foundation specializes in promoting and consolidating economic, commercial and technological links between public and private institutions from Chile and the European Union. Tourism is one of their main pillars. Our mission there was to create and develop Chile’s first inbound ecotourism operator.
The Asian economic crisis hit Chile hard and my father lost his job at the mattress plant. Despite many attempts to find a job in his field, he couldn’t find one. My mother became the family’s primary breadwinner, working as a financial advisor at a local bank in Temuco.
I couldn’t stop worrying about my father’s situation, so I mentioned this to my boss and friend Gerd Walther. He suggested we start a tour company with my father in southern Chile, but I didn’t take him seriously. However, I told my father about my boss’s idea and he only smiled quietly.
While working at EuroChile developing the inbound ecotourism operator, we received a particular request by email: a family of four from Brazil wanted a 12-day trip to Chile with skiing lessons included. They didn’t want to visit the classic ski resorts in central Chile. Instead, they wanted to explore the small and less known ski centers located around the southern volcanoes. I immediately told my boss about this request and he didn’t hesitate to put me in charge of the request and organize the whole trip. He told me to ask my father to work as a ski instructor during the tour and run it on behalf of the company.
The month of July arrived, and my father and I went to greet the Esteves Abreu Family from Rio de Janeiro. We delivered a 2-week guided skiing trip visiting the southern volcanoes: Llaima, Lonquimay and Villarrica. The tour ended up being a total success, with Eder, Mônica, Beatriz and Eduardo learning how to ski and promising that they will return the next year for more skiing lessons. This family became Alejandro’s first client, repeating their skiing trip to Chile for the next 10 consecutive years. To this date, the Levy and Abreu families remain great friends and continue seeing each other.
It was after this first trip that Alejandro realized that he could do what he loved most and earn a living at the same time. Here, my father made an important decision, selling the family’s house in Santiago and partnering with me to create our family-owned tour company in August of 2003.
By then, I was working in Santiago on a project with a travel book writer from the USA named Pete Nelson, with the goal of writing a new edition of a Chile travel guide. Pete was a senior marketing expert who had worked for important world-wide hotel chains such as Hilton and Intercontinental. It was here that I saw an opportunity to validate a list of potential names for our tour company.
But Pete didn’t pay attention to that list and instead gave me a great piece of advice: “if you want people to find you first pick a name that starts with the letter A, and make sure anyone can easily pronounce that name no matter which country they are from”. So, I took out my pocket Spanish/English dictionary and found the word “amity”, which means friendship, friendly, concord, good vibrations. And with this meaning as a central value, we began our tour company.
Finally, as an established tour company, in September 2003 we received the first group of foreign travelers. The group consisted of seven guests from the UK coming with Phil Smith, an international all-mountain skiing instructor and director of the skiing company Snoworks.
Snoworks is one of the UK’s leading providers of all-mountain ski courses to destinations around the world. This group of British skiers represented Amity’s first business account, and remains one of the Levy family’s favorite and dear clients.