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

gravel cycling people

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

Introduction

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

Why Gravel Biking in Chile?

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

Exploring the Lake and Volcano District

Day 1-2: Santiago to Pucon

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

Day 3-5: Conguillio National Park

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

Day 6-7: Kutralkura Geopark and Araucanía Region

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

Day 8: Farewell Chile

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

What Sets This Tour Apart?

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

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

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

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

Join the Adventure

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

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

Contact Information and Next Steps

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

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

info@amity-tours.com

Ebike tours in Chile

Estancias and Ebikes Tour Patagonia

Bicycle tours with electric bikes in Chile

 

Estancias & Ebikes in Patagonia

Estancias and Ebikes Tour Patagonia
Estancias and Ebikes Tour Patagonia. Copyright: OutdoorsTV/Chile Nativo

I just returned from an epic bike tour in southern Chile: Estancias & Ebikes in Patagonia.

I was invited to test a new e-mtb tour with one of our key partners in Patagonia. After two years of planning and designing the perfect bicycle tour in Patagonia, we finally were able to put it to a test.

One of the biggest challenges of cycling in Patagonia is the weather, especially considering the windy conditions that can at times reach up to 60 mph gusts in the summer months (mid-December to early March). We made several previous attempts and learnt our lessons the hard way. So, along with my friend Gonzalo “Pampa” Fuenzalida, an expert outfitter in Patagonia, having studied every corner of the map and knowing the key vendors throughout Ultima Esperanza province, (as well as my expertise in bicycle tourism), we were eager to finally hit the backroads on brand new electric hard-tail mountain bikes.

Estancias and Ebikes Tour Patagonia
Cristian and Gonzalo in Patagonia. Copyright: OutdoorsTV/Chile Nativo

The plan was to put together a bike tour that not only will include the amazing landscapes of Patagonia, but also the fantastic cultural aspects of its many Estancias, which are the cattle ranches that still operate in the surroundings of Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park. Gonzalo has been working with the “estancieros” (ranch owners) to become a tourist attraction without losing their cultural roots, and he certainly did a wonderful job.

In 2001, Gonzalo started his company focusing on his #1 passion, horseback riding, and this ebike tour follows the same routes made by horseback. Even the first European explorers such as Lady Florence Dixie and William Greenwood rode in awe of the wilderness of Patagonia, so there is a strong historical heritage on every pedal stroke we took.

During 7 days, we ebiked 215km (133 miles) and stayed in comfortable Estancia guest houses, all simple and very cozy, located in front of jaw-opening natural settings. This well-supported and guided bicycle tour included a private chef that cooked all our meals and snacks. I didn’t feel guilty about all those extra calories, as biking on ebikes is still an active sport; you need to push through and get your heartbeat going since this pedal-assisted bikes will only work if you keep pedaling.

Estancias and Ebikes Tour Patagonia
Estancias and Ebikes Tour Patagonia. Copyright: OutdoorsTV/Chile Nativo

Bicycle Tourism, the smart way

The one thing I love the most about bicycle tourism is that I consider it the smart way to travel and discover a new (or already familiar) destination. While travelling on your saddle, you can cover long distances (between 40km and 100km per day) and take-in all the elements that are surrounding you. You can enjoy the views, hear the sound of nature (animals, wind, rivers, bugs, etc.) and smell all the aromas (good and bad alike). You are completely immersed in the landscape, and only after you experience an adventure like this, you realize how much you miss out when you are in a car or van.

The most fabulous part? You start your morning by biking from one hotel to the next one, and as such you can stay active all day. That way, in the evening you can eat amazing local food and indulge in local wine and beer to your heart’s content, turning your weight watch app on airplane mode with the knowledge that you’ll burn off all those hard-earned calories with tomorrow’s ride.

Ebikes in Chile
Cristian and Gonzalo testing gravel ebikes in Chile.

The magic of pedal-assisted electric bikes

All things considered, I’m a pretty average cycling enthusiast, I’m in my mid-forties, I don’t train, and you will never see me taking part in a bike race. That said, I genuinely love biking and try to do it as much as possible. I feel so lucky that biking tours are part of my job, and I take each and every opportunity to get on a bike.

In 2018 I started experimenting with electric bikes. It was with my friend Gonzalo that we took a self-guided bicycle tour in Italy, with the twist of including ebikes as part of the experience. That trip really blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how pedal-assisted bikes worked. You sweat and your heart beat faster, but on the hills or windy sections, you just press the button to sport or turbo mode and you are flying uphill at 25 or 30km/h.

You can keep all the fun and take the pain you put into your body out of this equation of happiness – no more pain or suffering and just fun and joyous biking. I used to take painkillers and muscle rub cream for my knees after every ride. I was sore, tired and happy with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, and now with the ebikes I’m still so very happy but can forget about my aching joints. The Estancias and Ebike tour in Patagonia was no exception; just as much fun, and without the pain.

Ebikes in Italy
Gonzalo and Cristian in Italy, first time on ebikes.

Ebike tours in Chile

At Amity Tours we are convinced electric bikes will bring in more and more people into bicycle tourism. Knowing that a pedal-assisted bicycle is available on all our tours will take away all your fears. You’ll definitely won’t be at the tail of the group, and those hilly roads will not be an excuse to skip the “book now” button. That’s why we have partnered with Specialized bicycles and now we offer the most modern bike fleet for your next bike tour in Chile, with both analog and electric bike options.

Check out our curated bicycle tours in Chile here (including the one in Patagonia): https://www.amity-tours.com/tours/bike-tours/

See you on the road !!

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

bike tour chile

Cycling in southern Chile is definitely a must-do if you are a bicycling enthusiast. More than just transportation, it allows you to access the hidden corners of the Chilean territory without contributing to climate change.

 

Bicycle riding is becoming more and more popular due to all the benefits it brings to people’s health and wellbeing. It is also a way of contributing to a more sustainable world. Moreover, it is the best eco-friendly way to visit Chile.

Geographically, Chile is one of the most versatile, safe and unique places to bike in the world. Furthermore, the fact that Chile is located in the Southern Hemisphere allows bikers from the northern parts of the world to enjoy a taste of summer in the off-season provides a great reason for a trip to check it out.

Noteworthy, and since 2016, Chile has won the award of “Best World Adventure Tourism Destination” at World Travel Awards. Correspondingly, you can find a great variety of world-class adventures in the famous Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route. Also known as the Interlagos Network, this southern part of Chile crosses areas booming with resources in terms of its landscapes, environmental and cultural value.

In other words, this 2.000-kilometers destination of (mostly) paved road connects six different circuits running through three regions, where you can see 26 large rivers, 22 lakes, 17 active volcanoes and 12 national parks.

 

 

As you can guess, this special part of Chile promises lots of fun rides with the breathtaking landscape. In this blog, we give you 3 reasons why cycling is an incredible travel adventure to do in Chile.

 

1) The Lake and Volcano District is Chile’s bike-friendly destination 

 

From Temuco to Puerto Varas, we take you to bike the most scenic routes of the Lake and Volcano District. Your cycling adventure will be full of amazing landscapes composed of lakes, active volcanoes and the Andes mountain range. Moreover, you will observe some incredible endemic fauna and flora.

Cycling the roads of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is the best way to explore this fascinating part of the country. Consequently, you will pedal alongside the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks. In addition, you will visit local Mapuche villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.

During our bike tours, you’ll get to explore the following highlights:

  • Kütralkura, Chile’s first UNESCO Geopark in the Malalcahuello National Reserve, always with the Lonquimay Volcano watching you.
  • Conguillio National Park and the Llaima volcano.
  • The Andes Mountain Range at the Alto Biobio National Reserve.
  • Pucón the Capital of Adventure Travel and the Villarrica Volcano, the most active of the territory
  • The 7-Lake Route and the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, an awarded land trust for conservation.
  • Puerto Varas, the Llanquihue Lake with the largest bike lane, the Osorno Volcano and the Petrohue Waterfalls.

 

2) Pick your style: MTB, Road or Gravel Bike

 

 

Thanks to the abundance of roads surrounded by active volcanoes, pristine lakes and the Andes mountain range, the Lake and Volcano District has a lot of biking trails to offer. You’ll absolutely get fascinated by the diversity of landscapes at the wheels of your bike.

As mentioned above, the special part of Chile is full of surprises. Indeed, this destination offers even a huge variety of biking trails. If you are an adrenaline seeker, an avid challenger, or an amateur cyclist, you will definitely be amazed by our bike travel adventures.

 

Mountain Bike

 

Our Mountain Bike Adventure was especially designed by Ernesto Araneda, one of our top cyclist guides. He is the former national champion of XC MTB in 2004 and three times winner of silver medal at the Pan-American Games of XC MTB. 

 

 

This travel experience will take you off the beaten path, including the best bike trails of the Lake and Volcano District. You will absolutely love riding among endemic tree forests or descending the Villarrica Volcano in the famous national parks of the area.

 

Discover our MTB adventures with EVOC and Specialized Bicycles!

 

Road Cycling

 

If you’re more into paved roads, don’t worry. Our famous road cycling experience will make you ride the most beautiful and scenic roads of Chile. From the Malalcahuello National Reserve, through Pucón to Puerto Varas, this journey will never cease to surprise you.

Finally, our last ride in the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, gives you the opportunity to push your limits. Indeed, you will get to climb the Osorno Volcano and one of the steepest climbs of South America.

 

 

The group departure dates for our 8-Day Road Cycling Tour are already available for 2022-2023, check them out!

 

Gravel Bike

 

The last modality we added to our bike fleet, and by far the most versatile way to pedal the hidden off-the-beaten routes of the Lake and Volcano District. As a result, the gravel bike gives more possibilities when connecting sections and areas of both dirt and asphalt. 

And this is where we see a great opportunity to explore the dirt roads of the Lake and Volcano District. For us, it is an extraordinary chance to add new routes in all circuits where bike tours are not operated today due to lack of asphalt.

 

 

Group departure dates available for 2023, save your spot!

3) Discover the cultural sides of Chile

 

But not everything is about physical activity, adventure and amazing landscapes. So, we also make sure our bikers’ belly gets well treated with our delicious Chilean cuisine. During the bike rides, you will have all the necessary snacks to refill energy. For lunch, you will either get to eat the typical Chilean food in our selected restaurants, or get to have a zero-waste buffet picnic, prepared by our drivers on a perfect scenic spot.

Food in Chile is, likewise, one of the highlights of our bike tours. Great wine, fresh and flavorsome produce, seafood and all kinds of meat will be part of the daily menus. We are prepared to cater vegetarian, pescaterian, gluten free and dairy free food. 

On the other hand, and since 2019, we’ve been changing and improving our great picnic tables. Indeed, with the ambitious Zero Waste Challenge, we aim to reduce the generated waste during our travel adventures. 

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

And to make it memorable, you will experience an indigenous encounter with the Mapuche communities. You will have the privilege to share a typical dinner, drink some Yerba Mate and learn more about their ancestral culture.

 

 

As they are the first inhabitants of this ancestral territory, sharing with them is a great opportunity to really know the human identity of the Chilean territory.

 

Why choosing Amity Tours for your next bike adventure ?

 

Amity Tours, as a company, has been specializing since 2003 in active adventures such as hiking, trekking, skiing and cycling. Our headquarters are in the town of Pucón, located in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

Our main motivation to offer adventure experiences in this region is quite obvious. Along with being the best place for outdoor activities, we truly believe it is one the most beautiful regions of Chile. If not the most!

 

The philosophy of Adventure

 

First of all, we are proud to call ourselves a boutique adventure tour operator from Chile, where luxury nature tours are our standard.

At Amity Tours, we are all fanatics for new adventures. Our guides are living in a constant adventurous state, showing and sharing the most beautiful places of Chile to our fellow travelers. Our drivers are always on the move, they can’t stand still and love to explore new places on our scouting trips. Likewise, the whole office team spends its free time in a national park, or on a campground together with friends and family.

 

 

That is why one of the main cornerstones of our philosophy is ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we define “adventure” as an experience where culture and nature are the main elements.

 

Discover our team adventures gravel cycling the Llanquihue Lake!

 

Professional service and bike safety measures

 

At Amity, we aim to provide the best travel experiences in Chile. For us, it means that this comes with excellent service, comfortable hotels and great local food, beer and wine. 

Secondly, we make sure you find a true friend in our team of experienced and professional guides and drivers. They will show the best of Chile. Along with them, you’ll get to meet local people at every destination. Finally, they’ll make sure you discover the best hidden places that will take your breath away.

 

safety bike tour chile

 

As a responsible travel company, we want our travel adventurers to get the best experience possible. This is why we’ll make sure that safety always comes first.

Here are our most important measures taken during our bike trips:

  • Our professional guides and drivers always have with them a VHF radio. Communication is the main element in our staff.
  • We use SAG vehicles to carry all the food, water, snacks and all the gear needed for such activity. For those who can no longer ride, our vehicle is here to pick them up.
  • The helmet while riding is mandatory.
  • Van stops every 10 km or 20 km depending on group pace. Just to make sure everyone’s ok and enjoying the ride.
  • In our road cycling tours, for every 9 riders, 1 professional guide is in charge of guiding and support, and in our mountain biking tours, we use 1 guide per 6 riders.
  • At the beginning of our tours, we make sure a technical briefing is given regarding road rules and trail conditions.

 

Spring season has already arrived in Chile and we can’t wait for the upcoming bike adventures in Chile’s top destination! Discover the Lake and Volcano District, a fascinating part of the Chilean territory, where adventure meets nature and connects with the local human identity!

 

 

5 Reasons to Visit Chile in 2022

travel destination

Chile is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Within the country, you can find a diverse variety of landscapes including vineyards, volcanoes, deserts, beaches, lakes, glaciers and ancient forests. Adventure, people, nature are just a few of the reasons to travel to Chile in 2022.

 

In South America, Chile is the gateway to some of the most beautiful landscapes. Whether you want to hike up glaciers, explore mountains or paddle down rivers, the Chilean territory has it all! As well as its natural beauty, it also has a rich cultural history and many interesting things for travelers to do and see.

Indeed, with the Andes on one side and the Pacific on the other, there exists a world-class list of adventures to do. It’s more, in the Lake and Volcano District, Chile’s top destination, you can witness a blend of indigenous culture and European heritages that combine for a welcoming embrace. 

Here are five reasons to travel to Southern Chile in 2022!

 

1. Adventure Tourism in Chile

 

 

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

To point out a few of Chile’s dazzling array of adventure experiences, you can:

  • Get your adrenaline working on a bike in the beautiful foothills, valleys and scenic routes
  • Hike the stunning national parks surrounded by ancient forests
  • Ascend some of the most active volcanoes in the world
  • Raft on the gorgeous and thrilling rivers and take on the heart-pounding runs of class 4 and 5 rapids
  • Kayak the pristine lakes
  • Skiing in the austral winter
  • And the list goes on and on…

2. Unexplored Travel Destination

 

 

Chile is a wonderful country full of contrasts and outstanding extremes. It is the largest and narrowest of South America. 4329 kilometers in length and 177 kilometers wide. Viewed from the map, it looks like a thin line drawn between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain range; the longest and second highest of the planet.

As a result, Chile has been relatively cut off from the rest of the world due to its remote location. Therefore, the number of overseas tourists is not as overwhelming as in many other places, and there are areas in the country where you can find yourself to be the only visitor. People are friendly and there is no imminent danger.

Regarding the sanitary situation due to the global pandemic, Chile has become the first country in South America to inject the 4th dosis, and the second in the word after Israel. Consequently, Chile has positioned as one of the most effective countries worldwide to fight the covid crisis. Thus, ensuring a safe territory to visit.

 

3. Diverse Culture

 

Chile has a rich cultural heritage stretching back over 500 years. The Incan civilization was well established in the area when Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia arrived in 1540 with soldiers and indigenous laborers. So, after independence from Spain in 1810, Chile began developing its own unique traditions and customs. Therefore, this reflects its complex history as an amalgamation of European culture with influences from the indigenous communities who have inhabited this territory well before the Europeans.

 

 

Under those circonstances, it’s hard to pin down a single cultural identity for Chile. Since the country opened up immigration to the Germans in the 1800s, entire towns in the Lake and Volcano District have been taken over by German settlers. There, you can find traditional homes, churches, and schools that will transport you to Bavaria.

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

 

4. Best Travel Adventures

 

From Santiago de Chile to Puerto Montt (the gateway to Patagonia), we find a wide variety of landscapes with lands covered with forests of araucarias and dotted with lagoons, rivers or lakes. Moreover, here and there, we can admire the active volcanoes of the Lake & Volcano District. Not without mentioning the northern beauties of the Atacama, the world’s driest desert in the world. Or even the Chilean Patagonia, a region of immense untouched beauty, where you will find some of the most jaw-dropping natural wonders in the world.

All in all, they are the perfect spot for nature lovers who enjoy outdoor adventures. Here’s a few suggestions of the best adventure travels you can experience when visiting Chile in 2022.

 

 

Hiking the most stunning national Parks of the Lake and Volcano District

 

In this 8-Day hiking tour, you will explore the most beautiful trails located in the national parks located in the unmissable Lake and Volcano District. Surrounded by mountains, pristine lakes and active volcanoes, you will explore the best hidden corners of Southern Chile, including UNESCO Kütralkura Geopark and Biological Reserve Araucarias.

 

 

The group departure dates are already available for the 2022-23 summer season!

 

Gravel biking the dirt roads of Southern Chile

 

Discover and pedal the hidden off-the-beaten routes of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District with the new gravel modality. During 8 days, you will explore the most famous national parks of the Lake and Volcano District, witnessing the most volcanic landscape between ancient forests and pristine lakes.

Moreover, you will also connect and share with the Mapuche communities, an authentic cultural encounter with the first inhabitants of this ancestral territory.

 

 

2022 group departure dates are already fully booked, save your spot for the 2023-24 summer season!

 

Explore by bike, by foot and kayak the northern and southern Patagonia

 

This multisport travel adventure is a true authentique experience, during which you explore the best hidden gems of both the Lake and Volcano District and Patagonia. In other words, this exclusive program covers and connects the wild and diverse landscapes of the Torres del Paine National Park, to the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park. Not without mentioning a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant araucaria trees of the Conguillío National Park.

 

 

During 14 days, you will:

  • Bike between surreal lagoons, horseback ride through the wilderness, kayak pristine rivers and lakes with the best views of Torres del Paine Massif
  • Ride on the most scenic routes of the Lake and Volcano District, between snow-capped volcanoes
  • Discover the Patagonian Route of Parks and explore the Pumalín Park, an area run by the Tompkins Conservation.

 

Group departure dates are available for booking, don’t miss your chance!

 

5. Traveling with a local tour operator

 

When you travel, it’s important to support local businesses. One of the best ways to do this is by choosing a tour operator based in Chile. As a matter of fact, we are better able to provide a unique experience than the big foreign companies.

When visiting southern Chile with Amity Tours, our friendly team will allow you to explore this fascinating territory in a much more personal way. Plus, you’ll get to connect with the local communities, see how they make their living and respect their ancestral traditions. Thus, we are better able to provide you with a more authentic experience.

On the other end, we are fully commited to a responsible tourism. In effect, in 2019, we started our journey towards sustainability with our Zero Waste Challenge. This ambitious project aims to reduce the general waste generated during our travel adventures, creating a local circular economy and reinforcing a close connection we have with our local partners who share the same future vision of implementing a sustainable tourism in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

 

Not only we are working every day to minimize our impact on Planet Earth, we also taking part of an another ambitious project. Thanks to the Wiñolfe Anumka reforestation project, we recently manifested our wish to offset our 2019 carbon footprint in addition to our upcoming round trip to Switzerland to the Adventure Travel World Summit.

Together, with this local community based in Curarrehue, we planted 198 native trees and gave back to earth. It goes without saying that we plan on planting more and more each year that goes by.

 

Spring and summer seasons are getting closer. So, this means that a great high season will soon take place in Southern Chile! Follow our adventures on Instagram, and start planning your next travel plans in Chile by contacting us and we will provide you with the latest updates!

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

villarrica park chile

Stretching from Temuco city in La Araucanía Region, down to Puerto Varas in Los Lagos Region, traveling through this world-class destination is a must-do when visiting Chile. Indeed, the famous Lake and Volcano District is a fascinating territory thanks to its biodiversity and exuberant nature.

 

If you consider yourself a true nature lover, you will find there a unique paradise on Earth. Ancient evergreen forests, crystal-clear lakes, active volcanoes, whitewater rivers, ancient glaciers and eternal snow peaks of the Andes mountain range. The wild, lush and exuberant nature of southern Chile is home to the most memorable and eco-friendly travel adventures like hiking or cycling.

In this article, we made you a list of our favorite national parks in the Lake and Volcano District. There, you will be able to experience the true identity of Chile’s top destination.

 

Conguillío National Park

 

The Conguillío national park is located 148 kilometers north-east of the city of Temuco. It covers a total area of 60.832 hectares. In Mapundungun,  the word “ko-nquillio” which means “pine nuts in the water”. The name is based upon the abundance of the araucaria trees and the surrounding lakes shaping the landscape of the park.

 

 

Among its main attractions, the Llaima volcano (3.200m) stands out the most. Dominating the landscape, the volcano is surrounded by its lakes of volcanic formation and its forests of ancient araucarias.

Consequently, the Conguillio national park receives an average of 100.000 visitors a year, making it one of the most visited parks of Chile. Recently, it was designated by the BBC as one of the last places on earth protecting the landscape where once lived the dinosaurs.

 

 

Our favorite hike to do is the Sierra Nevada trail with amazing views over the Conguillío Lake, Blanco River and the Llaima Volcano. With an area covering approximately 60.883 hectares, the park is part of the Araucaria Biosphere Reserve. Least but not last, it is also the heart of Chile’s first geopark: the Kutralkura, which has been part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network since 2017.

You can visit the Conguillio National park in the following travel adventures:

 

Villarrica National Park

 

Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape. The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction.

In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. At the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.

 

 

Finally, The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.

You can explore the Villarrica National Park during the following travel adventures:

Huerquehue National Park

 

Equally important, the Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, in La Araucanía Region of Chile. It has a an area of 12.500 hectares composed of hills and moutains surrounding small lakes and lagoons of cristaline water.

In Mapundungun, the Mapuche’s native language, it means “place of messengers”. This park was created in 1967 with terrains unoccupied by the colons.

 

 

There are 2 main hiking trails available in the Huerquehue. First, los Lagos Trail, is an easy 12-kilometer long in which you can visit waterfalls, lagoons along with stunning views over the Caburgua Lake and the Villarrica volcano. The second, is the San Sebastian Trail, of an intermediate level of difficulty. The hiking trail is approximately 13-kilometer long. The final reward of the hike is the panoramic views over the surrounding volcanoes (Lanín, Villarrica, Quetrupillan, Llaima) and the Tinquilco and Caburgua Lakes.

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park

 

The Vicente Perez Rosales National Park is the oldest park in the country. A key component of the Temperate Rain forests of the Austral Andes Biosphere Reserve, it is located in an area where volcanism has been, along with tectonic processes and glaciers. Therefore, they represent the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range.

Geographically, It covers an area of 251,000 hectares (619,970 acres), incorporating the park’s centerpiece: Todos los Santos Lake, Petrohué Waterfalls, Osorno and Puntiagudo Volcanoes.

There, we particularly love to hike featuring the great beauties of Los Lagos region. The first one is the “Paso Desolación” trail, which crosses the national park from the North face of the Osorno Volcano towards the South-East, all the way to the Petrohue sector. Originally, it was a cattle trail used for animal transportation between the Todos Los Santos Lake and the Llanquihue Lake via the Desolación pass.

 

 

Moreover, we love to hike “El Solitario Trail”. Indeed, it is a simple, short and fairly flat route that allows its visitors to appreciate the Osorno Volcano from the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. First you start hiking through a native forest with the volcano at sight during the entire route. Then, you pass by a valley covered with lava flows formed by old eruptions. Finally, you arrive at the road leading to the Osorno Volcano.

You can visit the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park during the following travel adventures:

 

When to visit the national parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

If you consider visiting this incredible part of Chile, we highly suggest you to come in spring/summer. Indeed, during winter (June to September), it rains and snows in the region. So, it makes the use of raquets mandatory, since the snow covers all of the hiking trails.

 

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

 

On the other hand, during spring and summer (october to march), the weather provides an ideal time and perfect conditions to visit the national parks.

Finally, during fall season (april to may), the parks shine with a true spectacle of colors. The leaves of the endemic trees lose their green color and slowly switches to yellow and red colors.

 

If you loved this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends travelers. Also, when interested in visiting the Lake and Volcano District, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will provide you with all the information regarding the greatest travel adventures you can live in southern Chile.

 

 

 

 

 

Multisport experience – Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route Chile

multisport chile

Over the last few months, Amity Tours has been working on new sustainable routes to explore in an eco-friendly way Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. This new multisport experience will delight you when exploring the stunning natural attractions. With the presence of the ancient native forests, lakes, rivers of multicolored waters, glaciers and active volcanoes, Southern Chile has a lot to offer.

 

Experiencing southern Chile is a singular and sustainable experience. Indeed, it allows you to encounter yourself with the unique beauty of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos regions. It’s more, you get to enjoy it all alongside the Mapuche indigenous communities, who have inhabited these ancestral territories for ages.

 

About the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route

 

The first scenic route in Chile, the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, is a world-class destination powered by the CORFO, a production development organization. In fact, for the past 20 years, this governmental organization has been consolidating a network of 6 different circuits that allow every nature lover to explore the unmissable attractions of the Lake and Volcano District.

 

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

 

With approximately 2000 kilometers of geography shaped by the force of volcanism and bathed by great pristine lakes, this scenic route has a unique layout that will take your breath away. But what makes this destination particularly interesting to visit, are the guided multisport experiences that have been purposely created for the international visitors to explore the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route in a safe way.

Since 2008, we have been working hand by hand with the governmental organization in the elaboration of the first scenic route of Chile. Our last collaboration led to the development of 6 guided and sustainable multisport experiences. In other words, it allows you to travel through the Lake and Volcano District by foot, bike, or water. Without mentioning the cultural encounters with the Mapuche indigenous communities who share with us their ancestral knowledge and cosmovision of the world

 

Multisport Experience – Llanquihue Lake Circuit 

 

Last March, CEO Cristián Levy went guiding the incredible multisport experience in the Llanquihue Circuit accompanied by Ladera Sur national press and SUDA, our app partner. For this occasion, we did an active tour that can turn into a more passive and contemplative experience for families with young children.

Discover the incredible multisport route we lived!

 

ebike llanquihue lake

 

Day 1 – Kayaking Río Puelo

 

We kicked off this incredible adventure where geographical Patagonia begins in Caleta La Arena. The crossing of the Reloncaví Estuary emulates the routes that were used by the Mapuche and also the European settlers ages ago. Sadly, this area suffered from the massive exploitation of the Alerce Andino native tree, in order to build the churches of Chiloé Island in the 1700’s. Therefore, the presence of this ancient tree has consequently reduced in the coastal area of Cochamó.

Our first adventure started at Río Puelo, a mandatory stop for the practice of water sports such as kayaking. Indeed, this river of crystalline and multicolored waters has an extension of approximately 80 kilometers. It starts in Argentina in the homonymous lake, crosses the western side of the Andes and flows into the fjord of Reloncaví in Chile, where it meets the Pacific ocean.

 

 

Along the river, we could observe traces of the glaciers that gave rise to Río Puelo. At the same time, this beautiful water course could demonstrate to us that water has a key role in the connectivity of the roads in Patagonia. 

We explored the last section of the river, before it connects with the Pacific ocean. For this, we paddle on kayak for approximately 7 kilometers, during which we could observe various waterfalls in addition to the local flora and fauna.  

 

Discover this route on SUDA, our application partner.

 

Day 2 – Horsebackriding Cochamó Valley

 

On the second day, we dived into the ancestral history of Cochamó and the Ralún area. Indeed, we explored the route anciently used by the Mapuche and the European settlers. Thus, the experience seeks to emulate a journey made by our ancestors, going through places they used to cross.

In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native tongue, Cochamó means “Union of waters”. This place connects the waters coming from the Andes mountain range with the Pacific ocean where the intermediate depression joins. Nowadays, Cochamó continues to be a place of connection since it is where ends the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route ends, and where starts the Route of Parks.

On the other hand, Cochamó and Puelo also allow the connection between the fishing culture and the Gaucho culture. Since the rivers are the veins, thus roads that local people traditionally use.

So, in order to better understand how Patagonia works, we went deeper into the Cochamó valley horseback riding one of the arms of the Cayutué lake towards the native forests. Carlos, our guide, highlights the fact that: “you start horseback riding thinking you’re leaving the fjord behind. But in reality, you’re going to its origin. The water is what connects the route.”

 

 

At some point of the Cayutué lake, we could appreciate a terrific view over the high peaks of the area. We continued on Río Conchas, a connecting dot between the Cayutué lake and the final destination of our day. After a few hours crossing native forests, we finally arrived at Todos Los Santos lake located at the Vicente Perez Rosales national park.

It is worth mentioning that this route has been used historically, and continues to be used by the locals naturally following the course of the river. Nowadays, the muleteers of the sectors still respect this tradition. Consequently, you can only live this singular experience carefully guided by the local guides. 

 

 

Carlos, our local guide, concludes: “Thanks to this journey, you get to really see how Patagonia works. A place where the rivers are the roads. So here you will experience the local life, doing exactly as the locals, not what the typical tourists do. In Cochamó, for example, we can meet with both the muleteer and the fishing culture. The connection of the valleys allows the Gauchos and the fishermen to coexist. Only here in Cochamó, you have the possibility to contemplate that particular blend of cultures.”

 

Discover this route on SUDA!

 

Day 3.  Paso Desolación hiking trail – Vicente Perez Rosales National Park

 

For the third day of our multisport adventure, we hiked the Paso Desolación trail at the foothills of the Osorno Volcano. The Osorno is a stratovolcano that forms a volcanic chain with La Picada and Puntiagudo volcanoes.

We particularly love this hike since we get to appreciate the Todos Los Santos lake with the high peaks around. Moreover, the culmination point reaches the surroundings of the Llanquihue lake, making this hike a complete experience contemplating new sectors. 

The trail starts in a native forest, passing through flat areas and crossing up to three large alluviums generated by ancient eruptions. Product of the volcanic activity of the Osorno, the trail is mostly sandy and we can easily find volcanic rocks and pyroclastic material.

 

 

Discover this route on SUDA!

 

Day 4 – Cycling Llanquihue Lake from Las Cascadas to Frutillar

 

Our last day of this great multisport experience is full of adventures. Indeed, we cycled 45 kilometers around Llanquihue lake, Chile’s best bike-friendly destination. Great thing about living this experience: you can choose between cycling an e-bike, or gravel bike. Thus, it allows every traveler to experience the stunning opportunity to cycle around Llanquihue lake.

 

Check our last adventure gravel cycling around Llanquihue Lake!

 

 

The ride never ceases to surprise, well we get to always appreciate the Osorno volcano in all its splendor. Not without mentioning the impressive Puntiagudo and Calbuco volcanoes. Alongside these great peaks, we pass Puerto Octay, before reaching the last point of this cycling ride: Frutillar.

And since not everything is about physical activity, we visit our friends at Cancagua SPA. This great project aims to provide the best bath relaxation with the least impact on the ecosystems around. As a result, we get to contemplate Llanquihue Lake while enjoying a relaxing bath.

 

 

Finally, after re-energizing our mind and body, the multisport experience ended with a 16-kilometers kayak paddling on Maullín river. This river offers great conditions for us to navigate on, and to also connect with the sound of nature. Actually, with a large extension of 85 kilometers long, it allows the connectivity between the different localities around Llanquihue lake.

 

The multisport adventure offers the opportunity to experience the Lake and Volcano District in a unique way. Indeed, you get to sustainably explore southern Chile by foot, by bike or by kayak; in addition to truly connect with the local people who have inhabited these ancestral territories for ages. We invite you to check out the best multisport experiences and get inspired for your next travel!

 

Gravel Cycling Chile – Llanquihue Lake Loop Ride

specialized chile

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

 

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

 

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

 

Indeed, what makes the Llanquihue lake an interesting cultural destination to visit is the cultural identity that defines the Los Lagos region. In fact, the Huilliche Mapuche indigenous group along with the European settlers compose the social and cultural legacy of the area.

From 1852, the Spanish and German colonists began to arrive in the area of the lake. As a result, they contributed to the territory in various ways. 

Until today, the arrival of the German settlers has left a strong influence over the architectural style of the area. Thus, when visiting the Llanquihue lake, sometimes it can feel like a journey to History as we get to appreciate the original large houses, sheds and churches built by the German pioneers. Interestingly, some of them are now restored and turned into boutique hotels. 

 

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

 

Lago Llanquihue Circuit

 

At Amity Tours, we love this destination. Since 2003, we have visited and cycled the iconic Llanquihue lake every spring and summer season with our international friends. It’s more, we truly believe that cycling is the best eco-way to appreciate its deep blue waters, wonderful landscape dominated by the Osorno volcano, hills and natural reserves. 

With the new gravel bikes, we said goodbye to summer season by cycling the Llanquihue lake loop ride. In this post, you will follow the gravel bike adventures we lived.

 

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

 

Well-known as the bike-friendly destination in Chile, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bike lane (82 kilometers), gravel cycling the Llanquihue lake is an authentic adventure to live when visiting the Lake and Volcano District. First, we get to appreciate the imponent presence of the Osorno volcano (2.652 meters) whose conical shape seems to emerge from the water of Llanquihue lake. 

Second, the intense green of the Austral forests surrounding the lake, especially in the east side where the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park remains. 

 

Gravel Cycling Llanquihue lake

 

We started our gravel bike adventure from the small town of Frutillar. Located on the northwest shore of the lake, and 45 km from Puerto Varas, it is the other attraction of Llanquihue. Both towns stand out for their well-preserved German-style houses.

In 1856, Frutillar emerged as a shipping dock with the arrival of the German pioneers. They settled around the lake and then dedicated themselves to agricultural and livestock work. For this, they installed different types of farms such as dairies, mills, breweries, along with emporium stores.

 

gravel cycling llanquihue lake
The countryside of the Llanquihue lake

 

In addition to the Historic heritage, Frutillar enjoys the presence of the unmissable Teatro del Lago. There, the famous “Frutillar Music Week” festival takes place every year. Thanks to the strong musical activity, UNESCO designated Frutillar as part of the Creative Cities of Music Network in 2017. This network integrates another 180 cities around the Planet.

Leaving from Frutillar, we cycled towards Los Bajos area on a road that mixes asphalt and gravel. Always bordering the Llanquihue lake, the route passes by various gastronomic ventures from elegant tea houses to farm-style restaurants. They have become one of the great attractions of the area.

 

Puerto Octa

After another 17 km, we finally reached Puerto Octay on the northeast end of the Llanquihue lake. Watched over by the volcanoes around, this quaint little town never ceases to surprise us with the German architecture and heritage. That’s why in 2010, the CMN (Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, or National Monument Council), declared Puerto Octay as a Traditional Zone since it is one of the most picturesque and best preserved towns of the Llanquihue basin.

Wandering through Puerto Octay to admire its typical large houses is like a journey to the 1800-1900 century. Indeed, the population increased in these years as a connection point with Osorno and reached a certain economic boom. 

 

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

 

Our bike adventure continued on a gravel road towards Playa Maitén where we took a break for some photos on the beach. Playa Maitén received the first 21 German families who settled around Llanquihue lake. 

Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, we weren’t able to appreciate the Osorno volcano nearby. Nonetheless, during a bright summer day, we can easily admire this imponent volcanic element.

 

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

 

Finally, the last kilometers led us to our final destination of the day: Las Cascadas village. This part of the Llanquihue lake is a beach resort of fine sands, where the last German immigrants arrived between 1870 and 1880. Interestingly, this area is full of various waterfalls immersed in abundant green nature.

What’s more, Las Cascadas is also the starting/ending point of the largest bike lane in Chile, with no less than 82 kilometers from this sector to Puerto Varas, with another stretch from Ensenada to Petrohue. 

There, we were well-received in our favorite lodge located at the shores of the lake.

 

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

 

On the next day, after a good breakfast, our gravel bike adventure continued and we started cycling from Las Cascadas lodge towards Puerto Varas. It goes without saying that this part of the Llanquihue lake is fascinating. Indeed, we get to cycle through the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, one of the highlights of the Lake and Volcano district. 

With 253,780 hectares of evergreen forests, this national park is located in an area where volcanism has been the main factor that shaped the Andes mountain range, along with tectonic and glacier processes. Moreover, it is part of the Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Andes. 

 

 

From the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park the bike lane takes us through the forest, always with the Osorno volcano at sight. And after 65 km of cycling around the Llanquihue lake, we finally arrived at the quaint city of Puerto Varas. Along with Pucón, Puerto Varas is the other capital of tourism in southern Chile. With remarkable views of the Llanquihue lake and the Osorno volcano, this city is also a reflection of European colonization in the late 1700’s thanks to the strong German architecture.

There we stopped for lunch to gain some more strength before the last 33 km of our gravel bike circuit. After leaving Puerto Varas we quickly reached Llanquihue. This urban and industrial center started to develop with the arrival of the first colonists, and afterwards the rail. 

Besides, Llanquihue is where the lake drains and the course of the Maullín river starts. 

 

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

 

Finally, we reached the last point of our gravel bike adventure, back to Frutillar. We cycled the last 20 km passing through the countryside on a winding road surrounded by small lake beaches flanked by large trees, churches and ancient harbors. 

In Frutillar, we visited our friends of Cancagua, a spa where the hot tubs are located in a natural ravine of native forest overlooking the Llanquihue lake.  

 

Aconcagua spa chile

 

Cycling the Llanquihue lake circuit is an incredible experience to live when visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!
Discover all our active adventures in this fascinating territory by following us on Instagram.

Active adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

We’ve just said goodbye to summer season full of adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. After 2 years of global uncertainty around traveling, we felt beyond thankful to receive our international friends again.

 

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

 

From december to march, we cycled between pristine lakes and hiked the stunning trails around active volcanoes.

 

WHAT DO WE DO IN THE LAKE AND VOLCANO DISTRICT

 

Geographically, Chile is part of the Ring of Fire. Indeed, there are no less than 3.000 volcanoes from small cinder cones, to huge boilers of various kilometers in diameter located all along the Andes mountain range. In the Lake and Volcano District, we find 17 active volcanoes. Among them, the Llaima and Villarrica volcanoes are South America’s most active volcanoes.

 

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

 

Traveling throughout the southern region, the giant cones dominate the landscape. What’s more, we can appreciate how their shape and silhouette change radically. Thus, many of them present large glaciers on their summit.

In addition to the active volcanic activity, we can also find the largest lakes of southern Chile. Many of them are interconnected by a hydrological system consisting of 26 large rivers, and thousands of small ones. As a result, these water sources are the main actors in conserving the rich biodiversity of the Lake and Volcano District.

 

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

 

It goes without saying that, given the natural elements composing the landscape of the southern region, we are blessed with stunning and remote places to explore.

Below, you will find out the best attractions to visit when traveling to Chile.

 

Kütralkura UNESCO Geopark

 

kutralkura geopark unesco chile
Map of the Kutralkura Geopark

 

More than just a park, the Kutralkura geopark is 8.000 square kilometers that includes 6 protected areas located in La Araucanía. In Mapudungun, the native tongue of the area, Kütralkura means “stone of fire”. Indeed, there we can find one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

 

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

 

But also, the territory has a strong human and cultural importance. As a matter of fact, the pehuenche mapuche, first inhabitants of the area, have their ancestral cosmovision that stands out the divine essence of the volcanoes, and every element of nature in general.

 

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

Conguillío National Park

 

With the Llaima volcano as the main attraction of the Conguillio national park, we can also find other natural beauties such as the Captrén lagoon, the Conguillio lake and the Truful-Truful canyon. There, the area offers a lot of active adventures to experience through beautiful hiking trails.

 

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

 

In Amity, we particularly love the Sierra Nevada trail hike. Surrounded by ancient trees, the starting point of the trail is near the lake. The ascent is progressive and passes through a beautiful forest of native trees like lengas, colihue and araucarias. Until reaching the first two look up points, the trail is quite easy.

 

sierra nevada trail conguillio
Ancient tree forest

 

Afterwards, when reaching 1.600 meters above sea level, the views get really magnificent. In fact, we can admire the Llaima volcano exhibiting its cone-shaped silhouette. At its feet lies the Conguillio lake.

 

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

 

In addition to the many stunning hiking trails available in the park, crossing through the national park by bike is the best eco-friendly way to visit the area. From Temuco airport, our supported bike route offers a well-paved section, cutting through farm lands in the rolling hills of La Araucanía region.

 

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

 

Riding alongside the Llaima volcano, we get to enjoy the landscape of the Mapuche land with smooth hills and scenic nothofagus tree forests in the middle of green meadows.

 

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

 

When entering the park, we easily witness how the high volcanoes have shaped the landscape of the Conguillio national park.

 

Check out this great adventure in our Multisport Tour in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District and Patagonia.

 

Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

Another natural treasure of the Kutralkura Geopark is the Malalcahuello National Reserve. Interestingly, this territory might be one of the most outstanding attractions to visit in Chile. Geographically, the landscape is deeply marked by volcanic and glacial activity. The main natural actor is the Lonquimay volcano (2.820 meters above sea level).

 

mountain bike lonquimay chile
Mountain biking around the Lonquimay volcano

 

Not without mentioning the presence of the “Cráter Navidad” that ended its last eruptive process in 1990. As a result, the Malalcahuello National Reserve features a unique surreal landscape that blends recent volcanic slags with ancient forests of araucaria trees.

In summer, our favorite outdoor adventure is mountain biking at the foothills of the Lonquimay volcano, passing through pristine forests of araucaria trees. On top of it, we get to connect with the pewenche Mapuche community. During this cultural encounter, they share with us their cosmovision and ancestral knowledge, and why their relationship with the araucaria tree is very close.

Watch the great adventures we had with our international partners H+I Adventures and Evoc in the Malalcahuello National Reserve.

 

 

 

Chile’s Capital of adventure tourism: Pucón

The strong omnipresent figure of the Villarrica volcano is without a doubt the highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. At his feet, the quaint mountain cities of Villarrica and Pucón stand around the Villarrica lake. The latter is actually the capital of adventure tourism thanks to the many outdoors activities it offers. Actually, Pucón is consolidated as a world-class destination.

 

pucon villarrica volcano
Pucón and the Villarrica volcano

 

Around Pucón, exploring the crystalline lakes and rivers, in addition to the incredible trails located on the foothills of the Villarrica and Lanín volcanoes are surely the best adventures to experience in this area. Moreover, you are always surrounded by ancient forests and get to connect directly with the roots of the Mapuche, the first inhabitants of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

Exploring the hiking trails around the Villarrica volcano

Either by bike or by foot, we love to visit the best attractions around Pucón.

Villarrica volcano hike

 

Located near the Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area that is characterized by the majestic volcanoes, native tree forests, rivers and lagoons.

 

Villarrica volcano hike
Villarrica volcano hike

 

Dominating the landscape, the imposing Villarrica volcano (2.847 meters) is the greatest attraction. In the Mapuche culture, they call it the Rukapillán, which means “house of the spirits”. From the open crater, we can see flowing lava.

Hiking up to the summit of Chile’s most active volcano is definitely a must-do.

 

Cycling around Pucón

 

On the other hand, pedaling through this ancestral territory might be what we love to do the most. In fact, given the huge variety of trails, Pucón is actually the perfect place for every kind of biker.

Indeed, if you fancy more paved terrains, road cycling towards the Andes mountain range between volcanoes, lakes and the quaint countryside is definitely an authentic experience. What’s more, we love to relax at natural hot springs after spending an active day on our bike.

 

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

 

But if you are more into dirt and gravel roads, mountain or gravel cycling through Pucón’s nature is for you. For mountain biking, our favorite spots to pedal are between the Lanín and Villarrica volcano, an incredible territory of ancient forests and lagoons.

And because sometimes videos speak louder than words, check the mountain bike adventures we had with our international partners H+I Adventures and Specialized Bicycle.

 

 

Furthermore, we also added a new modality to our bike tours around Pucón. Indeed, in Amity Tours, since the pandemic, we’ve been actively exploring new routes to gravel bike. With our team of nature lovers, we’ve been gravel cycling the blow-minding trails that Pucón’ surroundings feature.

 

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

 

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

 

Seven-Lake Circuit

 

This circuit might be the most representative of Chile’s Lake and Volcano district. As indicated, there are no less than 7 lakes of extraordinary beauty: Calafquén, Panguipulli, Riñihue, Pullinque, Pellaifa, Neltume and Pirihueico.

 

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

 

As you cycle the Seven-lake circuit, you can enjoy and feel the presence of the Valdivian Rainforest and the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano, the main figure. With a strong Mapuche cultural identity, exuberant nature and also natural hot springs, this circuit has developed as a major tourist destination in Southern Chile. One of the natural attractions is the famous Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, an important center of biodiversity and endemism.

 

 

Every summer, we enjoy cycling the incredible seven-lake route with the imposing nature surrounding us.

 

Llanquihue Lake

 

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

 

Located in the Los Ríos region, the Llanquihue lake is Chile’s second largest lake and is characterized by the strong blue color of the water. Depending on the weather, it is possible to appreciate the reflection of the Osorno volcano. The cities of Puerto Varas and Frutillar settle at the shores, famous for their beaches and a strong German architecture.

Truth to be said, the area is a true paradise for every cyclist. In fact, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bicycle lane that borders the Llanquihue lake (82 kilometers). It starts from Puerto Varas and reaches Ensenada, where it forks towards the Petrohue waterfalls up to Las Cascadas.

 

cycling chile
Cycling around the llanquihue Lake

We give thanks to each moment shared with our friends from all over the world. During this great summer season, we loved to connect again to share beauty of the Lake and Volcano District.

Stay tuned for our next active adventures!

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

Playa puacho chile

Home of the Mapuche indigenous people, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District has a wide range of natural and cultural highlights. At Amity Tours, we are always exploring new routes or beautiful sites, and yet we still get surprised about the great diversity. Recently, we went on to discover the Pacific coast of La Araucania region for our newest gravel bike tour. 

 

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

 

During our last scouting trips, we focused more on the mountain part of La Araucania Region. Indeed, we travelled to the amazing Conguillio National Park for some gravel adventures alongside Llaima volcano, in addition to biking alongside the Araucaria trees (Monkey Puzzle Trees) towards Mamuil Malal pass, the border with Argentina.

 

 

In this instance, we wanted to get to know more in depth the Pacific coast side of La Araucania Region. Thus, we started at the Temuco Airport (ZCO) and drove towards the west, passing through the town of Freire. There, we visited a very charming lady with their famous handicrafts. 

After a nice lunch at Teodoro Schmidt, we went on the gravel roads until arriving at the famous Budi Lake. 

 

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

 

Facts about Budi Lake

 

In Mapudungun, “Budi” means “salty” and it is the only salted lake in Chile. The Budi Lake is located near the Pacific coast of La Araucanía , and is part of the county of Puerto Saavedra.   

Comprising a total area of 65 square kilometers, the lafkenche (“men of the sea”) communities inhabit around the Budi Lake. As one of the last biodiversity reserves of La Araucanía Region, it is home to almost 200 native flora, in addition to 156 species of endemic fauna. 

Throughout history, the steady raising of the ocean and tidal cycles have been sculpting the lake. But in 1960, a huge earthquake permanently shaped the Budi lake since wide areas of low altitude were flooded forever.

During our stay at Llaguepulli at Budi Lake we got to know a few families of the Mapuche Lafkenche community. We had a nice chat around the bonfire at their typical ruka and enjoyed a tasty home made dinner. 

 

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

 

Mapuche Lafkenche

 

The Lafkenche group mainly lives by the Pacific Ocean and around the Budi Lake. Their traditional house is a ruka lafkenche, whose construction is mainly covered by the kuna, a plant of the territory. The main feature of the typical housing is the stove located at the center of the house where the family and invited guests meet.

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

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

 

Fresh Seafood Mapuche lunch
Fresh Seafood lunch

 

Local handicrafts

 

One of my personal goals when travelling to the Budi lake was finding one of the famous pilwa bags. I have been looking for it for a long time, but wanted to buy it directly from a local producer. 

On our way around the Budi lake, I found a very friendly Mapuche woman offering me one of her bags. Of course I did not doubt any second and bought one of her self-made treasures. 

What makes these bags so unique?

The pilwa is part of the identity and craft tradition of the Mapuche Lafkenche who live around the Budi lake. They are made from the plant known as  “chupón” (Greigia sphacelata), a vegetable fibre that grows around the lake. This specific plant is giving rise to basketry products such as bags, baskets and key rings. A 100% biodegradable material which offers a great alternative to the plastic products generating a vast amount of waste. 

As part of my own Zero Waste philosophy, I love finding local, climate friendly products and contributing to the local circular economy. Something that is also reflected in our company’s values like the Zero Waste Challenge. Also check out our Sustainable Practices

 

Mapuche pilwa bag
Traditional Pilwa bag

 

After a very unique night spent in one of the traditional Rukas, we woke up with the sound of the singing birds and the mooing cows, in addition to the familiar smell of the bonfire that provided us with heat during the night. 

The generous breakfast gave us the energy to continue our adventure in the Pacific coast of La Araucania.

  

 

Puacho Beach

 

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

 

Only 11 kilometres from the small village of Llaguepulli, we reached the beautiful Puacho beach. Several installations give evidence to the ritual ceremonies (Nguillatun and Traditional Horse Racing) taking place at this beach. 

Bordering the Pacific Ocean we enjoyed great unpaved roads and spotted a Lile cormorant colony (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) on the northern side of the beach. The lile, or red-legged cormorant is an endangered bird and one of the most beautiful cormorants in Chile. We could observe their spectacular flights and hunting activities while enjoying the nice ocean breeze. 

 

cormorant lile
The Cormorant Lile inhabit the Pacific coast of Chile

On the northern end of the Budi lake and turning west to the Pacific Ocean we got to the city of Puerto Saavedra.

 

Puerto Saavedra

 

Puerto Saavedra is the main urban center of the Saavedra county. This place, which in Mapudungun means “The melody of the river when it sounds” is located in front of the river mouth of the Imperial. In addition, here the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Budi lake and Imperial river converge. 

The city was founded by the sea in 1887 by Cornelio Saavedra. However, the 1960 tsunami devastated the town, which later had to be rebuilt behind the dunes of the sector.

There, we enjoyed a tasty and fresh seafood lunch looking at the riverside. Afterwards, we continued our journey passing by the city of Carahue and Nuevo Imperial. 

On our way to the nice little town of Capitan Pastene, the pine plantations predominated the landscape and gave evidence to the importance of the wood production in this area. 

 

Capitan Pastene Araucania
The landscape around the village of Capitan Pastene

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

 

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

 

The Italian and Chilean traditions blend together in a unique way in Capitán Pastene. Indeed, the original recipes have been transferred from generation to generation as well as its inhabitants’ hospitality. 

Capitán Pastene is the village that illustrates and represents the Italian migration, specially those italians from the Emilia-Romagna region. In fact, its tradition has remained unchanged as of now. There, we can visit the pasta factories and buy artisanal sausages and hams. But above all, you can also taste the original recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

 

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

 

The smell of fresh pasta, real prosciutto and Espresso transferred me to one of my beloved little italian towns visited during all the holidays in my childhood. Nothing prepares you to dive into this little Italian oasis.

Capitan Pastene is surrounded by pine plantations, small traditional towns and Mapuche communities, that is why you would never expect an italian town in the middle of that surrounding. We stayed at an Italian-Family owned Hotel L’Emiliano. 

 

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

 

L’Emiliano is one of the first tourist businesses of the area. Besides offering accommodation for families and couples, this warm and spacious place also provides a rich and varied gastronomy. Indeed, its unique flavors and food combinations will take you straight to Italy. 

As a result, the menu features delicious fresh homemade pastas stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables and seafood. Not without mentioning the desserts delighting the palate with tiramisu or strawberry panna cotta.

 

Prosciutto Factory in Capitan Pastene Araucania
Prosciutto Factory in Capitan Pastene

Unmissable sites at Capitan Pastene

Walking around the nice little town, we could feel the efforts of the Italian immigrants due to the beautiful buildings and unmissable sites, such as:

  • The church of San Felipe de Neri, located in front of the main square. Since 1943, the church has been commemorating Saint Philip Neri, who was born in Florence, Italy.
  • Cinema Pastene. As the oldest movie theater in Chile, this cultural heritage belongs to the Viani Family. And what’s more, the place has maintained its original structure and design since its construction (year 1016).
  • The Prosciutto de Don Primo Cortesi museum. This typical Italian character reflects in a special way the settler from Emilia Romagna.
  • The Molino Rosatti. Built in 2016, this mill has ever since been keeping secrets and anecdotes of the new village Capitan Pastene.

I enjoyed visiting this authentic village a lot, but at the same time feeling curious about the other interesting places of La Araucania region to visit. 

Leaving little Italy behind, and only driving a few kilometers we immersed ourselves into a total different surrounding: the Kuel valley.

 

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

 

Kuel Valley

 

 

From ancestral times until the 19th century, the Mapuche communities constructed artificial and sacred earth mounds with the shape of a volcano. According to the anthropological study of Tom Dilehay, these mounds were used to bury the important persons and to serve the machis to feed the relationship between the ancestors and the living population. Moreover, the local family members used them as a map or as a reference physical node for families and lineages in the community.

In Purén-Lumaco valley, we can find the highest concentration of earth mounds in Chile. In effect, there still exist more than 300, which are more than 1,500-years-old. Thanks to them, we can learn more about the oldest monuments and rituals of the Mapuche people.

Inside the kueles, there is soil and material which come from other parts of the valley. This means that this work would have required the effort of many people. Some kueles are several meters high, which leads to presume that the ones who built the kueles were dedicated to this activity.

With this new knowledge I really got curious about the local Mapuche traditions, which vary depending on the geographic conditions in which each Mapuche group is settled. Indeed as people of the land (Mapu Che) they adapted their traditions due to the local conditions. That is why we can find differences between the Mapuche Lafkenche, Wenteche, Pewenche and Nagche. 

 

Mapuche Nagche, the human identity of the Nahuelbuta mountain range

 

In Mapudungun, Nag Mapu means “Land of the plains”.

The territory of the Nagche group skirts the southeast side of the Nahuelbuta mountain range. At first sight, the differences between the other territorial identities are hard to distinguish. One of them is the way to speak the native tongue Mapuzungun. Indeed, there are phonetical differences in how the Wenteche and Lafkenche speak Mapuzungun.

Another different aspect is the clothing. For example, the Nagche women decorate their clothes and plait with bright-coloured wool, or with silver inlaid wrappers. Also, they wear one-coloured aprons with breastplates, just like the blouses. In other territories, the women wear blouses and floral aprons. 

Moreover, we can notice distinctions in their ancestral housing. Actually, the traditional Nagche “ruka” has an oval plan, the roof is made with straw bundles and the side walls are made with wood. 

Whereas the Lafkenche ruka has a circular plan and both the roof and sides are covered with straw. Finally, the Pewenche ruka has a square plan, and the roof is made with a structure resistant enough to support the weight of the snow.

 

ruka lafkenche mapuche araucania
Traditional Lafkenche ruka

 

In their spiritual realm, the Nagche have been integrating the accordion to traditional music instruments in their prayers when praying or performing healing rituals such as Machitún or We Tripantu.  

Another difference in the spiritual part of the Nagche culture, the integration of the cinnamon tree as an element of great importance during the spirituals prayer and healing rituals. Unlike the nagche, the wetenche and lafkenche groups in La Araucanía Region commonly use the maqui, colihue and laurel trees.

In addition, it is worth noting as they live by the Nahuelbuta mountain range, the nagche easily have access to the pine nut, the fruit of the ancient monkey puzzle trees that grow in the region. But more importantly, they also have access to countless medicinal plants. 

 

Mapuche Museum at Purén

 

Mapuche Museum Puren Araucania
Mapuche museum in the city of Puren

 

Another great place to learn about the history of the Mapuche is the very interesting Museo Mapuche de Purén, located in the historical park of Purén overlooking the town. There you can find archaeological pieces, textiles and crafts. 

 

The threats of the forestry plantations

 

Nowadays it is quite hard to distinguish the kuels or other important mapuche sites in this area. That is why you will always have to be accompanied by a local Mapuche leader, who can explain to you the historical and actual use of the ceremony spots. 

 

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

 

Unfortunately, as a consequence of the forestry plantations and the agriculture, the ecosystems of the area have been heavily degraded and fragmented. Thus, the native vegetation has reduced to small sectors such as the Nahuelbuta National Park and the Contulmo Natural Monument.  

From an environmental point of view, the forestry plantations are the major contributor to the drought currently present in La Araucania region. Indeed, the planted trees by the industry like pine and eucalyptus are high water consumers. As a result, this has not only caused the social and economic poverty of the area, but the drought has also affected culturally. A clear example of this: the decrease of the plants ancestrally used as natural medicines.

That is why it is so important keeping as much protected area as possible. One very good example is the beautiful Nahuelbuta National Park.

 

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

Nahuelbuta National Park

 

Founded in 1941, the Nahuelbuta national park is located on the highest zone of the Nahuelbuta mountain range, in La Araucanía Region. One of the last strongholds where the araucaria araucana lives, it has beautiful hiking trails and natural lookout points.

 

nahuelbuta mapuche people chile
Nahuelbuta national park

 

The park covers an area of 6,832 hectares, characterized by big forests of araucaria trees, most of them are thousands-year-old. As as specie native to the Andes mountain range, the Nahuelbuta national park is responsible of its protection.

You can hike 2 main walking trails in the Nahuelbuta national park. The first one is Piedra El Águila located 1.460 meters above sea level. There, you can find a lookout point with a spectacular view over the Andes mountain range, the valley, the Pacific coast and ocean. Second, the Cerro Anay (1,450 m.) offers a 5-kilometer hiking trail with stunning panoramic views over Los Nevados de Chillán, and the Villarrica volcano.

Back home I felt so grateful for the amazing opportunity to learn about the Lafkenche and Nagche culture and to enjoy the great trails on the coastal side of the Budi Lake. Not to forget the short excursion to little Italy, which stayed in an interesting contrast to the Mapuche culture and invited me to learn about the colonial history of Chile. 

Pacific coast Mapuche La Araucania
Pacific coast in La Araucania

Scouting New Gravel Bike Routes – Conguillio National Park Chile

gravel bike conguillio chile

Last week, we celebrated the re-opening of Conguillio National Park by exploring new gravel bike routes. With the Llaima volcano always at sight, we explored the park across colorful ancient monkey-puzzle tree forests.

 

Since 2003, Amity Tours has been the leading adventure travel operator of the Lake and Volcano District, Chile’s world-class destination. Among our main domains of expertise, cycling the incredibles routes of southern Chile is our main specialty, and the year 2021 marked a milestone in the history of Amity Tours.

 

 

gravel bike chile
Specialized Diverge E5 and the Villarrica volcano

 

Indeed, we decided to renew our bike tours with the new gravel modality. As we all know, the gravel bikes are buzzing in the world of cycling, and we certainly could not stay apart. Since the arrival of our new gravel bike fleet, we have been working on the best cycling way to explore the off-the-beaten routes of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

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

 

What is a Gravel Bike?

 

elite gravel chile

 

A gravel bike is a drop-bar bike designed to let you ride over many different surfaces. The drop handlebar and road bike-like design mean that you can make good progress on the road, but with wider tyres, lower gearing and stable handling you can also head off-the-beaten tracks.

A gravel bike will typically give you a more upright riding position than road bike geometry, with a longer head tube and shorter reach. That should result in more comfort on long rides and also lets you shift your weight around to tackle obstacles and off-road descents.

 

Scouting new routes in the Lake and Volcano District

 

Finally, we could change the office seat for a bike saddle and explore the routes we previously designed at our desks with a bike route planner software. Armed with a bunch of zero-waste snacks, bicycle tools and good mood we hit the road towards Conguillio National Park.

 

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

 

 

Travelling in times of COVID-19 is a big privilege. Thus, after 1 month of lockdown, we felt so grateful to be able to visit again one of the most beautiful parks of Chile. Starting from our operation center based in Pucón, Chile’s capital of adventure travel, we initiated the road trip on our pickup.

During the first 70 kilometers, we tracked routes on GPS, searching the most beautiful roads and trails, in addition to enjoying the spectacular views over the Villarrica lake and volcano. Moreover, we took advantage of the moment to stop by our beloved and exclusive Santa Amalia Polo Lodge.

 

colico lake chile
Colico Lake at Santa Amalia Lodge

 

Gravel Biking in Conguillio National Park

 

 

gravel bike conguillio chile
Entrance of Conguillio National Park

 

Conguillio National Park is located in La Araucania Region, approximately 110 kilometers from Temuco city. Without a doubt, Conguillio is one of the highlights of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, and part of the Kütralkura Geopark by UNESCO. Indeed, with 60,831 hectares and altitudes ranging between 700 and 3,125 meters above sea level.

More importantly, the unparalleled beauty of Conguillio National Park is mostly expressed in the native thousand-year-old Araucaria tree forests and also the remarkable lava flows like long black scars drawn in the landscape. Truth to be said, the landscapes are impressive: the active Llaima volcano (3,125 meters), the extinguished Sierra Nevada volcano and the pristine Verde, Captrén and Arcoiris lagoons.

 

llaima volcano conguillio
Llaima volcano

 

Upon arrival at the park, we could immediately observe the presence of the Llaima volcano on our left-hand side. This volcano is the highlight of Conguillio National Park. Historically, the Llaima volcano is one of the most active in South America, and one of the most voluminous in the southern Andes.

 

gravel cycling chile
Cycling alongside Truful Truful Canyon

 

Afterwards, we kept pedaling until arriving to the famous Truful Truful Canyon. There, we could observe the fantastic 20-meter waterfall, along with the geological and eruptive history of Conguillio National Park. In other words, standing in this special part of the park is like a trip to the past. Indeed, it reveals how the Llaima volcano and the effects of the ancient glaciers deposited in the valleys haven been shaping the landscape for the last thirteen thousand years.

These surprising changes are projected in layers of land that were eroded and cut vertically by the effect of the Truful-Truful River.

 

 

gravel conguillio truful truful
Impressive Truful Truful Canyon in Conguillio

 

Following our adventures, we kept gravel cycling towards the andean volcanic lagoons. We first arrived at Laguna Verde (green lagoon) that connects with the Truful Truful river and through which it drains. At this time of the year, the water level is at its lowest point and the lagoon seems to be very small. During the rain season, and especially in spring,  we can appreciate the full size and greenish color of the lagoon.

 

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

 

Right after, we entered the extensive colorful temperate-rain-forests of ancient and native Nothofagus trees. On the way, we stopped by the Arcoiris Lagoon. Formed by the damming of the waters of a estuary, the lagoon is product of lava flows from the Llaima volcano, the great sculptor of the landscape of Conguillio.

 

 

 

 

Following the smooth gravel road, we finally reached the impressive Araucaria trees. These monkey-puzzle trees with the Sierra Nevada Volcano in the background let you feel like reaching another world. We even spotted two Condors overflying the forest. What a majestic animal, flying through the wind with its enormous wings.

 

 

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

 

Finally, we reached our last point of interest: the Captrén Lagoon. The Lagoon doesn’t cease to surprise us with the dozens of trees submerged in the water, which can be easily seen.

The water is a mix of green, deep blue and transparent color, making this lagoon a unique place. There, we can also admire the contrast between the volcanic remains surrounding the Captrén, and the lush forests of intense green color.

 

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

 

Visiting the Conguillio National Park in autumn is just a blast. The golden-colored native forests and stunning sunsets invite to fill your camera with unforgettable pictures, and fill your heart with strong energy from Mother Nature.

 

 

Amity’s best choice of accommodation: La Baita Conguillio

 

la baita conguillio chile
Aerial view of La Baita Lodge during autumn season

 

La Baita Conguillio is Chile’s first ecolodge. Pioneer in the area, with a recognized prestige for the quality and warmth of the services delivered. La Baita Lodge is equipped with 6 comfortable rooms designed with native wood and looms, added to large windows that overlook a ravine from where the wonderful araucarias hang.

 

 

double room la baita
Double room in La Baita lodge

 

The restaurant offers a healthy and organic menu with products from local suppliers, while its SPA offers great relaxation with a massage room and several hot-tubs amomg the native forest.

 

hot tub la baita
Hot tub at La Baita Lodge

 

And not to forget the famous hot-tub under the open sky! Can you imagine a better way to relax your muscles after a challenging biking day? We felt so lucky! Arriving at the lodge and immersing ourselves into the warm water, watching the starry sky and chatting about the beautiful day we just spent together!

 

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

 

Contact us for more info about our active trips in the Conguillio National Park, and check out Instagram and Facebook to follow our adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

Chile Lake Volcano District – Araucanía Andina

araucania andina lake volcano district

La Araucania Andina is located 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile. Geographically, this destination is formed by two large mountain areas: the Lonquimay volcano and the Llaima volcano, hence the outstanding volcanic activity of the area. Demographically, the core historical-cultural identity is strongly marked and linked to the original Pewenche people, the first inhabitants of La Araucania Region.

 

araucania andina chile
Map credit: Araucania Andina Travel

 

More than just a destination, it is where starts the famous Lake and Volcano District of Chile. The main natural attraction in this special part of La Araucanía Region is the Kütralkura UNESCO Global Geopark. There, you can witness how the volcanic activity has been shaping for ages the impressive landscapes of southern Chile.

 

araucania andina lake volcano district

 

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

 

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

 

Kütralkura Geopark

 

Area of globally recognized biodiversity, Kütralkura is Chile’s first geopark. With six protected wilderness areas of diverse landscape, 5 volcanoes, and a geological history covering the last 250 million years, it in fact is no surprise that UNESCO declared this outstanding territory the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve in 1983. Dominated by the presence of the Llaima, Sierra Nevada, Lonquimay, Tolhuaca and Nevados de Sollipulli volcanoes, the notable geological features are of mainly volcanic, tectonic and glacier character.

 

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

 

The richness of the Kütralkura geopark does not solely lie on its natural wonders. But also on its people who play a big part in the culture of this ancestral territory. First inhabitants of Southern Chile, the Pewenche are an indigenous subgroup belonging to the Mapuche community.

Pewenche people take their name from their dependence for food on the seeds of the pewen (pehuen) or monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana). They consider the Araucaria tree as their Mother and protector.

 

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

 

It should be noted that the Pewenche have their own cosmovision, social system, and ancestral arts. In addition, they have great knowledge and wisdom related to the use of medicinal plants (known as “Lawen” in their Mother tongue). In Mapudungun, “Kütralkura” means “stone fire”.

 

Tolhuaca National Park

 

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

 

Located on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range, the Tolhuaca National Park is a spectacular scenery of native flora and fauna. With 6.474 hectares of Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) forest, the geological formations shape the characteristic mountainous reliefs of the park. Moreover the presence of the Tolhuaca volcano also highly contributes in this landscape composition.

 

Laguna malleco tolhuaca park
Malleco lagoon, Tolhuaca National Park.

 

In the Tolhuaca National Park, you can easily access Laguna Malleco by a good trail that does not take more than an hour to hike. There, you can walk through a forest of coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and araucarias, leading to great views towards the Malleco waterfall. In addition, the hiking trail offers the the opportunity to also visit the Culebra waterfall. 

 

malleco waterfall tolhuaca
Malleco waterfall

 

Conguillio National Park

 

The Conguillio National Park is located in the heart of the Kütralkura Geopark, highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Originally, with an area of 60,832 hectares, the Conguillio used to form two different parks: Conguillio National Park and Los Paraguas National Park. Then they merged and formed the current park. 

In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native language, the word Conguillio is “Ko-nqilliu”. The meaning is “pine nuts in the water”, or “to settle by the pine nuts” based on the abundance of araucarias (known Monkey puzzle tree) and the existence of lakes surrounding the volcanic area of the park.

 

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

 

Among its main attractions, the Llaima volcano (3.200m) stands out the most. Dominating the landscape, the volcano is surrounded by its lakes of volcanic formation and its forests of ancient araucarias. What’s more, the forests of this native tree are 1,200 year-old!

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) refers to the Conguillio National Park as one of the last refuges in the World to preserve the landscape where dinosaurs lived. In this place, the UK’s broadcaster filmed part of the documentary “Walking with Dinosaurs“, more specifically the chapter centered on the Upper Cretaceous: “Death of a Dynasty”.

 

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

 

 

Our favorite activity to do when visiting the Conguillio National Park is hiking the Sierra Nevada trail, a high volcanic mountain range.  The trail starts near the Conguillio Lake, and crosses a spectacular forest of araucaria trees. During the hike, there are three scenic viewpoints over the lake; the trail culminates in a large open viewpoint, outside with great views over both Llaima volcano and Conguillio lake.

 

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

 

Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

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

 

 

Located in the northeast part of La Araucanía Region, Malalcahuello is the must-see place to visit in Chile. Indeed, the volcanic and glacial activity of the Lonquimay volcano (2.865 meters) has strongly been shaping the landform of the reserve. With the Christmas crater (cráter Navidad) that completed its last volcanic eruptive process in 1990, the Malalcahuello Reserve is more like a surreal landscape where recent volcanic slags combine with ancient araucaria forests.

 

 

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

 

As a result of the volcanic geography, the 31.260 hectares stand out for its great diversity of flora and where the native forest manifests in thousands of colors and forms, with streams of crystal-clear waters descending from the Andes mountain range.

From July to mid-October, the Malalcahuello National Reserve is Amity‘s favorite place to be. In effect, the area is best known to be a great host for skiing in Southern Chile. Proof of that are the yearly visits of international ski racing teams training in the Corralco Ski Resort, a world-class destination well-known for its great snow conditions and the exuberant surroundings of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Riding across the reserve surrounded by thousand year-old araucaria trees, with the Lonquimay and Tolhuaca volcanoes at sight, and our MTB is a true travel adventure experience we love to do. More than a bike experience, it is also a great opportunity for a cultural encounter with the Pewenche. Sharing with them their traditions, culture and culinary specialties is the best way to learn about the human side of La Araucania Region.

 

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

 

The Andean ancestral legacy of La Araucania Region: the Pewenche culture

 

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

 

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

 

It is not without saying that the Pewenche consider the araucaria as a sacred tree thanks to its medicinal properties. Thus, we understand that their ancestral culture is closely related to the natural environment in which they live. Likewise, they maintain a deep bond with their territory of origin. Hence understanding that the land cannot be separated from culture and identity.

 

araucaria tree
Bark of Araucaria tree

 

This intertwined connection explains the tremendous importance of the first inhabitants of La Araucanía Region. Every corner of this Andean territory has a history linked to the processes of the Pewenche through time.

If you are interested in visiting this area, please send us an email to schedule a call with one of our Trip Design experts.

Experience the rich union between the Pewenche ancestral culture and the beautiful nature of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Ask about our best active travel adventures and discover the incredible diverse landscape and history of La Araucaria Region.

 

 

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

Gravel Bike Tours in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

gravel bike chile

Road or Gravel Bike Tour in the Lake & Volcano District of Chile, that is the question.

 

 

gravel bike amity
Amity’s bike fleet: Trek Domane 7 SL model and Specialized Diverge Elite E5

 

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.

 

chile lake volcano district
Lanín Volcano (3.747 meters), the tallest peak in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District. Villarrica National Park

 

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!

 

road cycling chile
Road cycling the German Settlers’ Route alongside Llanquihue Lake

 

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!

 

road cycling tour

 

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.

 

chile lake volcano district
Lake and Volcano Scenic Route

 

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

 

gravel 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)

 

llaima conguillio
The Llaima volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile.

 

Conguillio Lake

 

The Conguillio Lake originated as a stagnation of waters produced by the constant eruptions of the volcano, the waters coming from the melting of the volcano Llaima and the Sierra Nevada generated over the years a lake of great proportions.

 

Arco Iris Lagoon

 

The lagoon was formed by the damming of the waters of an estuary, product of the lava coming from the Llaima volcano. This water reservoir flooded part of the nothofagus forest, which can be seen through the crystal clear waters of the lagoon.

 

Truful Truful Canyon

 

truful truful
The canyon is a set of waterfalls located in the upper area of the Truful-Truful River. (Photo credit: Manuel Eduardo Fuentes Ramos)

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gravel Bike in Chile

 

2021: A whole new world to explore.

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.

Cycling Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

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.

Review: Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - ADVNTR.cc

 

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.

gravel bike chile

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
  • 2 guides
  • 2 drivers
  • 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!

territorio mapuche
All our bike tours connect with the local Mapuche communities

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.

Gravel Bike en Chile

gravel bike

2021: Todo un mundo nuevo por explorar.

 

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.

 

Review: Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - ADVNTR.cc

 

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

 

gravel bike chile
Cicloturismo en el Destino Lagos y Volcanes de 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
  • 2 conductores
  • 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!

 

territorio mapuche
Todos nuestros tours en bicicleta se conectan con las comunidades Mapuche de La Araucanía.

 

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.