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 opening borders to international travelers: Who can enter Chile?

chile opening border

The Minsal (Chilean Ministry of Health) introduced the Border Opening Plan, which establishes the requirements to be met by non-resident foreigners in order to enter the country.

 

 

It’s official: on November 23, the Santiago de Chile International Airport will open again for international arrivals. The opening plan created by the Minsal does contain a specific and relevant requirement that has to do with the country of origin.

Thus, it clearly stipulates that the non-resident foreigners who come from (or who have been to) a high-risk country will have to comply with a 14-day lockdown upon arrival on the Chilean soil, even if they count on a negative PCR-test. This measure will be in force for a maximum of two weeks after the date of borders opening. The high-risk countries are those with “community transmission”, according to the Weekly epidemiological update delivered by the World Health Organization.

After this date, whoever comes from the high-risk listed country will be able to enter Chile, with the required travel documents.

Required travel documents to enter Chile

 

Due to the pandemic global situation, since March 18 of 2020, the Chilean borders (air, land and sea) have been closed for non-resident foreigners. The reopening of borders plan considers allowing the entrance to international travelers (either those who have final destination in Chile, and those who only transit in the country).

This plan follows 3 principles: safety, graduality and traceability. It ensures the health safety of the country as the active/contagious cases will be identified, and will not be able to board the plane to Chile. All passengers (of all ages) will be required to submit 3 travel documents when boarding the aircraft, which will be reviewed and required by the airline:

  • The “Travelel Affidavit” form must be electronically completed up to 48 hours before the scheduled flight to Chile. In this form, traveler must provide the contact information, health history and trip details. Also, the traveler agrees to report health conditions during the visit in Chile, under the Traveller Surveillance Period.
  • Before boarding, travelers must present the airline (and attach to the Passenger Affidavit) a negative result of a PCR test for SARS-CoV-2, which will allow them to be exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine. This negative test result must meet two conditions:
    • It shall not be more than 72 hours old, from the moment the test was taken, to the departure time of the flight towards Chile.
    • The test must have been carried out by a laboratory recognized by the local health authority.
    • Before boarding, travelers must present (and attach to the Passenger Affidavit), a health insurance covering the features associated with Covid-19 during the whole trip in Chile.

 

 

Check out the detailed map of destinations according to 5 stages, and where you can travel throughout Chile.

 

The reopening plan will be gradual:

  • The first stage will be the opening of the air border with a single point of entrance. As a result, the Santiago de Chile International airport will be receiving international travelers from midnight on Monday, 23 of November 2020. This means that the other (land, sea and air) border crossing remain closed for non-resident foreigners.
  • The reopening plan maintains the traceability of travelers, to identify outbreaks in time: all travelers who enter the country will remain in a Traveler Surveillance Period for 14 days after arrival. During this period, they will have to report on a daily basis to the Health Authority their location and health conditions, through a system that will be put in place for this purpose. Failure to do so is punishable under article 318 of the Criminal Code.
  • Once arrived in Chile, the visitors will be able to move throughout the country according to the Step-by-Step Plan. Created by the Chilean government, this strategy was established to face the pandemic according to the sanitary situation of each zone in particular, and determines 5 different phases. Each of them include restrictions and specific obligations, and the progress and regression from one particular step to another is subject to epidemiological indicators, healthcare network and traceability of the virus. In particular, traveling from one region to another will be possible only between cities in Phase 3 (Preparation phase), 4 (initial opening) or 5 (Advanced opening).

Find out about all the active travel experiences (cycling, hiking, skiing, multisport or family adventures) available in Chile’s top destinations.

Or simply drop us a line and we’ll help you organize your trip in Chile!

See you soon!

 

 

Luxury Nature Tours in Chile defined by Amity Tours

Relaxing hour at Corralco Mountain Resort

 

 

One traveler’s luxury is another’s ordinary.

For us at Amity Tours, a luxury nature tour is all about the experience, the disconnection and the unique feeling of freedom in a trip throughout Chile.

We’d love to share with you our definition of luxury!

 

Altiplano

 

The philosophy of Amity Tours

 

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

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

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

We are specialized in active travel experiences, with biking, hiking, skiing and multisport tours. What’s more, we understand that active travel goes along with excellent service, comfortable hotels and delicious great local food, wine and beer.

 

Relaxing hour at Corralco Mountain Resort

 

Our definition of Luxury

 

As George Morgan-Grenville once said: “Luxury travel today is defined less by thread count and Michelin stars and more by access to the people, places and experiences that represent all that is authentic about a destination. There’s no denying that comfort factors still apply and high standards of accommodation and dining will always feature on the luxury traveler’s wish list. However, today’s luxury traveler seeks more depth of understanding and immersion into local culture than ever before. People don’t just want to see – they want to participate. The sales process is also critical and whilst the online proposition can be an asset in terms of booking more simple arrangements, clients looking for luxury experiential travel require a deep level of sophisticated knowledge and confidence during the sales process.”

There is no better way in explaining our definition of luxury tours at Amity.

 

Mate tea with Mapuche women

 

 

We definitely do not support luxury tourism without considering the impact it might have for the natural environment. Luxury tourism should never compromise nature, such as helicopter trips over national parks or high speed boat trips on pristine lakes.

To us, comfort doesn’t come in a “heli”. The negative impact of these kind of exclusive adventures for the wildlife is huge. There are many case studies, which prove the negative impact of helicopter flights for the natural surroundings. That is why we don’t think it is worth enjoying a short flight in a fragile environment while there are so many other great ways of connection to special places in the world.

We think that the real luxury on an adventure trip are the unforgettable experiences we make during the voyage. Experiences, which will leave a mark in our memories – as we learn more about a local place and culture.

 

 

Atacama Desert

 

Here are the luxury moments you can find during our nature trips in Chile:

 

  • Reaching natural thermal hot springs after a great cycling day over green rolling hills with the view of three volcanoes. No better luxury moment than relaxing our tired muscles in the thermal waters and listening to the sound of the cold river next to us. Check out this and much more unforgettable experiences in our bike tours.

 

  • Getting to a pristine beach after hiking through a thousand-year-old forests together with local indigenous guides. After the challenging hike in an almost unknown trail, a friendly local family is waiting for you in their typical housing, and offering freshly seafood – from the sea directly to the table. Interested in their ancestral seafood gathering? Join them during an afternoon on their simple wooden boats.

 

 

Mapuche family at their local housing on the pacific coast
Mapuche Huilliche Indigenous community at Mapu Lahual Reserve

 

  • Enjoying a private Yoga session in Atacama, the World’s driest desert, with a professional instructor. After a mystical highlands tour that includes hiking around geysers, we will get back to our very special accommodation. Here we can enjoy a deep connection with the nature and our spirit. This unique Yoga session is one of the many highlights of our Bike and Hike Women Tour in the Atacama Desert.

 

Yoga on our women tour
Yoga session in Atacama Desert, the driest in the World.

 

  • Have you ever dreamed about Backcountry Skiing on an active volcano? When traveling with Amity Tours, you get the opportunity to spot lava after a challenging climb and then enjoy the unforgettable off-piste downhill skiing. A real once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 

Backcountry skiing on the Choshuenco Volcano
Summer Skiing at Choshuenco Volcano, Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve

 

  • Having a private Polo field, an exclusive lake front Lodge and stables full of polo horses to choose from. Santa Amalia Ranch is one of the most exclusive polo getaways in Southern Chile. It is situated next to the pristine Lake Colico, and immersed in the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve.

 

 

Lake boat pier
Santa Amalia Ranch – Colico Lake

 

Ready for an exclusive luxury experience?

 

  • Learning how to make an ancestral recipe from a famous Mapuche chef, while collecting the ingredients as we hike in the forest.
  • Embarking with local fisherman to birdwatching among the sunken forest in Chiloe Island. Feel the untouched nature and listen to the singing of the native birds. Our Conservation Tour is full of magical moments.
  • A great dose of adrenaline during the whitewater rafting on the Trancura, Fuy, and Petrohue rivers. No better way to experience the force of the water and the importance of good teamwork. We are sure that these are one of the luxury moments during our Family Adventures.

 

 

Rafting Rio Petrohue
Petrohue River, Puerto Varas

 

 

  • Horseback ride with panoramic views of the Paine Massif in Patagonia. A truly luxury moment for every nature lover during our Multisport Tour in Patagonia.

 

Horseback riding Tyndall Torres del Paine
Horseback Riding in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia Chile

 

In all of our luxury nature tours in Chile you will experience several “wow” moments.

Our bespoke team of travel designers are experts in curating the best tailor-made luxury travel experience for you. We know how to surprise you with details that make the difference.

What about a cold local brewed beer under an ancient Araucaria tree after an Andes climb?

Or what about a five-star picnic after an unforgettable mountain bike descent on an active volcano?

Or a Chilean folk-dance lesson in bicycle jerseys just because we passed by a traditional trade fair with live music?

 

Gourmet Picnic
Amity’s famous Picnic Table

 

 

Protection of the Environment – Sustainable Tourism

 

We are not only trying to minimize our negative impacts. We even maximize benefits to the environment and local community through different practices such as:

  • Being part of the expert team while creating the first UNESCO Geopark in Chile, Kütralkura (Rock of Fire, in native language).
  • Implementing sustainable tourism practices for the local indigenous communities in Chile.

All this is part of our Responsible Travel Policy, which is defined as following:

We believe and work in the universal standards put forth by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (Based on the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism), and we adopted the criteria specifically in these four areas:

  • Demonstrating effective sustainable management
  • Maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community and minimizing negative impacts
  • Maximizing benefits to cultural heritage and minimizing negative impacts
  • Maximizing benefits to the environment and minimizing negative impacts

As an organization, we formally adopted the Values Statement declared by the Adventure Travel Trade Association – ATTA – of which we are a member.

This is an organization that nurtures and professionalizes the responsible and sustainable development of the adventure travel industry.

 

 Are you ready to experience real luxury nature tours in Chile with us?

 

Hotpot La Baita Ecolodge
Hot Tub at La Baita Ecolodge, Conguillio National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure Travel in Chile With Amity Tours

adventure travel in chile

 

adventure travel chile

ADVENTURE TRAVEL IN CHILE

OUR KEY ELEMENTS: ADVENTURE. PEOPLE. NATURE.

You’ll find these key elements in all of the travel experiences we create.

ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we understand “adventure” as and experience where culture and nature are the main pillars. We specialized in sport activities such as biking, hiking, and skiing, but we also understand that that comes with excellent service, comfortable hotels and great local food, wine and beer.

Adventure is a key concept when defining and creating our trips in Chile and Argentina. Active explorations in remote areas surrounded by nature will free our visitors to become part of the place. Adventure trips by Amity Tours will unfold meaningful experiences that will make our guests return home with enormous vitality. By bike, ski or foot we will enable our guests to discover and explore hidden corners, meet local communities and immerse themselves in the life of the Atacama Desert, Lake & Volcano District and Patagonia. As a result, we have created unforgettable biking, hiking, skiing and conservation adventures.

For instance, imagine yourself cycling Chile’s southern backroads. You will be able to discover a beautiful geopark, riding between pristine lakes and rivers. You’ll share with local indigenous communities while learning about their ancestral knowledge. Moreover, envision yourself and your family or friends hiking through Chile’s most impressive sights such as ancient forests in Patagonia and the Lake & Volcano district, ancient glaciers, fjords and rivers. Or exploring old shepherd trails in the Atacama Desert encompassing huge dunes, salt flats, and endemic fauna including flamingos, vicuñas, condors, foxes, guanacos and pumas.

What’s more, if you love skiing or snowboarding, visualize yourself slowing down and speeding up at will, controlling your descent on ice, knowing how to cope with fresh snow, and handling uncrowded slopes and narrow paths in the most beautiful ski centers in Chile and Argentina. You can ski on and off piste surrounded by Nothofagus forests and active volcanoes in the South of Chile.

We believe that experiencing adventures trips will enhance your attachment to nature and enhance your world view. Travel actively with Amity Tours and feel your body in motion while experiencing a fun cultural exchange.