Learn about the Chilean culture

Musician Accordeon

Amity Tours offers more than just a simple trip to Chile. We make sure you learn more about the Chilean culture during all our tours. We would like to share some traditions from our friendly local team.

Active explorations in remote areas surrounded by nature will free our visitors to become part of the place. Adventure trips by Amity Tours will unfold meaningful experiences. We do enable our guests to discover and explore hidden corners, meet local communities and immerse themselves in the Chilean culture. This does reflect not only in our visits to the local indigenous communities but also in our team. You will find a true friend in our experienced and professional guides and drivers. In today’s post, we would like to introduce you to our top drivers, Orlando and Bernardo Gonzalez.

People behind Amity Tours

Our trips would not be possible without the fundamental collaboration of Orlando and Bernardo. These two brothers are not only our most experienced drivers, but also the hosts of our headquarters. Trouble shooters for any kind of unexpected issue before, during and after the trips, our personal mechanics and trailer builders and most important always ready for a nice chat and laugh.

Man Hiking OutdoorMan Chile Van

Thus, both of them started working with Amity Tours in 2007 and helped our company growing during the last 13 years!

They grew up about 45 kilometers outside of Pucón, up in the mountains and far away from civilization. Surrounded by beautiful native forests and Araucarias (monkey puzzle tree). The school was located 12 kilometers away from their house. By foot or horseback, was the only way to get there. So, they spent the whole week down in the school and only got home on the weekends.

Bernardo is not only a very experienced and safe driver. But he also loves riding bicycles. During our spectacular road cycling trips, he helps out whenever there is a mechanical problem. He also jumps on a bike to accompany our clients whenever posible.

Van Sprinter Volcano Flowers

The most fun part for him on the trips is the cultural night. We try to involve a nice evening with great local artists, where we show our traditional music and dance to our guests. This is where Bernardo presents his talent for music.

La Cueca – the chilean traditional dance

In 1979, la cueca was adopted as the national dance of Chile. Its presence can be recognized throughout the national territory, varying the choreographic and musical form according to the geographical area in which it is interpreted. But always preserving a common pattern that makes it a unique and differentiated dance;

The huaso (Chilean cowboy) advances towards the girl he likes the most and offers her his arm. She gets up, accompanying him in a short walk along the hall. The initial steps are very measured, calm, hesitant. The tissue move smoothly and, suggesting the insinuating twist of the Cueca, the huaso chases the fleeing woman, and using the tissue as if it were a soft loop, surrounds her without touching and brings his tissue to her side.

At the end, the huaso begins the shoe-tapping and usually looks like a skills competition with itself until the last lap and the hug and knee land.

In the countryside of southern Chile, the traditional dresses to dance the cueca are the peasant or country dress. The lady uses floral dresses with a petticoat underneath to expand the dresses and see them in broad form, shoes with heels. The man wears trousers sleeved up to the knee, straw hat, shirt and a blanket of red, blue, white colors.

People Party Guitar

Bernardo mentioned that exactly these very unique dress codes are making the dance a real spectacle! “Otra cosa es con guitarra”. (chilean slang which in this context would mean: there is no comparison between a dance in a normal dress or dance in the traditional cueca dress)

Let’s focus on another particularity of the Chilean culture.

The Chilean Slang

You can definitely fill a whole book about Chilean slangs and their meanings. Because of that, most foreigners coming to Chile struggle trying to understand the locals, especially at the beginning! It is part of the chilean traditions, using lots of particular slangs and words while talking. Every region has its particularity, in southern Chile for example people use to talk very fast and kind of sing their words.

Would you like to learn some slangs to survive in the Chilean jungle?

Bernardos favorite one is: Güatita llena – Corazón contento. = Belly full – heart happy. Which means enjoying a nice meal makes you happy.

A word Orlando think is very typical in Chile is: Pucha! = Oops!

Furthermore, some other slangs and words that may interest you traveling to Chile:

  • Andar a lo gringo: To not wear underwear. (We ask ourselves: Do a lot of Americans go around not wearing underwear, or is this just a cultural stereotype?)
  • buena onda! = All right!, great
  • ¿Cachai? = Do you understand?
  • Pololo / Polola = Boyfriend / Girlfriend
  • Guagua = Baby in the mapuche language

Now, you should be prepared for your next trip to our country. That is why our two top drivers would like to invite you to another Chilean custom – join a typical barbecue with a nice cup of local wine.

The chilean wine

Wine Bottle Nature

In Chile we are very proud about our wine production. Thus there is no household in our country without a good bottle of the delicious drink. Bernardo recommends trying the emblematic grape called Carménère.

Amity Tours has developed an amazing Wine Tour that comprehends 5 wine valleys on central area: Maipo Valley, Casablanca Valley, Aconcagua Valley, Colchagua Valley and San Antonio Valley; a unique experience not to be missed. Where you’ll understand and verify why Chilean wines have earn such many prices and great reputation worldwide.

Fully licensed and responsible tour operator

Last but not least, Bernardo and Orlando want to highlight some other reasons why they really like working at Amity Tours. We are a sustainable tour operator, fully licensed and certified and care about our local team not mattering which role they play inside the company’ structure.

We are looking forward to showing you the Chilean culture and the beautiful landscapes in the Lake and Volcano District!

 

 

Villarica National Park Hike to the Glacier

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to join our clients on a hiking trip to the glacier. The day tour to the National Park started off in the little touristy town of Pucon. We picked up our clients from their hotel in the middle of downtown Pucon and we were on our way at 8 a.m. to the Villarica National Park.

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Chile Ranked #1 by Adventure Tourism Development Index 2012

We, Chilean people usually say ¨Pucha que es linda mi tierra¨ which means: ¨Damn, my land is beautiful! Often foreigners who hear us believe that we are just saying that due to high doses of Chilean wine glasses.
Well now, we are not the only ones who think our country is beautiful and the closest thing to paradise where you can develop tourism associated with natural and cultural resources.Continue reading

Mapuche Culture in The Lake and Volcano District

In most of our hiking tours, we get to experience and see how the Mapuche live and who they are.  The Mapuche are the indigenous people of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina.  They share a common social, religious and economic structure as well as their own language called Mapundungun. This group of people makes up about 4% of the Chilean population and they are particularly concentrated in the Araucania Region, the place where most of our Bike Tours, Hiking Tours and Ski tours in Chile take place.

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Ski Resorts of Chile – Lake and Volcano District

 

Nevados de Chillán Ski Resort ( Nevados de Chillán Volcano)

This year with Amity Tours, we will be skiing in this lovely ski center, a place where if you are traveling all the way down south to Chile, you have to ski here! This place is located at 1,530 meters above sea level, in the Bio Bio region.

The ski area of 10,000 hectares has 33 runs, 9 lifts, and one of the longest runs of 6.5 km.  We will be cat skiing, off-piste skiing, and even try out the snowmobiles this place has to offer.  After a long day of skiing, this ski center has Hot Springs! It has 9 pools of this incredible thermal water.

www.nevadosdechillan.com

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Visiting Attractions with Amity Tours Chile: Lakes

Villarrica Lake

The Villarrica Lake is one of the most amazing lakes you will see on our Road Cycling Tours and from the top of a volcano in our Ski Tours.  It is so big that when you are on the shore whether it’s in Villarrica or in the Pucon side, it looks like the ocean.

This beautiful lake is also known as Mallolafquen in Mapuche language (the indigenous people of the area) and in its pre-historic days it was a ¨creataceous lake¨.

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