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

7 reasons to ski in Chile

ski chile

Find out why Amity Tours will make your ski experience in Chile a once-in-a-lifetime trip you won’t regret!

 

skiing chile
skiing chile

 

Chile has a great variety of outdoor activities to do all along the territory. During winter in the Southern Hemisphere, skiing is the best activity to do in the Lake and Volcano DIstrict. Thanks to the proximity with the Andes mountain range, and the presence of the many volcanoes, this country counts on many ski resorts. They can be all appreciated by skiers of every level.

Find out why Amity Tours, as the leader in adventure travel in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, will make you have an amazing ski experience.

 

ski chile
Skiing Choshuenco volcano, Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve

 

Expertise

 

In Amity Tours, all of our team members are passionate skiers. This means we perfectly know what an excellent ski experience has to be made of. As a tour operator providing ski trips since 2003, we make sure your needs are well taken care of. After these many years of experience, we know what our travelers expect of a ski tour.

All of our ski experiences were designed to take you to the best snow Chile and Argentina have to offer. In addition to the best powder, we provide the best prices and great offers for our clients in our ski packages. As a result, we’ve come to be the leading Tour Operator in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

 Professional and all-inclusive service

 

summer skiing chile

 

We are aware that a great adventure can sometimes come with a little bit of risk. Skiing is “the art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at a great personal risk”. However, in our company, we’ll always make sure your safety comes first no matter what.

Our English-speaking guides, besides being excellent skiers, are professional and expert in the field. In addition, they are experienced mountain guides & Wilderness First Responders. Finally, they always carry on with them radios, in case of any emergency.

In other words, our professional team will always provide a safe, friendly and professional service. If you want to get to know more about our guides, check out our staff page here!

On the other hand, we’ve designed our ski experiences in a way that you won’t worry about anything to make the most of your holiday. From luxury hotels & SPAs, good food in selective restaurants and great snow, you’ll surely enjoy each day of your ski trip.

 

Ski on Southern Chile’s active volcanoes

 

villarrica volcano pucon
Villarrica Volcano’s open crater

 

Skiing is the best winter sport in the world, and we absolutely love the feeling when skiing down the slopes. But imagine yourself skiing on an active volcano, with incredible panoramic views over other volcanoes around…

In Amity, we make this dream come true. During our ski experience, you’ll feel the adrenaline of sliding down the most active volcanoes in South America, such as Llaima, Lonquimay or Villarrica Volcanoes.

The best of it ? We take advantage of the unique volcanic activity of the region. How ? We combine the ski activity with the most natural hot springs of the Lake and Volcano District. As a result, we provide the perfect combination of an active day and a deserved relaxing evening.

 

Uncrowded Ski Resorts

 

summer ski argentina
Daily view in Caviahue, Argentina

 

Worldwide, the most known ski resorts in South America are located around Santiago de Chile, such as Farellones, Colorado Valley & La Parva. With Amity, you’ll have a unique ski experience in the usually unknown and uncrowded ski resorts of Southern Chile & Argentina.

Indeed, as our company is based in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, we have plenty of slopes to ski down on active volcanoes. Moreover, the proximity of the border with Argentina makes it easy for us to cross it and head towards excellent ski resorts.

During our 10-Day Ski Tour in Chile & Argentina, you will get to know the best of the ski resorts located in small mountain towns of Argentina and Chile.

 

Summer skiing

 

For many of us ski lovers, the snow season is always and all too short. In Chile, located in the Southern Hemisphere, we give you the opportunity to enjoy snow during summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

In fact, in Chile and Argentina, the snow usually starts falling at the end of June, making the ski slopes ready to ski on at the end of June. It is only until the end of September, with the arrival of Spring season that the ski resorts are closing.

What a great excuse to travel to Chile during winter!

 

chile skiing corraclo
Skiing in Corralco Ski Resort

Ski for any level of experience

 

ski chile huilo huilo

 

If you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert skier, it doesn’t matter. Although most of our tours are designed for intermediate skiers, we make sure to design a tailor-made trip according to your level of experience. Indeed, our professional mountain guides will be your ideal teachers with great ski lessons if you want to give it a try as a beginner.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for any information you might need for your next ski trip in South America.

 

Group or Private Tours

 

ski experience chile

 

We are perfectly aware that skiing is not the cheapest sport to practice in the world. This is why we offer both private tour and both departure dates for group tours.

If you are a group and want to have a private tour, we’ll get the best deals with excellent service. The most important, you get to decide your travel dates, and we make sure you choose the ideal travel dates to enjoy the best snow available.

You are a solo traveler, or you simply want to join a group to make the best of your trip ? Please ask us about our group departure dates available from July to September.

 

ski chile
Ski in Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve

 

If you liked this article, share it with your travel buddies! If you’re still hesitating, drop us a line and will give you the best information regarding this amazing sport called ski! 

Don’t wait any longer and start planning the best ski experience Chile has to offer!

 

 

 

 

 

Cycling Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

cycle lake volcano district

Cycling Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do if you are a bicycling enthusiast. Here’s a list of the top reasons why riding the backroads of Southern Chile is a true once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

 

cycling chile
The smile on Baudio’s face when guiding the road cycling tour in the Lake and Volcano District.

 

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.

 

cycling pucon chile
Starting a cycling day around Pucón surrounded by natural beauties, such as Villarrica Volcano.

 

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

In this blog, you will find out the top reasons why cycling the Lake and Volcano District is an incredible adventure to do in Chile.

 

bike chile
Happy MTB riders getting ready to pedal the volcanic trails of the Villarrica Volcano.

 

Cycling the backroads of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

cycle lake volcano district
Road cycling between ancient Araucaria trees and volcanoes; Mamuil Malal Pass.

 

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

 

road cycling chile
Nice encounter with a South American gray fox; Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.

 

Cycling Chile’s southern backroads is the best way to explore this fascinating part of the country. In other words, you will pedal alongside the Andes mountains, green rolling meadows and through national parks. In addition, you will visit local ethnic villages and relax in soothing natural hot springs.

 

Geometricas Hot Springs Chile
Relaxing after an active day is what we like the most during the bike tours; Geometricas hot springs in Coñaripe.

 

The best ? You will be fully assisted by our team of professional and passionate guides/drivers.

 

lake volcano district
Local guides and drivers: Bernardo, Cristián and Simón (right to left) always happy to assist and help you on the road.

 

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

  • Kütralkura, Chile’s first UNESCO Geopark in the Malalcahuello National Reserve, always with the Lonquimay Volcano watching you.
  • The Andes Mountain Range at the Alto Biobio National Reserve.
  • Pucón, the Capital of Adventure Travel and Villarrica Volcano, Chile’s most active volcano.
  • The 7-Lake Route, Chile’s most scenic route.
  • Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, one of the most awarded landtrusts for conservation.
  • Puerto Varas with the Llanquihue Lake, Osorno Volcano and the Petrohue Waterfalls.

 

cycling lake route
Scenic 7-Lake Route is one of the top highlighs of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District; Gabriela island and Choshuenco volcano at sight.

 

Professional service and safety measures

 

amity tours chile
Amity’s team ready to kick off another cycling day. Bernardo, Marie-Lou, Angela, Gonzalo, Eduardo and Simón (left to right).

 

At Amity, we aim to providing the best travel experiences in Chile. For us, it means that this comes with an excellent service, comfortable hotels and great local food, beer and wine. Secondly, you will really find a true friend in our team of experienced and professional guides and drivers. They will show the best of Chile. Along with them, you’ll get to meet local people at every destination. Finally, they’ll make sure you discover the best hidden places that will take your breath away.

 

petrohue chile
Support vehicle (SAG) in Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park; Calbuco volcano at sight.

 

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

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

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

 

vehicle bikes
Safety and road assistance during bike rides.

Mountain Bike & Road Cycling

 

Being the longest country in the world, Chile has a lot of biking trails to offer. You’ll absolutely get fascinated by the diversity of landscapes at the wheels of your bike.

In the Atacama Desert, we recently have developed our bike and hike tour. As a result, this adventure will allow you to fully appreciate the vastness of the driest desert in the World. You will ride on a mix of asphalt and dirt roads, and mainly on a flat terrain. For such a trip, you don’t need to be a bike expert since the routes are very easy to ride on.

 

bike atacama desert
Cycling around Ojos del Salar in the Atacama Desert.

 

On the other hand, the Lake and Volcano District offers even more biking trails. If you are an adrenaline seeker, or an avid challenger, you will definitely be amazed by our tours and bike routes.

Our 7-Day Mountain Bike Tour was especially designed by Ernesto Araneda, our top cyclist guide. He is the former national champion of XC MTB in 2004 and three times winner of silver medal at the Pan-American Games of XC MTB. This program will take you off the beaten path, including the best bike trails of the Lake and Volcano District. You will absolutely love riding among endemic tree forests or descending the Villarrica Volcano.

 

mountain bike chile
Descending the single track of the Villarrica Volcano.

 

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

 

cycling chile
Road bike ready to ride in the Villarrica National Park.

 

Finally, our last ride, in the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, gives you the opportunity to push your limits. Indeed, you will get to climb the Osorno Volcano and one of the steepest climb of South America. If not Europe.

Want to mix hiking and biking ? Read more about our special travel experience!

 

Chilean Culture and Food

 

cycling chile lake and volcano
Lunch is ready guys !! Local seafood from our Pacific coast.

 

But not everything is about physical activity, adventure and amazing landscapes. Morover, we also make sure our bikers’ belly gets well treated with our delicious Chilean cuisine.

Food in Chile is great and healthy. Likewise, it is one of the highlights of our bike tours. Great wine, fresh and flavorsome produce, seafood and all kinds of meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb and wild boar) will be part of the daily menus. We are prepared to cater vegetarian, pescaterian, gluten free and dairy free food. However, if you are vegan or eat kosher food you may have to be flexible because in this part of Chile we have very limited vegan options and kosher food is not available.

 

chile food
Picnic table with local food and beer.

 

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

 

Sharing “mate” during a special encounter with the Mapuche indigenous community.

 

During the bike rides, you will have all the necessary snacks to refill energy. For lunch, you will either get to eat the typical Chilean food in our selected restaurants, or get to have a buffet picnic, prepared with love by our drivers on a perfect scenic spot.

 

Check out our top 8-Day Road Cycling Tour in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, group departure dates available until April 2022.

What to do around Pucón

Elected Chile’s capital of adventure tourism, and highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, Pucón has so much to offer and lots of outdoor activities to do. Find out the 5 things to do in this beautiful Lake City!

 

 

Villarrica Volcano
Villarrica Volcano

 

Pucón, the dream town of southern Chile, is located at the shores of the Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica volcano. 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile, it belongs to the La Araucania Region.

Lately, this lake city has been recognized world-wide for its ski center, water sports and hiking trails, among many other outdoor activities. Beaches, forests, valleys and the generous nature of Pucón also invite you to dive into the natural hot springs of the area. Between more than 30 excursions you can do around Pucón, you can also access Argentina through the border crossing Mamuil Malal. Thus, it connects the Araucania Region with the Lanín national Park of the Argentinean Republic.

In this post, you will discover what to do in Pucón, and realize why every nature lover and aventurous travelers should add this destination in their bucket list.

 

1) The Villarrica Volcano ascent

 

villarrica volcano chile

 

The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters) is Chile’s most active volcano, and one of the most actives in South America. The idea of climbing it might sound surreal, but is definitely possible to do. It does require a certain level of fitness, but the hike is not technical at all.

You don’t need to bring with you all the mountain gear needed for such activity, since this excursion includes the full equipment. Also, it is very important to know that the weather is very weather-dependent. Indeed, in order to reach the summit, the weather conditions must be optimal: minimal wind and clear sky.

The route of ascent, starting at the foothills of the volcano, allows the most adventurers to reach the open crater. After approximately 4 to 5 hours of hiking, the final reward is the surrounding landscape made of lakes, volcanoes and valleys. If you’re lucky enough, you will get to see some lava flows.

It is worth noting that it is absolutely a hike you cannot miss in Pucón. It is possible to do it all year long, however it is easier to reach the top during spring and summer. In winter, the volcano is totally covered in snow, making the excursion of difficult level.

If you want to climb Chile’s most active volcano, read more about our hiking program around Pucón!

 

villarrica volcano ascent
Villarrica Volcano Climb

 

2) Geométricas Hot Springs

 

Geometricas Hot Springs Chile

 

The Geométricas hot springs are a thermal center, composed of 20 stone pools from 35°C to 45°C. Moreover, they are immersed in the amazing landscapes of native forests of Villarrica Volcano National Park located near Coñaripe.

In addition to enjoying the thermal water and contemplating the landscape, the design is truly unique. Indeed, the facilities were designed by the distinguished national architect Germán del Sol, who subtly intervened the environment, through walkways made of red coigüe wood that connect the different swimming pools.

In Amity, we love to have a good physical activity and then dive in the hot springs!

 

geometricas hot springs
Waterfall at Geometricas hot springs

 

3) Rafting – Trancura River

 

Lower Section

 

rafting pucon chile

 

This outing holds no great dangers and is perfect if you are after a less extreme adventure. It could be a family day-out, a beginner’s introduction to rafting, or a warm-up for the upper river rafting trip. Although it is still exciting and fun!

We invite you to glide through calm stretches of water, admiring the beautiful nature around Pucón.

The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”. Once on the Trancura River, you will experience the full flowing effects of the raft passing over class 3 rapids, along with the sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft.

After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.

 

Upper Section

 

rafting pucon chile

 

This exciting trip is suitable for the ages of 14 to adult and for those looking for lots of excitement without great dangers. Be prepared for 2 hours of pure adrenaline, tackling Class 4 rapids with several drops. The rapids’ names speak for themselves: Last Laugh, Devil’s Throat and Rapid of Fear. There are spectacular views of Villarrica Volcano and smaller Quetrupillán Volcano up the valley.

The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”.

Once on the Trancura River you will experience straight away the full flowing effects of class IV & V rapids along with the booming sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft. Here you will need to row hard to pass over the torrents.

After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.

 

4) Huerquehue National Park

 

huerquehue chile

 

The Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of Los Andes mountain range. 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.

The best way to explore the park is by foot. Indeed, you can choose between various hiking trails crossing the whole territory in which you can observe the local fauna and flora.

 

huerquehue chile

 

The easiest hike is Los Lagos Trail. It is the most popular of the park. The main attraction are the forests of ancient monkey puzzle tree surrounding the lakes on the high area. Observing them might be an overwhelming experience as they make you think about how small and ephemeral the human being can be in front of nature.

In summer, the bravest hikers can swim into the cold water of the lakes. Moreover, you will be able to observe a huge variety of birds like ducks. if you’re lucky, and patient, you might be able to spot the woodpecker and its impressive red head.

 

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

 

5) Villarrica National Reserve

 

villarrica national park
Quetrupillan Volcano at sight

 

Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape.

Dominating the scene, the Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction. In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. In the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.

 

villarrica volcano

 

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.

 

villarrica national park

 

If you are looking for some wild adventures when visiting Chile, Pucón is the place for you to be! 

Contact us for more info about Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!

 

 

 

 

 

Scouting New Gravel Bike Routes – Conguillio National Park Chile

gravel bike conguillio chile

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

 

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

 

 

gravel bike chile
Specialized Diverge E5 and the Villarrica volcano

 

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

 

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

 

What is a Gravel Bike?

 

elite gravel chile

 

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

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

 

Scouting new routes in the Lake and Volcano District

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

colico lake chile
Colico Lake at Santa Amalia Lodge

 

Gravel Biking in Conguillio National Park

 

 

gravel bike conguillio chile
Entrance of Conguillio National Park

 

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

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

 

llaima volcano conguillio
Llaima volcano

 

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

 

gravel cycling chile
Cycling alongside Truful Truful Canyon

 

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

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

 

 

gravel conguillio truful truful
Impressive Truful Truful Canyon in Conguillio

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Amity’s best choice of accommodation: La Baita Conguillio

 

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

 

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

 

 

double room la baita
Double room in La Baita lodge

 

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

 

hot tub la baita
Hot tub at La Baita Lodge

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sustainable Practices at Amity Tours

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

 

Our Zero Waste Challenge

 

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

 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND MUCH MORE.

 

sustainability chileReduce

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

sustainability

Reuse

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

sustainability chile

Recycling

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tourism Declares Climate Emergency

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

Carbon what?

 

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

 

Offsetting your carbon footprint

 

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

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

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

 

Carbon removal or Carbon capture

 

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

 

Getting Carbon neutral

 

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

 

Getting Climate positive

 

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

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

 

 

sustainable chile

 

Amity Tours and Conservation Tourism

 

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

 

Kütralkura – Chile’s First Geopark

 

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

 

 

 

Mapuche Tourism – Valle del Kuel

 

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

 

 

 

Asi Conserva Chile and WWF

 

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

 

 

 

Darwin’s Route Tour in Chiloé

 

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

 

 

sustainable tourism

 

Route of Parks of Patagonia

 

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

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

 

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

 

Wiñolfe Anumka

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

Local is our solution

 

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

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

 

 

Amity Greenhouse waiting for its consumers

Chile Lake Volcano District – Araucanía Andina

araucania andina lake volcano district

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

 

araucania andina chile
Map credit: Araucania Andina Travel

 

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

 

araucania andina lake volcano district

 

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

 

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

 

Kütralkura Geopark

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tolhuaca National Park

 

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

 

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

 

Laguna malleco tolhuaca park
Malleco lagoon, Tolhuaca National Park.

 

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

 

malleco waterfall tolhuaca
Malleco waterfall

 

Conguillio National Park

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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.

Trekking Mapu Lahual Chile – A Personal Experience

A beautiful summer is coming to an end in the Chilean Lake and Volcano District. It is time to remember the great adventures lived during this appreciated season. For me, the outstanding experience during the last months was the unique trekking on the Pacific Coast at Mapu Lahual.

 

mapu lahual chile

 

First of all, I would like to introduce you to the territory we will dive into during the next paragraphs.

Mapu Lahual is an indigenous parks network along the Pacific Coast of Chile, located around 1000 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile, and 100 kilometers North of Puerto Montt.

 

wwf mapu lahual
Mapu Lahual Territory (Source: WWF Chile)

 

The 60.000 hectares count with a high diversity (many of them endemic) Patagonian Temperate Rain Forests. It is worth mentioning that the area is recognized as a hotspot or world-class natural heritage (Mittermeier et al, 2004). Here, you can find the last major expanse of primary coastal forests, coastal olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum), centuries-old larches, lonely beaches and rivers with transparent waters, as well as marine and river ecosystems free of pollution.

 

mapu lahual trekking

 

Mapuche Williche Community

 

The Williche (or Huilliche) are indigenous people who belong to the Mapuche community. In Mapudungun, Williche means “people from the south”, since they are located to the south of the largest Mapuche group, which lives in the regions of La Araucanía and Los Ríos.

 

williche indigenous chile
Señora Mela and her family: Our lovely host at Huellelhue

 

The Williche were exclusively semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers until the 13th or 14th century, before they also introduced limited horticulture. The rich game population, fishing and the gathering of wild pine fruits continued to provide the most important subsistence basis.

 

williche community chile
Williche fishermen

 

In the 16th and 17th centuries, under the influence of the Spaniards, they switched to agriculture (wheat, potatoes) and cattle breeding (llama, cattle, horse). In contrast to the other Mapuche peoples, the Williche lived monogamous.

The Williche owned large canoes to cross rivers and lakes. They must also have had some knowledge of metallurgy as copper jewelry was found on them.

 

 

The ethnic religion corresponds to the Mapuche religion. According to surveys, 10 percent of the Williche still profess the traditional religion, another 10 percent are non-religious and 80 percent are officially Christians. However, the Huilliche Christianity is strongly mixed with traditional elements and the important rituals of the Mapuche still have a central meaning.

Currently, it is estimated that there are only about 20 speakers of Tse süngun, the local variant of the Mapuche language, typical of the current province of Osorno. One of them, Juan Eligio Cumigual, over 80 years old, lives in the community of Manquemapu, being perhaps the southernmost native speaker of the Mapuche language.

 

An unforgettable trekking

 

Without any doubt, the overwhelming natural beauty of the Mapu Lahual park and the hospitality of the local Williche people made this trip an unforgettable one.

We started our trip in the south, at the small fisher town of Manquemapu.

On the way to the small cove, we passed by white sand beaches, where we spot a group of Chilean dolphins. These small and curious dolphins are only found o the coast of Chile. They were jumping with the waves and gave us a perfect welcoming party! What a great beginning of this adventure!

 

Relaxing moments at the beach of Caleta Condor after a challenging hiking day

 

Manquemapu

 

Arriving to the locality of Manquemapu, we parked the car and crossed a hanging bridge by foot. On the other side of the river, a friendly women welcomed us and showed us our campground. On the walking trails we could see many blocks of larch shingles. The larch, or “lawal”, is the characteristic tree of the local forests. In this community, they still use this appreciated wood to export shingles and handicrafts.

 

On the way to the beach “El Galpón” where we saw Chilean Dolphins

 

After setting up our tents, we started a nice hike towards “El Galpón“, a hidden beach. The waves invited us to jump into the cold pacific ocean. While taking a sunbath to dry our wet bodies and hair, a family of Chilean dolphins visited us. They were jumping around in the big waves. We felt so lucky about this natural spectacle!

 

Starting the trail “El Troncal”

 

The first morning on the pacific coast welcomed us with a typical rain shower. Nothing that could minimize our enthusiasm about the upcoming trekking. Today our goal was getting to Caleta Condor. 17.2 kilometers of Valdivian rainforest, steep mountain trails, river crossings, wetland, ancient larches and beautiful lookout points were waiting for us.

 

el galpon mapu lahual

 

As the first few hours of the trekking were leading through deep rainforests, we did not feel affected by the slight rain. Then, as soon as we got to the first plain, the rain stopped and only a slight wind accompanied us.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice picnic lunch at the river side, we had to climb another hill. Yet, our big backpacks felt a little heavier with every meter, but the abundant nature and nice company were worth any effort. Almost at the end of the hike, we could catch some great views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 

caleta condor mapu lahual
Looking at Caleta Condor

 

With every step we got closer to the beautiful white sand beach of Caleta Condor. The sound of the ocean filled us with energy and we run the last meters to the beach to jump into the welcoming waves.

 

Famous Caleta Condor

 

Whitesand beach, green hill, ocean
The famous whitesand beach at Caleta Condor

 

A personal dream came true! While I was traveling to Chile for the first time, I read about the cove of Caleta Condor. I was very much interested in getting to know this hidden place, only reachable by boat or foot. While swimming in the refreshing sea, looking at the small cove with its private beach, I could not believe having reached this spot six years later. Caleta Condor is well known by adventure tourists. Not only it offers an impressive beach but also scuba diving, fishing or seafood gathering, kayaking and a good local gastronomy.

 

kayak caleta condor mapu lahual
Sit-on-Top Kayaking at Caleta Condor, Mapu Lahual

 

Huellelhue Cove, “the place where you swim”

 

Local transport in wooden fisher boats

 

After a cosy night in the tent, listening to the waves, we took another swim in the refreshing ocean. Then, we got ready for our next hiking day. First of all, we took a tipical wooden fishers boat, crossing the Cholguaco river. On the way we could appreciate evergreen forests, whitesand beaches, small wooden houses, birds like great egret (ardea alba) and many others.

Our friendly local guide Lucho led us uphill, where we got spectacular views over the pacific ocean. We were walking through forests of olivillo (Aextoxicon Punctatum) and had to find our way through dense formation of native bamboo jungle. Here is where we appreciated our professional guide, who knew every corner of this abundant rainforest.

After a tasty picnic, we continued our way downhill. We could not believe our eyes when we reached the several kilometer-long whitesand and lonely beach of Rada Ranu. An unforgettable feeling overcame us when we drop our backpacks in the sand and run towards the smooothy waves of the pacific ocean!

 

Beach Rana Ranú
An unforgettable viewpoint overlooking the Beach Rana Ranú

 

Afterwards, we had to cross only a few more kilometers on the beach and through beautiful wetland. At the end of the day, we reached the Huellelhue river, where some friendly locals waited for us.

On their wooden boats we crossed the river and got to a perfect camping spot. Dinner was ready and we enjoyed fresh seafood in a cosy local house. Tonight we set up a nice campfire and shared funny stories.

 

Our todays campsite at Huellelhue

 

As well as Caleta Condor, the small locality of Huellelhue is only reachable by foot or boat. Huellelhue or “Weyelwe” means “the place where you swim”.

 

Course to Maicolpue

 

Enzo, our local boat driver brought us to the hiking trail.

 

Another day in paradise! This morning we woke up with a sunray reaching our tents. The river and surrounded wetland were covered with a silvery mist, which turned the area in a mystical atmosphere. Again we jump on a fisher boat and crossed the Huellelhue river for about 40 minutes. What a great way to immerse ourselves into the local way of life!

With our new local guide José, we started walking through wetland until getting to the base of the next hill. A steep uphill trail through ancient forests followed. We all felt great as the backpacks got a little lighter and our legs were already used to the efforts from the first hiking days. As a result, we reached our lunch spot faster then expected. Finally, we got to our last beach called Tril-Tril. A very small cove with only a few holiday houses. Here we enjoyed our last swim in the ocean and felt so greatful about the passed days in pure nature!

Our last night dinner was a five-star experience in a local cabin. We were attended like queens and enjoyed the homemade bread, smoked sawfish, natural juice, fresh salads and a tipical „pebre de ulte“(mix of seaweed, tomato, onion and coriander).

 

mapu lahual seafood
Fresh seafood and vegetables from the garden

 

What an amazing way to finish this spectacular experience of hiking along the pacific coast. I have been hiking along many beautiful trails around the world but this trekking was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me!

 

mapu lahual Huellelhue River
Huellelhue River

 

 

About me

 

Born and raised in Switzerland, I turned my hobby into my job and worked as a Travel Agent for many years. Always exploring hidden corners around the world. In 2014, I traveled to Chile for the first time. What started as a single-women-adventure turned into a life-changing-trip.

My objective was to travel from Santiago de Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. By hitchhiking or using public ground transportation as close as possible to the local culture and nature.

During this trip, I met my actual boyfriend and father of our little daughter. After years of living in between of two countries, I decided in 2016 to move to Chile and to start my life here. I am still very happy about this decisions, I cannot imagine a better place to raise my child. The abundant nature, wise culture and adventurous friends fill my heart every day with happiness!

Want to know more about the trekking at Mapu Lahual or any other adventure in Chile? Let’s have a chat and I will share my experiences and tips to travel around my beautiful second home country.

Best, Angela

Hiking Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

hiking chile lake volcano district

Hiking the Lake and Volcano District is one of the most rewarding travel experiences to live when visiting Chile. Last week, we had the chance to welcome our first international travelers after 11 months of long waiting. During 2 weeks, with our team of local experts, we explored the hidden corners of the national parks located in Chile’s world-class destination: the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.

 

 

The first Scenic Route of Chile, also locally known as Red Interlagos, is a road network composed of 6 different circuits belonging to 3 regions: La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. Along with the breathtaking landscape of active volcanoes, pristine lakes and thousand-years-old endemic forests, this circuit aim to provide sustainable experiences allowing the encounter between the local inhabitants (Mapuche), the Colonos and Criollos culture, and the unique nature of Southern Chile.

 

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Los Lagos Region

 

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

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

 

puntiagudo volcano osorno volcano
Puntiagudo and Osorno Volcanoes (Photo credit: Ruta Escénica Lagos y Volcanes)

 

With our group of travel adventurers, we explored 3 stunning hiking trails available in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park.

 

Paso Desolación trail hike

 

This trail crosses the national park from the North face of the Osorno Volcano towards the South-East, all the way to the Petrohue sector. Originally, it was a cattle trail used for animal transportation between the Todos Los Santos Lake and the Llanquihue Lake via the Desolación pass.

 

desolacion pass hike
Entrance of the Desolacion Pass trail hike

 

From volcanic scorials to dense forests of nothofagus trees, this trail allows us to travel through dramatic changes in the landscape. Additionally, the excellent panoramic views of the Tronador and Osorno Volcanoes, La Picada hill and the Todos Los Santos Lake are the main prizes of the hike.

 

todos los santos lake
Hiking towards Todos Los Santos Lake

 

El Solitario trail hike

 

El Solitario traik hike is a simple, short and fairly flat route that allows its visitors to appreciate the Osorno Volcano from the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.

 

el solitario trail hike
El Solitario trail hike

 

First, we started hiking through a native forest with the volcano on our right-hand during the entire route. Afterwards we continued passing by a valley covered with lava flows formed by old eruptions. After almost 2 hours of hiking, we finally arrived at the road that leads to Osorno Volcano.

 

el solitario hike
Osorno Volcano from El Solitario trail hike

 

Crater Rojo trail hike

 

crater rojo hike osorno volcano
Crater Rojo trail

 

The Crater Rojo (Red Crater) is a natural attraction located on the South-West slope of the Osorno Volcano (1.400 m.a.s.l). The trail starts at the ski center. During this incredible journey, we could witness how the landscape has been shaped for thousands of years in the course of geological and volcanic actions.

 

crater rojo trail osorno

 

Puyehue National Park, Los Lagos Region

 

The Puyehue National Park is located in an area of great and exuberant natural beauty of the Los Lagos region. With more than 100 thousand hectares, it is a territory where several active and dormant volcanoes are located. In addition, it belongs to the Biosphere Reserve Temperate Rainforests of the Southern Andes.

 

puyehue national park
View of the Puntiagudo and Osorno Volcanoes

 

In ancient times, this area was inhabited by the Huilliche communities (the southernmost branch of the Mapuche culture). Created in 1941, the park has accumulated centuries-old legends that exist since before its institution.

During our adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, we had the change to explore the best parts of the Puyehue National Park.

 

Casablanca Volcano and Raihuen Crater

 

Also called Antillanca, the Casablanca volcano is located in the Puyehue National Park, 77 kilometers from the city of Osorno. This beautiful volcano, of typical conical shape, rises between Puyehue and Rupanco lakes.

 

puyehue park casablanca volcano
View of the Osorno and Puntiagudo volcanoes from Casablanca volcano

 

Geologically, the Casablanca volcano is part of the Antillanca volcanic complex. Due to its low height and low glaciation, the ascent of the Casablanca does not present technical difficulties. As a result, it relatively easy to access one of the dominant summits of the southern Andes.

 

Casablanca volcano ascent
Casablanca volcano ascent

 

There are various alternatives to reach the top. During our visit of the volcano, we had the incredible opportunity to also visit the Raihuen Crater.

 

raihuen crater puyehue
Raihuen Crater trail hike

 

Part of the Casablanca volcanic complex, the Raihuen Crater is located near the Antillanca ski resort. There are no records of eruptions. However, volcanologists believe that the last eruption occurred more than 10,000 years ago.

The hike towards is impressive, as you can witness the special nature of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

 

The presence of the Puyehue Volcano, the Puntiagudo and the Osorno volcanoes, the Cordon Caulle gives us an idea of how unique is this particular area of the Andes Mountain Range.

 

Paraíso Lake

 

paraíso lake puyehue

 

Finally, we had the chance to discover a very special place called Paraíso lake. It is an Andean lake surrounded by an evergreen forest. This hidden corner of the Andes mountain range is a true paradise. Indeed, the pristine lake offers a solitary beach with incredible views of the exuberant surroundings.

 

paraiso lake puyehue

 

Villarrica National Park, La Araucanía Region

 

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

 

pucon villarrica volcano
Downtown Pucón with the Villarrica Volcano in the background

 

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

 

Andean Lagoons trail hike

 

Andean Lagoons hike

 

Very close to the border with Argentina at the foot of the Lanín volcano, the Andean Lakes trail is a must-see in Villarrica National Park. This easy hiking trail is a beautiful route, without difficulties and suitable for family.

During the hike, you get to know 3 Andean lagoons, a great native forest of coihues and araucarias. The cherry on the top is the volcanic landscape dominated by the great presence of the Lanín volcano (3.747 meters).

 

villarrica national park
Lanín Volcano

 

While visiting the park, we could witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions. Also, we had the fantastic opportunity walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. Lastly, we visited the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden) and Huinfiuca with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.

 

 

villarrica national park

 

El Cerdúo & Correntoso River

 

el cerduo pucon

 

El Cerdúo is a fantastic place located at the slopes of the Villarrica volcano, the most active one in the Chilean territory. Visiting El Cerdúo is a unique experience, as we can observe the geological effect of the volcanic eruptions that participated in shaping this valley over the course of the years.

 

el cerduo
Ernesto (Amity’s top guide) and the Villarrica volcano

 

In addition to spectacular views of the Villarrica volcano, the valley also allows to observe the areas affected by ancient lahares and the lava flows that have created waterfalls. Moreover, we can clearly see the impressive contrast between the volcanic rocks and the dense forest areas.

 

el cerduo waterfalls

 

COVID-19: implementing our new protocols

We are facing a complex global situation due to the COVID-19 virus. At Amity Tours we want to assure a risk free and positive experience during all our tours. That is why we follow strict local and international protocols.

 

covid 19 protocol chile
Van, masks and temperature check

 

First of all we ask our team, providers and guests to follow the rules of the sanitary authority which principally established the following obligations:

  • Frequent hand wash with water and soap
  • Use of face masks in all public areas
  • Social distancing at all times (min 1 meter)
  • Carry on a valid sanitary passport while traveling from one place to another
man, sanitization, luggage
Sanitization of luggage getting to the hotel

 

In addition we did establish some Amity rules, such as:

  • Temperature check twice a day
  • Using the same seat in the van during the whole tour
  • Entering the van starting by the last row of seats
  • Following a strict emergency protocol in case of COVID-19 symptoms

 

covid chile

 

We provide our guests with reusable face masks, some disposable face masks and gloves for emergency reasons, alcohol gel and a face shield. Our guides introduce all guests on their first meeting about our protocols and the local restrictions.

 

 

Social distancing while hiking

 

That is how we enjoyed an unforgettable and very safe trip in Chile this summer!

More sustainability in the Lake and Volcano District of Chile

In Amity Tours, not only we operate every year unforgettable adventure experiences in Chile, but we also work as consultant in the local tourism industry. Today, we are currently transferring knowledge to micro and small tour operators all around the Scenic Route in the Lake and Volcano District.

 

 

scenic route lake volcano district chile

 

The Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, Chile

 

Under the name “The Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route”, we do understand a tourist product that articulates attractions and experiences with a component of scenic beauty in southern Chile. The government of Chile has been developing the Interlagos Network for 20 years. It has six circuits and more than 2,000 km of roads that transport visitors along a spectacular geography. Shaped by the force of volcanism, bathed by large lakes, upholstered by the green of the oldest forests on the planet and inhabited by ancestral cultures. This network of roads has generated connectivity between potential poles of tourist development and other consolidated in the regions of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. The First Scenic Route of Chile, has a unique layout, unmissable for lovers of pristine nature andadventure travellers.

Amity Tours is working hard to help reaching the ambition vision of this project. “To be the best positioned scenic route of Chile in the national and international market as a singular and sustainable experience that allows the encounter with the Mapuche, colony and criolla cultures and the unique nature of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos.”

At the moment, we are transferring our knowledge to micro and small local tour operators to help generate more sustainable tourism in the destination. An important part of the content we obtained from the useful workshops ATTA has been providing us until today.

 

Step-by-Step to a sustainable tourism destination

 

First of all, we were updating the database of the micro and small local tour operators forming part of the Scenic Route. Then, we offered all of them free courses separated by environments: Water – Mountains – Conventional tourism and focusing in sustainable tour operating.

Out of the tour operators who were participating in these first courses, we formed a “Club of Experiences”. The members are getting more classes for free. So they get prepared for the important Virtual Business Roundtable we are organizing on March 2021.

The three webinars will address the following topics:

  • Preparation of Commercial Actions. Here we will talk about the different formats to approach the B2B channel. With emphasis on the virtual business conference that we will have at the end of March.
  • Preparation of Commercial Material. Here we will dive into the Manuals and Tariffs that are presented at a business conference.
  • Preparation of the Commercial Pitch. Here we will talk about what a pitch is. How it should be built and used.  Of course depending on the format of the meeting and who we have in front of in a business conference.

 

 

 

Virtual Business roundtable  

 

The final objective of these courses is to bring local operators closer to the B2B channel. That is why we are organizing the First Business Roundtable of the Lakes & Volcanoes Scenic Route. It will be held in March, between Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 2021, in a 100% online format through the Eventtia platform.

We want to bring the local operators together. As well as to transfer them valuable knowledge. That is how we want to promote our unique destination in a sustainable way.

At the same time we continue working on our zero waste concept, attending different courses and forming part of local zero waste communities. We are dreaming of a “Zero Waste Scenic Route”.

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

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.

Everything you need to know about the next total solar eclipse in Chile

total solar eclipse

Next December 14th, the sky will darken completely La Araucanía Region, and partially the rest of the Chilean territory. On this day, we will be marveling at a new total solar eclipse. This event will occur after the last total solar eclipse that darkened the Atacama Region of Chile on July 2nd, 2019.

 

 

What is an eclipse?

 

total solar eclipse

 

The word eclipse derives from the Greek word “ékleipsis” which means disappearance or abandonment, in reference to the absence of sun in the sky. This solar phenomenon happens when a planet or, like in this case, the moon stands in the way of the solar light, preventing it to reach the surface of planet Earth. On our planet, we experience both lunar and solar eclipses.

 

Will it be completely dark?

 

Yes, the 90-kilometer in diameter strip of light will cover great part of La Araucanía Region, and the northern part of Los Ríos Region, between Temuco city and Panguipulli village. In other words, the solar eclipse will be total in places like Puerto Saavedra, Carahue, Teodoro Schmidt, Nueva Imperial, Nueva Toltén, Gorbea, Lanco, Villarrica, Pucón, Freire, Pitrufquén, Temuco, Loncoche, curarrehue, Lican Ray and Panguipulli.

 

eclipse chile

 

“300 more years will elapse before we see another total solar eclipse again at this location”, says José Maza, Chilean astronomer and physicist.

 

Will the total solar eclipse be visible throughout Chile?

 

Even though the complete darkness will occur in La Araucanía Region, the solar event will manifest partially throughout Chile.

The following percentages represent the total surface of the sun that will be covered by the moon depending on the location, during the next astronomy event on december 14, 2020:

 

Visibility of the total solar eclipse throughout Chile

 

The solar event will start at 11:41 am (UTC -3) and will reach its highest expression between 1:02 and 1:04 pm. We will be witnessing 2 minutes and 9 seconds of complete darkness before the phenomenon ends, at 1:31 pm.

 

Will it be possible to travel to La Araucanía?

 

 

 

This will mostly depend on the status of each commune, within the Paso-a-Paso plan created by the Chilean government. This step-by-step 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.

“La Araucanía is in a rather delicate situation, as there are several communes still in lockdown. We hope that, by the date of the eclipse, the region will have advanced towards more progressive steps (phase 4 or 5). Because, in order to travel from one commune to another, it must be at least in the Preparation Step (phase 3)”, affirmed Paula Daza, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Health.

The visitors will be able to travel only to places in phase 3, with the respective travel permits. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that approximately one million tourists would be traveling to La Araucanía Region to attend the total solar eclipse. Now, we are expecting less than 300.000 tourists.

 

When will occur the next total solar eclipse?

 

This event will be the sixteenth total solar eclipse in Chile since the independence in the 19th century. The next one will take place on December 4, 2021 in Chile’s Antarctic Territory. The following eclipse will be on December 5, 2048 in Aysén Region. Afterwards, the regions of Valparaíso, Metropolitana and O’Higgins will be witnessing this particular event on August 12, 2064.

 

Without a doubt, a total solar eclipse is an incredible astronomical experience to see. Check out this article about the meaning of such event from the Mapuche indigenous cosmovision, the first inhabitants of La Araucanía Region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New women tours by Amity Tours

women tour chile

In Amity Tours, we can’t stand still. We’ve just designed a complete new section with tours only for women. The first published hiking trip brings us through the beautiful Lake and Volcano District.

 

We will visit interesting local women, learn about their culture, history and daily life. Like in any travel experience designed by Amity Tours, there is a lot of adventure and adrenaline packed in this program.

Learn more about our promises for a unforgettable holiday experience. As well as our protocols for a safe trip during this difficult global situation with COVID-19.

8 reasons why choosing Amity Tours for your next adventure

 

Personalized and high-quality tourism. We make sure before, during and after your trip, that the travel experience with us is unique and authentic. You are our number one priority! From the moment you get in touch with us, until you safely make your way back home.

 

women only chile
Technical briefing with Rubén, one of Amity’s top guides.

 

Safety. Nowadays, safety is crucial, and especially regarding the health area. As a local tour operator, we’ve adopted all the protocols issued by the local authority for the industry of tourism. In addition, we also closely follow the guidelines for health and safe practices generated by the Adventure Travel Trade Association for the active tourism businesses to safely operate.

 

safety amity tours
Support vehicle during our cycling experiences

 

Professional and expert team. Our team of collaborators on the field is one of our biggest assets as a company. In addition to have a huge knowledge of the local fauna and flora, our guides have decades of experience in the wilderness such as mountains and rivers. They are also trained for first-aid assistance, with the Wilderness First Responder course.

 

amity guides
Anual practice of first-aid assistance for Amity’s guides before high season in Southern Chile

 

Small groups. In Amity, we’ve never operated our travel experiences with big groups. We’ve always focused on small groups of travelers, in which the interaction between the guide and the guest is richer. Thus, it generates a unique experience, ideally for families or groups of friends that require spaces for encounters.

 

small groups amity
Villarrica National Park – Quetrupillán and Lanín volcanoes at sight.

 

High standard of accommodation. We have developed our travel experiences with accommodations that meet excellent quality and health standards, and are strategically located in each and every visited area. We understand that travelling is not only about the excursions, but also the comfort of the hotel after an active day spent in nature.

 

Corralco Hotel SPA
Cocktail time at Corralco hotel after an active day spent in nature.

 

Connection with nature. The Amity team is 100% composed of nature lovers. We’ll make sure you see, feel and discover the best of it during your visit.

 

nature chile
Thousand-year-old araucaria tree in Villarrica National Park

 

Local culture. ATAmity, you’ll see and experience the true Chilean culture. Also, you’ll have the incredible opportunity to share and learn more about the indigenous communities that inhabit our country, in an authentic way.

 

culture chile amity
Cultural encounter with the Mapuche indigenous community – Colipi Family

 

Fuel the local economy. All the products that you will consume during your trip are made by local entrepreneurs. Thus, when travelling, you help with contributing to the local economy.

 

picnic table amity
On-field picnic table made with local products

Discover Southern Chile with a group of female travelers

 

 

During the last few months, we’ve been designing new travel products especially for all the adventurous women on the Globe. Our first women tour will be in Southern Chile, during which you’ll have the opportunity to explore the best hidden corners from the Conguillio National Park, to all the way down to Puerto Varas.

This brand new trip designed by women for women is the perfect match combining active adventure and relaxing atmosphere. There is nothing better than stretching your muscles in a hot tub after a day of hiking in the beautiful Conguillio National Park. During this trip, we make sure that you get exactly these great combinations.

 

geometricas women tour
The Geometricas hot springs, the best thermal waters in Chile.

 

Women Tour Highlights

 

conguillio women amity
Rainbow Lagoon at Conguillio National Park.

 

At the beginning we will spend two nights in the first Ecolodge of Chile: La Baita Conguillio. Isabel, the owner of the lodge, will be waiting for us with a typical Pisco Sour, a tasty drink made out of the famous Chilean licor Pisco. We will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of this place and her experiences as a female leader. Furthermore, we will show you one of the beautiful spots near the lodge, before enjoying a well-deserved sleep in the cosy rooms.

The Conguillio National Park is known worldwide for its abundant natural beauty full of ancient Araucaria trees, crystal-clear lakes and perfectly cone-shaped and active volcanoes. During a full day of hiking, we will enjoy this incredible landscape before finishing the day with a relaxing hot tub under the open sky.

 

tinaja la baita

 

The next destination of this trip takes us to Pucón, Chile’s capital of adventure tourism. This nice little quaint town with its small shops, restaurants and cafés is the perfect location for a break and some urban feelings.

 

pucon women tour
Pucón and Villarrica Volcano

Every effort has its reward

 

We will then have to prepare for a very special excursion: climbing the Villarrica volcano. A true once-in-a-lifetime experience as you reach the top of the active volcano in Chile with its open crater. If we are lucky, we will even spot some lava, and we will enjoy for sure the panoramic view over the different volcanoes, lakes, mountains, hills and valleys around. The most fun part of the day ? Sliding on our rear ends the snow down to the base of the volcano.

 

Villarrica Volcano Climb

Tourism as women empowerment

 

While in Pucón, we will meet other friendly and local entrepreneur women. They will show us the native forest of the area, from a culinary and indigenous perspective. After a nice walk through the forest, we will have enough plants and fruits recollected to accompany a great lunch under huge trees. Afterwards, we will jump on an inflatable boat to raft the Trancura River. Finally, at night, we will have a special cultural encounter with a local Mapuche family. They will be waiting for us, to share some of their ancestral traditions while having a typical dinner in their “Ruka” (house).

 

Lady Rosario in front of the traditional Mapuche house.

 

For our last day around the Villarrica volcano, we won’t miss the opportunity to visit a magical place. Taking advantage of the unique volcanic activity of the region, we will combine this active day with a deep bath in natural thermal hot springs. This place offers the perfect combination between thermal facilities and natural surroundings. Located in the environs of the Villarrica National Park, the Geometricas hot springs offer 16 strategically-located thermal pools, allowing the visitors to never feel overcrowded. The natural surroundings are exuberant and the facilities are simple but very cozy.

 

geometricas hot springs
The Geometricas natural hot springs.

Relaxing hours and yoga

 

Our trip continues with us going South, towards the quaint city of Puerto Varas, located at the shores of Llanquihue Lake. We’ll have the chance to meet a professional yoga instructor. She will teach us some yoga lessons and give an insight of living in Chile as a foreign woman. Finally, our last full day will invite us to explore the beautiful area around the Osorno Volcano. We’ll hear an interesting story about the volcano and the legend of princess Licarayén. She is without any doubt one of the most famous women in the Mapuche folk tales.

 

Hiking in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Puerto Varas.

 

Before leaving the amazing Lake and Volcano District, we will enjoy a nice morning yoga session. Afterwards we will get some time to explore the cosy town of Puerto Varas.

 

We are sure, this tour will fill you with adrenaline, positive energy and women empowerment!

Our commitment for a safe trip with our COVID-19 protocols

 

amity protocols covid

 

Last, but not least, we would like to let you know about our commitment for a safe operation during all tours. Without any doubt, the world is facing a difficult time with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is affecting our daily life and traveling plans. At Amity Tours quality and safety are what define us. That is why we are making sure that not only us, but also all our local partners and suppliers walk in hand with us to apply new safety standards. That is how we will be able to best adapt to the post-coronavirus industry.

We have been working hard in order to be ready for the re-opening of borders and operations post Covid. We feel blessed and privileged to be living in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, a remote but safe area, with good health centers very close by. 

Amity Tours closely follows and applies the recommendations stated by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

We are aware that planning ahead your next trip to Chile might be difficult in these extraordinary times. Rest assured, as we have updated our booking policies. This will allow you to purchase safely your next vacations. We have removed all none-refundable booking fees. All our rates have been locked-in until 2022. If you make a deposit and cannot travel, you can always use that money as a credit with us and use it within the next 24 months.

We are very confident that we will someday soon be sharing all together again.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and stay tuned for the best travel adventures in southern Chile

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Parks of Chile Lake and Volcano District

lanin volcano chile

The Lake and Volcano District is located in Southern Chile covering the area from Temuco to Puerto Varas. Considered a true paradise on earth for every hiking lover. you will fall in love with the incredible national parks. If you are a true lover, you will fall in love with the hiking surrounded by endemic loval & flaura.

As a result, we made you a list of the best national parks to add on your travel bucket list.

Nahuelbuta National Park

Founded in 1941, the Nahuelbuta national park is located on the highest zone of the Nahuelbuta Cordillera, in the Araucanía Region. One of the last strongholds where lives the Araucaría Araucana, it has beautiful hiking trails and natural lookout points.

The park covers an area of 6832 hectares, characterized by big forests of araucaria trees, most of them are thousands-year-old. Actually, it was founded in order to protect the Araucaria tree that is native of the Andes mountain range.

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.s.n.m) offers a 5-kilometer hiking trail with stunning panoramic views over Los Nevados de Chillán, and the Villarrica volcano.

Nahuebuta national park
Lookout point in Nahuelbuta national park

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, it’s “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.

With an average of 100.000 visitors per year, 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.

The famous hiking trail is the Sierra Nevada with amazing views over the Conguillío Lake, Blanco River and the Llaima Volcano. With an area covering approximately 60.883 hectares, the park is also part of the Araucaria Biosphere Reserve.

conguillio national park

Villarrica National Reserve

Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape. 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.

villarrica national park
View over the Lanín Volcano – The Andean Lagoons Trail in the Villarrica national park

Huerquehue National Park

The huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, in the 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.

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

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

If you consider visiting this amazing district during your trip in Chile, we highly suggest you to come in spring/summer. The main reason is the weather. During winter (June to September), it rains and snows in the region, covering all of the hiking trails with snow, making the use of raquets mandatory. In Spring and summer (october to March), it is the ideal time as the weather offers the perfect hiking conditions, and the trails are all cleared.

In fall (April to May), it is 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 article and are interested in visiting one of the best parts of Chile, contact us and we will give all the information regarding our hiking tours available

 

 

 

 

 

Bike Tour Chile

Confirmed Departure January 2017 Bike Tour Chile Lake Volcano District

 Bike Tour Chile, Lake & Volcano District

Confirmed Departure January 2017

Bike Tour Chile

We are pleased to announce that our Bike Tour Chile 8 Days has been confirmed. It will be starting on January 21st, 2017. During eight days, you will have the chance to experience riding the amazing southern back roads of the Lake & Volcano District. Summer is the best time to ride around lakes, ancient forests and little villages.

 

bike malalcahuello chile

 

Our trip starts in Temuco, where you will meet our friendly local team. The adventures starts with a warm up ride towards our hotel located in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. On the second ride, we will travel alongside the Lonquimay River: Also we’ll visit the Kütralkura Geopark where you can meet the local Pewenche indigenous communities.  The third day will be dedicated to enjoy great views of three different volcanoes (Llaima, Tolhuaca and Lonquimay) on our bikes.

 

bike malalcahuello national reserve

 

Afterwards, on the next day we will cycle around Pucon, the Lake & Volcano District’s main tourist destination. We will enjoy great views and landscapes such as the Caburgua Lake and the Huife Hot Springs. On day five we will bike through Chile´s 7 Lakes Route. We’ll pedal alongside the shores of two beautiful lakes, Calafquén and Panguipulli, and cover three-quarters of the way around the majestic, snow-capped active Villarrica Volcano. This road is smooth and quiet as almost no vehicles drive here. At one point we might even be able to see five volcanoes.

 

bike chile
Chile’s famous 7-Lakes Route

 

The last stage of this unforgettable trip will be at the Llanquihue Lake. This area is great for bike trips and it is considered Chile’s first bike-friendly destination.

 

frutillar bike chile
Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano

 

We will pass through small towns such as Puerto Varas and Ensenada. We will eat some amazing food and if you want to challenge yourself, you can do some extra pedaling and ride up the Osorno Volcano.

 

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park – Osorno Volcano

 

Finally, we will visit the local Market, which is the perfect place for wonderful souvenirs, handcrafts and woolen clothing. Afterwards we will drive you the airport where this adventure ends.

For more information about this trip or any of our other trending tours check out our website!

 

 

 

 

 

Bike Tours Chile December 2016

bike tour chile
Mountain biking in the Villarrica National Reserve

Bike Tours Chile December 2016

December is a great month to travel in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. It is possible to experience the flowering season and the days are longer and warmer. These attributions are great when on a road bike and mountain bike tour. We can still have a little of snow in the Andes Mountain Range, which makes the landscape look awesome. Forests will be covered by green, and river water will be clear and fresh. Pack your suitcase, gather your friends and family, and come enjoy one of the best experiences in nature.

 

road bike chile
Road Cycling towards the border with Argentina

 

Amity Tours has designed well supported, guided Bike Tours especially made for intermediate and advanced cyclists.  Upon your arrival, our friendly staff will meet you and the journey will begin. We would be happy to help with bike rental, tools and helmets. All our bikes are equipped with Wellgo pedals and toeclips. You can also substitute any pedals you choose to bring.  Amity Tours also has a small number of Shimano pedals, available on a first come, first served basis.

 

mtb lake volcano chile

 

Mountain biking and road cycling with Amity tours will take you to great national parks such as the Conguillio, Villarrica and Vicente Perez Rosales. In addition, we will spend some nights at the magnificent Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve. In these settings, you will be biking and hiking through ancient Araucaria and Nothofagus forests, experiencing great views of amazing active and non active volcanoes.

 

villarrica volcano climb
Summit of the Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters)

 

For instance, you will be able to climb the Villarrica Volcano (one of the most active volcanoes on Earth) as well as the Bateamavida Mount. From their summits you will experience great panoramic views, and feel like you are on the top of the world. Don’t miss the chance to connect with nature, escape from the routine and make new friends. These mountain bike trips are not to be missed!

Book now and enjoy the best bike tours South America can offer. For further information and requirements, visit our website.