Active volcanoes of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

villarrica volcano

Geographically, the Chilean territory is located in one of the greatest areas of volcanic & seismic activities in the whole world.

 

 

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
Crater Rojo (red crater) , Vicente Perez Rosales National Park – Los Lagos Region

The Pacific Ring of Fire, close to the Andes mountain range, carved by water, ice and volcanoes. With more than 2.000 volcanoes and 90 potentially active, Chile has one of the largest volcanic chains in the world. Indeed, great historical eruptions, such as the eruption of the Calbuco Volcano in 2015, have had regional and global consequences.

In this article, you will learn more about the most active volcanoes located in the beautiful Lake & Volcano District.

The Lake and Volcano District

 

puyehue national park lake volcano district
Puyehue National Park, Los Lagos Region

 

From Santiago de Chile to Puerto Montt (the gateway to Patagonia), we find a wide variety of landscapes with lands covered with forests of araucarias and dotted with lagoons, rivers or lakes. Moreover, here and there, we can admire the active volcanoes of Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. They are the perfect spot for nature lovers to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling & skiing.

 

Kütralkura Geopark – Lonquimay Volcano

 

lonquimay volcano corralco
Skiing at Corralco Ski Resort, Lonquimay Volcano – La Araucania Region

 

The Lonquimay volcano is located 130 kilometers north-east of Temuco city, in the Araucanía Region. It is part of Chile’s first Geopark. The UNESCO highlighted Kütralkura Global Geopark as one of the most active volcanisms in the world. Indeed, it is geologically located in the heart of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

 

 

pacific ring of fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire

 

Surrounded by the magical landscape of Southern Chile, the Lonquimay volcano becomes more attractive as it enters the Andes Mountain Range. In the horizon, we can admire the other volcanoes around, like Tolhuaca, Callaqui, and Copahue (northbound) and Llaima, Sierra Nevada, Villarrica and Lanín (southbound).

 

 

ski Lonquimay
Summer skiing on the Lonquimay volcano. Tolhuaca volcano in the backdrop.

 

 

During autumn season, the native tree leaves show their golden colors and the snows slowly covers the volcano, which makes the area remarkably beautiful.

In winter, the area is fully covered by snow, in addition to the endemic araucaria tree forests that also get covered by a white coat. This makes it possible to enjoy winter sports at Corralco Ski Resort, located on the slopes of Lonquimay volcano.

During spring and summer, the thaw radically changes the appearance and color of the volcano. Due to the solidified lava constitution, it takes a reddish color, leaving only the eternal ice on top.

Moreover, the massive summit of Lonquimay does not only allow us to the natural beauties around, such as the lagoons, rivers, volcanoes, etc. It also gives us the chance to see a tremendous crater, of more than 800-meters long (one of the largest of Chile’s southern volcanoes), completely covered by a glacier.

 

 

lonquimay winter
Skiing near the summit of the Lonquimay Volcano

 

Regarding its volcanic activity, the Lonquimay became particularly well known for the events that happened during Christmas in 1988. During an eruption that lasted approximately one year, it sculpted a small crater near the north slope. As a result, the “Christmas Crater” was born. Located in the lower part of the Lonquimay, it is possible to visit it with a guide, as it is still active.

 

Christmas crater mtb
Christmas crater and Lonquimay volcano

Conguillío National Park – Llaima Volcano

 

llaima volcano conguillio national park chile
Llaima volcano, Conguillio National Park – La Araucania Region

 

From Temuco city, the Llaima volcano already makes itself noticeable with its two visible peaks. Located 80 kilometers from this city, it is part of the eastern landscape. Also, the Llaima occupies a large part of the Conguillío National Park where it stands out as the highest summit.

The presence of “Los Paraguas”, a small ski resort located on its western flank makes it the perfect place to visit during winter. Thank to this, it helps in being the most visited volcano in southern Chile. Surrounded by araucarias forests and by beautiful mountain lakes, the Llaima and surroundings give us the opportunity to enjoy wonderful landscapes.

Historically, it is one of the most active volcanoes in South America, and one of the largest in the southern Andes. The western, south-western and eastern flanks possess more than 29 km2 of glaciers. Shape-wise, it is an almost-perfect cone, although it consists of two peaks and about 40 cones of adventitious slag. The northern summit exhibits a crater of 350-meters wide, and more than 300 meters in depth. Between 1994 and 2009, the open crater presented an active fumarole with gas emission and water vapor, but nowdays the main crater is blocked by layers of ice and lava (from 2008 and 2009 eruption). Lastly, the southern summit has remains of a small cone made of slag nested in a blocked crater of about 200 meters.

Regarding the volcanic activity of the Llaima, the historical record includes 48 eruption between 1640 and 2009. During these events, lava flows, lahar formation, pyroclastic projection and occasionally the generation of pyroclastic flows occurred. Finally, the last eruptive cycle began in May 2007, with a weak ash emission.  A moderate strombolian eruption followed with lahar generation in January 2008, culminating in April 2009 with a vigorous strombolian eruption.

 

Villarrica National Park – Villarrica Volcano

 

villarrica volcano
Pichillancahue Glacier located at the foothills of the Villarrica Volcano

 

The Villarrica or Ruka Pillan is an active volcano with the largest historical record of eruptions in Chile, and even South America. Geographically, it is located at the south of the Villarrica Lake, and at the north of the Calafquén Lake. It is a stratovolcano located on a volcanic chain aligning it with the Quetrupillán and Lanín volcanoes.

At the top, we find an open crater of 200 meters of diameter. Generally with continuous fumarole and a quasi-permanent lava lake, whose surface has variable height depending on the moon. Moreover, an important glacier covers the Villarrica, and extends for 30 km2.

The volcanic activity of Villarrica began about 650,000 years ago. Throughout the years, it has developed explosive and effusive eruptions, with the emission of magmatic material essentially. As product of the explosive post-glacial activity, voluminous pyroclastic flows and formation of boilers were generated mainly 13,900 and 3,900 years ago. Lastly, since 1558, there have been about 49 eruptions, mainly of an effusive nature.

The impressive last eruption happened in 2015

 

The last explosive eruption was recorded on March 3, 2015. It generated a lava source almost 2 km high above the crater. In addition, an almost 12-kilometer tall column of tefra remained held for almost 19 minutes. It was pretty scary !!

 

 

Besides being the most active volcano, the Villarrica is undoubtedly the main natural attraction in Southern Chile. Indeed, the ski center located at the base of the volcano (1,400 meters) is the perfect spot for summer skiing and snowboarding.

As a matter of fact, Pucón Ski Center is one of the most beautiful in Southern Chile. In fact, it has a certified ski/ boardercross run for skiing and snowboarding, with international teams coming in for “summer trainning”. The ski resort offers 9 lifts, and 20 runs for all types of levels. Also, it is a great place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, specially if you decide to climb up the crater of Villarrica volcano.

In spring and summer, the base of the Villarrica volcano is perfect for climbing and hiking activities. Through the endemic araucaria and nothofagus tree forests, the hiking trails in the area are infinite. However, the most impressive hike to do is certainly the one that takes us to the open-crater. From there, the view is breath-taking and allows us to see the different volcanoes, lakes, lagoons around, and the unmissable Andes as landscape.

Villarrica volcano climb
Climbing the Villarrica volcano is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience

Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park – Osorno Volcano

 

osorno volcano
The Osorno volcano is our best companion when cycling around Puerto Varas

 

The Osorno volcano is located approximately 50 km from the quaint city of Puerto Varas, between the Llanquihue and Todos Los Santos Lakes. It belongs to the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.

It is in this area where volcanism has been, along with tectonic processes and glaciers, the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range. In fact, the Osorno is a stratovolcano that belongs to the Southern Volcanic Zone of the Andes. It forms a transverse volcanic chain along with La Picada, Puntiagudo and Cordón Cenizos volcanoes. Like the Llaima and Lonquimay volcanoes, the summit of the Osorno is covered by a glacier.

The volcanic activity of the Osorno began some 200,000 years ago, building itself as a stratovolcano immersed in the ice field dominating the landscape during the so-called Santa María glacial period. The post-glacial eruptive activity is characterized both by the occurrence of eruptions from the central crater, and by the activity of parasitic centers located on the flanks.

Historically, the eruptive activity of the Osorno volcano has been characterized essentially by episodes of low explosivity. As of now, the faint fumarole since the beginning of the 20th century under the ice of the summit seems to have attenuated.

Last, but not least, the Osorno volcano is the highlight of our top bike tours in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. Indeed, besides getting to cycle your way towards the Petrohue falls, you have the chance to challenge yourself and climb the road to Osorno volcano as it is South America’s steepest climb.

In Amity, we are blessed to operate our top travel experiences in the beautiful Lake and Volcano District. Together with our friendly team of expert guides, you can explore the best volcanic attractions of southern Chile. Either by hiking, skiing or cycling, the visit of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire is a must-do when traveling to Chile.

Ski Chile 2021

ski chile

Skiing in Chile is a unique experience. Located along the Andes mountain range, Chile is a beautiful country full of contrasts, with changing climate and geography. The presence of such natural wonders has allowed the country to be elected the World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination since 2016 according to the World Travel Awards.

 

 

chile adventure
Chile has been elected the World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination since 2015

 

In addition to be the world’s leading adventure tourism destination, Chile also offers great skiing and snowboarding conditions with excellent snow. From July to mid-October, it is possible to enjoy winter sports in 18 different ski resorts. The most famous are concentrated near the Capital, Santiago de Chile. But, if you are an adrenaline-seeker and love breathtaking landscape while skiing or snowboarding, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is surely the best place to practice your favorite winter sport in South America.

 

skiing chile
Fresh ski tracks in Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve

 

As of matter of fact, we can say without a doubt that Chile is a country of volcanoes. Indeed, with no less than 2.900 volcanoes which 80 of them are still active, you can slide over more than one of them.

In this post, you will learn more about Amity’s favorite ski resorts located in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

Antillanca Ski Resort, Los Lagos Region

 

ski antillanca chile
Antillanca Ski Resort. Puntiagudo and Osorno volcanoes at sight

 

Located approximately 98 km from the city of Osorno, the Antillanca Ski Resort is located in the Puyehue National Park, on the slopes of the Casablanca volcano, near the Puyehue and Aguas Calientes hot springs. This area belongs to the Antillanca volcanic complex.

 

antillanca ski
Skiers in Antillanca Ski Resort

 

The ski resort extends on Haique Hill with heights ranging between 1.040 meters and 1.540 meters above sea level. With a total of 400 hectares of skiable surface, the Antillanca Ski Resort offers 14 marked ski runs of varying difficulty. In total, 32 kilometers of great snow to hit.

 

antillanca chile
Ski slopes Antillanca

 

In addition to the good slopes, Antillanca counts on excellent snow conditions throughout ski season (from July to October). Likewise, the ski center has spectacular cornices for off-piste skiing and extreme descents.

During our adventure skiing tours, we usually go Cat skiing and get as close as possible to the crater of Casablanca volcano, to then skin up with our randonee gear until summiting its massive crater. Then the downhill is amazing, heading towards Raihuen crater, with views of lakes and volcanoes in the distance.

In summary, in Antillanca Ski Resort there is skiing for all tastes and styles. In summer, it is an ideal place for nature lovers who like the practice of adventure tourism.

 

Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, Los Ríos Region

 

Located in Panguipulli,  in the middle of the Patagonian Andes, the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve mainly focuses on the care and conservation of the native species and the Temperate Rain Forest.

 

ski huilo huilo
Cat Skiing in Huilo Huilo; Lanin volcano at sight.

 

The Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is located 860 kilometers south of Santiago, in Los Rios Region. This reserve has a little explored ecosystem. In fact, it has a great diversity thanks to its particular geography: lakes of glacial origin, eternal snows on the Mocho and Choshuenco volcanoes, and countless water courses. As a result, the main purpose is the conservation of the native species of the Temperate Rain Forest.

 

cat skiing chile
Bosque Encantando, Huilo huilo Biological Reserve

 

The Bosque Encantado Ski Center is within the biological reserve, at more than 1.000 meters high. Accordingly, it has 3 runs of 1,200, 1,300 and 1,400 meters. And for those who are not so familiar with the white sport, there is also the possibility of trekking with snowshoes, tubing, glaciological tour and snowmobile rides, among others.

In all our adventure skiing and snowboarding tours that include Huilo-Huilo, we go Cat skiing until we reach the glacier plateau. From there, we skin up to Mocho volcano, a 40-minute hike up to summit this “easy” climb. Then we ski down back to the plateau and aim North, towards a much more challenging climb: Choshuenco volcano. You won’t beleive your feet and eyes, as you attack the slopes of this side of the montain.

 

 

Huilo-Huilo is a great place for outdoor activities. Indeed, it is surely one of the most outstanding spots to practice summer skiing in Southern Chile.

 

Pucón Ski Center, La Araucanía Region

 

ski pucon
Pucón Ski Center and the Villarrica Volcano

 

Commonly, when talking about skiing in Chile, the first thing that comes to mind are the ski centers located around the capital, Santiago de Chile. But if you’re really looking for ski adventures mixed with mindblowing landscapes, we highly suggest to go south and check out the volcanoes.

Approximately 785 km south from Santiago de Chile, you can find the world’s capital of adventure travel: Pucón. Located at the foot of Villarrica Volcano (2,847 meters), and the lake of the same name, Pucón is the best place to be for nature lovers. In fact, this quaint little town offers plenty of outdoor activities to do.

 

ski pucon villarrica volcano
Villarrica volcano ascent before the ski descent

 

Pucón Ski Center is located 16 km from downtown Pucón, on the northern slope of Villarrica volcano. Villarrica (or Ruka Pillan) is known to be one of the world’s most active volcanoes, blowing smoke all year round. There, you can enjoy about 30 km of skiable terrain. Likewise, given the fact that you’re sliding down a volcano, you get to marvel at an incredible scenic view of La Araucanía Region.

 

ski map pucon
Ski runs on the Villarrica volcano

 

It should be noted that the Pucón Ski Center is one of the most beautiful in Southern Chile. In fact, it has a certified ski/ boardercross run for skiing and snowboarding, with international teams coming in for “summer trainning”. Pucon offers 9 lifts, and 20 runs for all types of levels. Also, it is a great place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, specially if you decide to climb up the crater of Villarrica volcano.

In our snowboarding and skiing adventure tours that include Pucon, we support our backcountry access with powerful snowmobiles, so you can rest assured that you’re going to get a lot of fun.

 

pucon ski volcano
Climbing the Villarrica volcano

 

The best part of a ski experience in Pucón consists in hiking up to the open crater, and then skiing all the way down to the ski center, with excellent snow conditions. Accordingly, as every adventure activity in the mountain, the ascent of the Villarrica volcano must be carried out by a professional mountain local guide, along with the appropriate mountain gear.

 

villarrica volcano
Reaching the open crater of the Villarrica volcano

 

Corralco Ski Resort, La Araucanía Region

 

ski lonquimay
Ski on Lonquimay volcano, Corralco Ski Resort

 

Corralco Ski Resort is located 120 kilometers from the city of Temuco. Nestled in the heart of the Malalcahuello National Reserve, Corralco is the best ski resort in Chile. Additionnally, and over the last few years, it has become a world-class destination preferred by hundreds of beginner and advanced skiers.

Located 1.450 meters above sea level and on the southeast slope of the Lonquimay volcano, the ski resort offers a luxury hotel with comfortable facilities and excellent service. In winter, Corralco counts on a skiable domain of more than 1,000 ha. for alpine skiing and snowboarding, with its 6 lifts you can access 29 runs of different levels of difficulty. The skiable terrain surrounded by a unique forest of ancient araucarias and views of the Lonquimay volcano.

 

corralco resort chile
Ski runs in Corralco, Lonquimay Volcano.

 

All of these elements have led the experts to categorize Corralco Ski Resort as a unique destination for the practice of ski, snowboard, splitboard and randonnée. Thanks to this, it’s no surprise that Corralco has played host for the US Ski Team and for the Burke Mountain Academy to practice this sport during winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

 

Skiing in Chile 2021

 

ski chile

 

Still wondering where to enjoy great snow conditions this year ? Check out our last ski adventures in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

 

 

 

Our ski experience in Chile is unique. We can proudly say it is a mix of great luxury hotels with SPA to relax after a full day of skiing, excellent restaurants to enjoy local cuisine paired with the best local wines and beers, and natural hot springs. Furthermore, we use exclusive services such as cat-ski and snowmobiles, in order to explore the best hidden and snowy parts of the Lake and Volcano District.

 

Contact us for more info about the 2021 ski season in Chile and check out our special ski tours!

Our First Climate Emergency Plan

tourism declares chile

The travel industry is responsible for 8% of total global emissions contributing to global warming that threatens these resources. Amity Tours is aware of this fact and we want to be part of a big change and improvement in our industry.

 

That is why we’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful actions to reduce their carbon emissions as per the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.

As a commitment of the signature we would like to publish our own Climate Emergency Plan. Here you are:

 

Our Climate Emergency Plan 2021-22

 

At Amity Tours we already started with some significant changes in our operations. As we all know, waste and especially food waste has a big impact on the carbon footprint in general, and in our industry especially. Get more information about our Zero Waste Challenge.

 

zero waste challenge chile
Implementing the Zero Waste Challenge during the 2019-2020 summer season

 

As well as the waste management, we are working on a carbon reduction project with a local Mapuche Community. We are planning a tree planting and an environmental education program for children.

We have to be honest and don’t want to promise things we will not be able to comply. The global COVID crisis has been affecting (almost) the whole tourism industry. Amity Tours is not an exception. That is why we had to adapt our original Climate Action Plan that we were working on. Nobody knows what the future brings and that is why we are trying to set realistic goals. As a result, we created a Climate Action Plan with goals until 2022, as 2021 still will be a very different year.

Following, we would like to share with you our goals and how we believe to achieve them.

 

 

 

MEASURE

 

Recently, we joined the Fundación Basura (Waste Fundation in Chile) and got the benefit to measure our waste with the platform: Recylink. Now, we are able to calculate our exact waste during the next upcoming seasons.

Goals for 2021-2022:

  • Calculate our exact waste during the next season 2021/22 with the platform Recylink.
  • Finding a professional and confidential partner to measure our carbon footprint of our operation centre and our tours in the Lake and Volcano District (starting with the 2021/22 season)
  • Investigate if it is worth to get certified by the national carbon calculation program: Huella Chile or any international certification

 

REDUCE

 

It is very important to measure the waste and carbon footprint, but now lets put these words into action:

Goal for 2021-2022

  • Find solutions to reduce our measured waste at least by 50% by the next season.

 

Gourmet Picnic
Our famous Zero Waste Gourmet Picnic

 

ADVOCATE

 

Since we signed up at Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency we have shared the great initiative especially with our local partners. We got positive feedbacks and interest for the community. The AWA Hotel in Puerto Varas, one of our main hotel partners, already shared its Climate Emergency Plan.

Goals for 2021:

  • Create a local community in the Lake and Volcano District where different companies and organization from the tourism sector will share sustainable practices and advocate for a massive declaration.

Goals for 2022:

  • Create a Zero Waste Lake and Volcano District, where we include a big number of tourism organizations, tour operators, restaurants, accommodations and local recycling companies. Together, we will work for the first Zero Waste Destination in Chile. 

 

INVEST (OFFSETTING)

 

Together with our local partners Rutas Ancestras Araucarias and SALTUS we started working on a reforestation project during 2020. When COVID-19 hit the world we had to freeze our support for the project and focus on other things.

Nevertheless we are happy to share with you the great work of SALTUS. In this professional and scientific research they were investigating about tree species that has to be used for the reforestation project in our beautiful Araucanía region. 

Goal for 2021:

  • As soon as we can welcome fellow travelers again, we will resume our program with our local partners. The first step will be calculation the amount of trees to plant to compensate our carbon footprint of 2021.

Goal for 2022:

  • We will invest the symbolic amount of one tree for each client. The money will be used for the project. (Installing a nursery garden, capacitation to the local community, giving classes to the kids in the rural schools about the tree plantation and its positive effects for the environment and community, monitoring of the plantation and much more)

 

Each year we will be sharing our process with you. Stay tuned and we are happy about every comment, experience or recommendation! Get in contact with us!

 

 

Araucaria trees
The famous and native monkey puzzle trees. (Araucaria araucana)

 

Do you want to know more about the Tourism Declares community?

Twitter: @TourismDeclares / Facebook: Tourism Declares@tourismdeclares

#ClimateEmergency / #tourismdeclares

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.

Multisport Tour Route of Parks of Patagonia in Chile

Lake and Volcano Route Chile

Multisport Tour – Route of Parks of Patagonia in Chile

 

A few years ago, we started dreaming about a new epic and transformational tour. This dream tour should connect Chile’s iconic scenic routes: the incredible Lake and Volcano Route with the stunning Route of Parks of Patagonia. Today we are happy to present our co-operated Multisport Adventure Route of Parks of Patagonia.

 

route of parks patagonia
Kayaking Grey Lake in Torres Del Paine National Park, Patagonia Chile. © ChileNativo

 

An exclusive and carefully crafted adventure led by three of the most iconic adventure companies of Chile: Amity Tours, BirdsChile and Chile Nativo Travel. A lifetime experience exploring on foot, bike, raft and kayak the most spectacular landscapes of northern and southern Patagonia. This exclusive program covers and connects the wild and diverse landscapes of two Scenic Routes: The Lake and Volcano Route + Route of Parks of Patagonia.

 

Multisport Adventure Route of Parks Patagonia Chile

 

In this tour you will discover Conguillío National Park, starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees, explore the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of Pumalin Park (Douglas Tompkins legacy), and finish with a stunning finale in Torres del Paine National Park

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

 

lake and volcano route
Lake and Volcano Route. © Amity Tours

Different sustainable concepts in one tour

 

We have been strategizing on how to develop a product which benefits are given back to local communities, supports conservation, and that the trip integrates the REWILDING concept. All of which posed to be the biggest challenge incorporating these exact concepts into a multisport program.

 

Cristián, Raffaele and Gonzalo – the CEOs of the three adventure companies – went together on a creative retreat, laying out the first draft itinerary and agreeing in the key factors to success with an epic and transformational multisport tour in Patagonia.

 

route of parks of patagonia
Left to right: Raffaele Di Biase (BirdsChile), Gonzalo Fuenzalida (Chile Nativo Travel) and Cristián Levy (Amity Tours).

 

As a result, they came back with a unique itinerary connecting the Lake & Volcano Route and the Route of Parks of Patagonia, covering 1.400 miles (2.300 km) between Conguillío  National Park and Torres del Paine.

 

Raffaele, Cristián and Gonzalo, in the making of the Multisport Tour Route of Parks of Patagonia during a creative retreat.

 

The trip was ready to launch for the 2020/2021 season but it was postponed due to Covid international travel restrictions. However, this amazing trip was officially launched during the AdventureELEVATE virtual event and now 2021-22 dates are already confirmed.

Before we dive deeper into the highlights of the trip, we want to introduce these two iconic scenic routes with a short video:

 

Lake & Volcano Scenic Route

 

 

 

Route of Parks of Patagonia

 

 

The efforts of conservations in these lands were skeptically accepted at the beginning, provoking a controversy among Chileans, politicians, and part of the population.

Here another video to show the controversy:

 

 

Now, an especially important detail of this topic of conservation is Rewilding and the adaptive form of Rewilding in Tourism, which is a new way to power the art of traveling, transforming it from a high consumption product of tourism to a real and genuine act of empathy. Let’s talk a little more in depth about REWILDING.

 

Pudu deer at Route of Parks of Patagonia
Pudu deer – Route of Parks of Patagonia. © BirdsChile

What is rewilding?

 

We like to separate the two concepts: Ecological Rewilding and Tourism Rewilding. While ecological rewilding means “to return an ecosystem to its original state”, we have to understand that Tourism Rewilding is “adapted to tourism because we cannot erase the human impact completely”.

The Patagonia National Park has a rewilding concept with one of the highest global standards. If you want to know more about the rewilding process in the Patagonia National Park, you can take a look at this video. The story of Douglas Tompkins is intimately related to this park that became part of the largest donation of private lands ever made, and the first step for the creation of the Route of Parks of Patagonia.

 

Two women working in a field of young trees
Rewilding in Patagonia. © BirdsChile

 

During our multisport trip we are part of a Tourism Rewilding concept. This is not the only reason why we talk about a sustainable project.  Moreover, we operate the tour only in small groups (8 guests max.), trying to focus on low-impact activities. That allows us to have a traceable and measurable trip. So, between the three companies we can collect data and publish exact numbers about the real social, economic and environmental impact. Furthermore we support local NGO’s for educational and conservation programs such as Fundación Legado Chile, and Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.

 

More about our Zero Waste concept

 

In all of our self-operated group departure tours we do focus on our Zero Waste Concept.  First of all, we reinvented our picnic tables and box lunches. Wherever possible we changed to local suppliers and focused on organic processes. We eliminated single use plastic products and separated all unavoidable waste for recycling. During the last season we visited our most important local partners such as hotels and restaurants to involucrate them into the Zero Waste program. At the moment we are working on our Climate Emergency Plan. And we are part of the Climate Action Leaders Community.

 

Gourmet Picnic
Zero Waste picnic table. © Amity Tours

How do we incorporate the local community?

Our brand-new Multisport Tour focuses also on the local communities, their culture, habits and history. We want to give our international guests the opportunity to learn more about the ancestral heritage of the Mapuche People. This proud nation has a huge influence in the Lake and Volcano District. We are able to get to know a friendly family, who shares with us their way of life between the actual progress and the ancestral heritage.

In our rewilding work on day 6 of the tour, in the city of Llanquihue, we will combine this regeneration effort to work with local communities, creating a virtuous circle where nature gets restored and communities get benefits.

Furthermore we meet the friendly Kawésqar women. They started and initiative to rescue their culture. Valuing the ancestral heritage that they inherited from their canoe ancestors of Kawésqar. The vision of this project is to generate, in a collaborative way and through the dialogue between indigenous communities and interested people, the best strategy to value the culture and ancestral Kawésqar heritage. Through initiatives that benefit the original people, its members, culture, and the ancestral territory.

We will learn about the traditional basket weaving. This local art of mainly Kawésqar women has been transmitted by their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters. They kept alive the beautiful handwork with a thin vegetal fiber known as jonquil.

 

basket weaving kawesqar women
Basket weaving Kawesqar women. © ChileNativo

Multisport activities on the Route of Parks Tour

 

We love the adventure and want to share this feeling with you. We kick-off the trip hiking among volcanoes and ancient Araucaria trees. Then we jump on our bikes and travel southbound Pedalling the Lake and Volcano scenic route is a great way to appreciate the stunning nature with the perfectly cone-shaped volcanoes, pristine lakes, and beautiful national parks.

Afterwards we leave the bikes behind and continue by water, rafting the turquoise rapids of Petrohué river. Then we follow Carretera Austral by foot. Exploring active volcanoes, hidden waterfalls, and the Northern Fjords of Patagonia. Finally, one of the highlights of the trip is definitely the day kayaking in Torres del Paine. Paddling in between floating icebergs and descending the Grey River is something you will remember forever!

 

Cyclimg in the Lake and Volcano Route
Cycling in the Lake and Volcano Route. © Amity Tours

A trip of your lifetime

 

The Route of Parks, a Patagonia Collection Program, is a lifetime experience for the traveler seeking the awe and wonder that Patagonia provokes in all of us. This multisport journey exploring on foot, bike, and kayak connects some of the most spectacular landscapes of northern and southern Patagonia.

This exclusive program takes travelers to the base of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucarias of Conguillío National Park. To the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park. Last but not least, a stunning finale at the wild and diverse landscapes of the Torres del Paine National Park.

 

White-water rafting - Petrohue river
White-water rafting, Petrohue River. © BirdsChile

Travel must be an act of empathy

 

During the last ATTA Elevate event we had a wonderful, and educational session filled with great conversations from participants from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.

 

 

The result? Conservation is not enough anymore. Travel must be an act of empathy. Travel must regenerate communities and ecosystems, and as a leader in our trade, and as travelers ourselves, we must make conscious decisions to transform. Transform our programs, our products, and ourselves into something greater – even if that means making certain sacrifices such as smaller group departures and lower-impact travels.  The effects of travel must be measurable and traceable.

 

We are convinced that travel MUST regenerate our public and private lands, environments, ecosystems, and communities.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn about the Chilean culture

Musician Accordeon

Amity Tours offers not just a simple trip to Chile. We make sure you learn more about the Chilean culture during all our tours. We would like to share some traditions from our friendly local team.

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

People behind Amity Tours

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

Man Hiking OutdoorMan Chile Van

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

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

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

Van Sprinter Volcano Flowers

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

La Cueca – the chilean traditional dance

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

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

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

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

People Party Guitar

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

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

The Chilean Slang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The chilean wine

Wine Bottle Nature

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

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

Fully licensed and responsible tour operator

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

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

 

 

The best hikes in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

Hiking Villarrica National Park
Pichillancahue Glacier Trail – Villarrica National Park

Discover the best hikes in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District.

If you are an avid hiker, nature lover or fellow traveler looking for some amazing landscapes, here’s a list of the best hikes you can find in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District!

Kutralkura Geopark – Christmas Crater Hike

The Christmas Crater is a pyroclastic cone of the Lonquimay Volcano located in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. It was formed during the volcanic eruption on December 25 of 1988, and reaches a height of 190 meters from its base.

The hike to the crater is not technical; but you’ll do require mountain gear to climb it in winter as it is covered in snow. However, in summer (from November to Early April), the trekking doesn’t require any gear.

Regarding difficulty, it is relatively short, and takes approx. 2 to 4 hours back and forth depending on your walking pace. It is ideal for families with young children, or people with not a lot of hiking experience.

From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view over the foothills of the Lonquimay Volcano. In addition to the lava field, extended araucarias tree forests, along with view over the Tolhuaca and the Callaqui Volcanoes.

Kutralküra Geopark & Lonquimay Volcano – Lake and Volcano District

Coloradito trail hike – Malalcahuello National Reserve

The Coloradito trail, located at the Malalcahuello National Reserve, is a place shaped by tectonic and volcanic processes with an interesting and endemic fauna and flora.

This trail is a good alternative featuring typical landscapes of the Andes mountain range under the watchful eye of the Lonquimay Volcano.

All along the way, you’ll pass through forests of endemic trees such as the araucaria and the lenga tree surrounded by the ground vegetation with a predominance of michay, quila and viola trees.

Called “El Coloradito”, it is unique access to the Lonquimay Volcano that ending near the Coloradito River. The landscape is dominated by the presence of the Lonquimay Volcano and the Sierra del Colorado. During the hike, you can observe the Llaima Volcano and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Cerro Coloradito Trail – Malalcahuello National Reserve

Sierra Nevada hike – National Park Conguillio

The Conguillio National Park is one of the most outstandings places Chile has to offer. With the stunning Llaima Volcano, Sierra Nevada, lagoons everywhere, araucarias tree forests, endemic fauna and flora, it is a must-see for everyone who wants to visit Southern Chile.

The national park has a wide variety of trails, but without a doubt, the Sierra Nevada hike is the most accessible and offers a wider range of landscape, enough to get a good idea of the natural richness existing in the region.

The Sierra Nevada trail begins from one of the most beautiful beaches of the Conguillio Lake, passes through a spectacular endemic forest with several viewpoints facing the lake along the way. After 3 hours, the trail reaches a clear and an out-of-the woods viewpoint facing the Llaima Volcano and the Conguillío Lake.

The hike is not technical, but does require a minimum of good health as the path can sometimes be steep. In winter, the trail is covered in snow, requiring mountain gear and good hiking experience.

This 10-kilometer long hike is recommended for active people.

Sierra Nevada Trail – Conguillio National Park

Andean Lagoons hike – Villarrica National Park

Close to the Argentinean Border, and located at the foothills of the Lanín Volcano, this trail called “Lagos Andinos” is a must-see of the Villarrica National Park. During this amazing hike, suited for families, you’ll visit 3 lagoons in a large endemic forest with Coihues and Araucarias trees and end up in a volcanic landscape dominated by the majestic Lanín Volcano.

The hike begins at the shores of the Quillelhue Lagoon at 1200 meters above sea level. After 40 minutes of hiking on a flat terrain, you’ll arrive at the Huinfiuca Lagoon, the perfect spot for picnic.

Andean Lagoons Trail – Villarrica National Park

While you visit the park you will witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions and you’ll have the fantastic opportunity to see and walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. You’ll also visit the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden) and Huinfiuca with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.

That is to say, the hike is not technical and only requires a minimum of good health.

Huerquehue National Park

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

The hike, called “Sendero Los Lagos” starts easy but after a short distance the trail becomes rougher and sometimes steeper, but is still considered a relatively easy hiking level.

On your way to the lakes, you’ll get to see the Nido de Aguilas (nest of eagles) waterfall before the terrain gets steeper, surrounded by gigantic coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and mañíos (Podocarpus nubigena).

The first lookout point is where you’ll get to appreciate the views of Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m / 9.349 feet) and Tinquilco Lake which are absolutely stunning; here you’ll find great photo opportunities as well as chance to reenergize with a snack.

If you’re lucky, you can spot some birds that live in the forests of Nothofagus, such as chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula), black-throated huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii) and the magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) among others.

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

Once you pass the Trufulco falls, the hike gets a little more demanding. Once you’re over 1000 meters above sea level, you’ll see the first araucarias trees. You’ll then walk through a mixed forest before arriving at the first lake called Lago Chico. It is characterized by its clear waters reflecting the image of hundreds of araucarias, and the snow-capped peaks around.

After visiting the different lakes, you can then start to turn around and walk back to the entrance of the park.

El Cañi Reserve

El Cañi Reserve is located approximately 21 kilometers from Pucón. This 500-acre private reserve committed to the preservation of the Araucaria Araucania tree species.

This hike, although not technical, does require an overall good physical condition since you’d be constantly walking on a steep terrain until arrival to the final viewpoint. It starts with approx. 1,5 kilometer of flat terrain, and from there you’ll start the stiff climb for 3 more kilometers.

You’ll then arrive at Aserradero Refuge (1000 meters above sea level). It is the entrance of the reserve, with the first panoramic views over the valley and flora. You’ll pass through the Las Totoras Lagoon, Negra Lagoon surrounded by the thousands-year-old Araucaria, Lengua and Coihue trees.

The final path climbs until you arrive at the final viewpoint, your reward. You’ll have a 360° panoramic view over 4 volcanoes, two lakes and the valleys around the Reserve.

Moreover, you can walk around a small path that starts at Laguna negra and takes you to 6 mores lagoons.

El Cañi Sanctuary

Villarrica Volcano Ascent

Without a doubt, the Villarrica Volcano (2800 meters) ascent is a must-do activities if you plan to visit Pucón. As of today, it is one of the most active volcanoes in South America. The climb to its open crater is definitely a one of a lifetime experience.

The adventure starts at approx. 6 am, when the van takes you to the ski center located at 1.300 meters. After putting on your mountain gear, the hike begins with 2 options: use the chairlift, or start walking immediately.

Depending on your walking pace, it will take you approx. 4-5 hours to reach the open crater. From there, you’ll get to have an incredible 360° panoramic view over volcanoes, lakes, mountains and valleys around.

The descent consists in sliding down until the base of the Volcano (approx. 2 hours) where the van awaits you before taking you back to Pucón for a well-deserved rest.

Villarrica Volcano Climb

Pichillancahue Glacier hike – Villarrica National Park

The hike to Pichillancahue is not very famous but will surely take your breath away for its landscape. This is a hike suitable for everyone who seeks connection with nature, from children to elder adults.

This Glacier is located at the Villarrica National Park, Coñaripe side. Youll get to see several majestic snow-capped volcanoes such as Quetrupillan and Rucapillan. The vegetation changes from raulí and hualle forests to araucarias as you ascend to Chinay. The highest point of the day at 1.250 meters / 4.101 feet altitude.

After approximately 1.5 hour of hiking, you’ll arrive at the Pichillancahue Glacier trail. A good spot to relax and eat a good snack to refill energy if needed. The rest of the trail (3.5 hours round trip) leads to a phenomenal glacier covered by black volcanic ashes. Once again, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views of four volcanoes.

This hike is not technical and does not require any mountain gear. The best hiking time is during summer season.

Pichillancahue Glacier – Villarrica National Park

Visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do for every hiker & nature lovers.

Take a look at our hiking experiences in Southern Chile for some wild adventures!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Testing Epic Pacific Coast Trek in Chile

pacific coast chile

For the last 9 months, Amity Tours has been working with local communities in Mapu Lahual Reserve, developing a new trekking tour.

 

Pacific Coast Chile

 

We’ve been focusing on creating a different trekking option to Torres del Paine, that is completely overcrowded during our Summer.

The Epic Pacific Coast trek passes through Larch ancient forests as well Temperate Rainforests, fishing coves and pristine beaches. It is a hut to hut trekking staying with local Mapuche families. Thus, we will learn about ancient traditions and cosmovision. As we are guided by local guides, it is a really good example of community based tourism.

 

Pacific Coast Chile

Highlights

This amazing trekking experience includes trekking hut to hut by the Pacific Coast, an area very difficult to access. Scuba diving with the local fishermen. 2 nights stay with local fishermen families, eating seafood & fish for lunch and dinner. Chilean dolphins, sea-lions, and sea-otters watching (permanent residents). River crossings by foot and boat. Trekking among ancient Larch tree forest (Fitzroya cupressoides). uncrowded off-the-beaten-path trails. Host community belongs to the Williche indigenous ethnic group.

The final test will be from February 5th 2018 till February 10th 2018th, including national and international tour operators.

Our team, lead by the product manager Stef Carmody, is developing the final itinerary and we will have it live on our website soon.

pacific coast chile

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking in Chile early bird discount up to 300 USD

Hiking Tour Patagonia Experience Torres del Paine Chile

Hiking in Chile 2016-2017

Hiking in Chile Early Bird discount up to 300 USD.

Hiking in Chile Early Bird discount up to 300 USD
Hiking in Chile, Kutralkura Geopark

If you are one to get connected with nature through hiking experiences you must visit Chile and try what Amity Tours had prepared for the coming 2016-2017 season. Imagine yourself hiking through ancient forests, desert trails, glaciers, lakes, rivers and volcanoes. You will be able to discover amazing places, getting the chance to learn about ancient cultures and about flora and fauna native species.  You will discover Chile with an experience that will surprise you day by day. Chile is home to some of the most impressive sights in the Southern Hemisphere and to some of the world’s most classic trekking routes.Continue reading

Schon bestätigt: Rennradtouren in Chiles Vulkan- und Seengebiet, Winter 2015/16

bike tours chile october november 2016

Dem Winter in Deutschland entfliehen und einen einzigartigen Urlaub verbringen geht ganz einfach: und zwar mit unseren Rennradreisen in einer der schönsten Regionen Chiles, dem Vulkan- und Seengebiet.

Entdecken Sie das Vulkan- und Seengebiet Chiles auf die bestmögliche Art und Weise – auf einem Cannondale Rennrad. Unsere einzigartigen Touren führen Sie zu den schönsten Orten im grünen Süden Chiles. Auf Strecken von durchschnittlich 50-80 km am Tag fahren Sie entlang glitzernder Seen und Flüsse und haben dabei einen atemberaubenden Blick auf die gewaltigen Anden. Und werden außerdem schnell merken, dass an jeder Ecke ein aktiver Vulkan darauf wartet von Ihnen bestaunt zu werden! Diese einmaligen Touren werden Ihnen noch lange in Erinnerung bleiben.

Folgende Termine sind bereits bestätigt:

 

Diese Highlights warten auf Sie:

  • Unterbringung in 3-, 4- und 5-Sterne-Hotels
  • Professioneller Guide, der die gesamte Zeit an Ihrer Seite ist
  • Begleitfahrzeug bei allen Fahrten
  • Die Fahrten können individuell erweitert werden
  • Typische Mahlzeiten in familiengeführten Restaurants, immer begleitet von exzellenten chilenischen Weinen
  • Fahrt entlang der 7-Seen-Route und

 

Und zusätzlich auf der 12-tägigen Tour:

  • Besuch des Huilo Huilo Naturreservats
  • Silvester-Special: Menü und Feuerwerk in Pucón

 

Buchen Sie jetzt und erleben Sie einen einzigartigen Urlaub mit uns!

 

Der Vulkan Villarrica bricht aus – und Pucón ist hellwach – 3. März 2015

Seit dem 6. Februar 2015 ist der Vulkan Villarrica wegen erhöhter Aktivität für Besteigungen gesperrt, am 2. März wurde er auf Alarmstufe orange gesetzt. Und in der Nacht zum 3. März ist er dann tatsächlich ausgebrochen! Das wichtigste zu Beginn: es geht allen gut, Pucón und seine Bewohner haben keinen Schaden genommen und so langsam findet alles zur Normalität zurück. Dennoch möchte ich euch kurz erzählen, wie alles abgelaufen ist:

Irgendwie hatte ich in dieser Nacht einen sehr leichten Schlaf. Völlig untypisch für mich, die sonst schläft wie ein Stein. Vorsichtshalber hatte ich außerdem das Fenster aufgelassen. Mein weiß ja nie; wenn der Vulkan tatsächlich ausbricht, wollte ich auf keinen Fall die Sirene verschlafen! Um 3 Uhr hörte ich dann den Hund heulen. Also habe ich aufmerksam gelauscht… Nichts, keine Sirene. Na gut, der Hund heult öfters mal, also kein Grund zur Panik.
10 Minuten später hörte ich mein Handy brummen – Anruf einer Freundin. Leider war ich im Dunkeln zu langsam mein Handy zu finden. Als ich es dann endlich hatte, war der Anruf bereits vorbei. Und als ich sah wer angerufen hatte, dachte ich mir „Achso, na, meine Freundin ist bestimmt feiern heute, schließlich ist es ihr letzter Abend in Pucón, vielleicht ruft sie nur deswegen an“. Also habe ich mir auch dann noch keine Sorgen gemacht. Als dann aber 5 Minuten später unsere Gastmutter nach oben kam und sagte „Chicas, levantanse, el volcán“, ja ,da wusste ich, dass nun tatsächlich das eingetreten war, was ich befürchtet hatte: der Ausbruch des Vulkan Villarrica.
Auch meine Mitbewohnerin hatte in dieser Nacht einen leichten Schlaf. Also waren wir ruck zuck hellwach, sind zum Fenster gesprungen und haben uns den Vulkan angeschaut. Das rote Leuchten und die in die Höhe schießenden Feuermassen haben dann das übrige dazu beigetragen, dass wir in Lichtgeschwindigkeit in unsere Kleidung gesprungen, Schal und Jacke geschnappt, Wasser abgefüllt und Kekse in den Rucksack geschmissen haben. In dem Moment standen dann auch schon Verwandte mit dem Auto vor der Tür um uns abzuholen und zur Peninsula, dem Evakuierungsgebiet von Pucón, zu fahren.
Im Zentrum angekommen hat sich mir ein ganz anderes Bild geboten als erwartet: kein Hauch von Panik oder Hysterie, alle sind zwar zügig, aber ruhig, zur Peninsula gestrebt, bewaffnet mit dicken Jacken, Decken, Rucksäcken oder teilweise sogar kleinen Koffern. Und natürlich dem wichtigsten Utensil: dem Handy. Jeder wollte sich versichern, dass es Familie und Freunden gutgeht und auch ich habe natürlich meine Freunde vor Ort angerufen, um zu horchen, ob alle in Sicherheit sind.
Hier vom Zentrum aus hatten wir einen guten Blick auf den nur 16 km entfernten Vulkan Villarrica und haben das ganze Geschehen beobachtet. Vor der Eruption wurde mir immer gesagt „Die Lava fließt so langsam, da kann man nebenher spazieren“. Was wir dort oben nun allerdings sehen konnten, sah ziemlich schnell aus! Ein bisschen mulmig wurde mir da schon zumute. Nach einiger Zeit wurden die Lavaausstöße weniger, der Vulkan schien sich zu beruhigen. Und uns allen war mittlerweile auch schon ziemlich kalt. Unsere Gastmutter hat dann schließlich gesagt, wir fahren zurück zum Haus. Mir blieb nichts anderes übrig als ihr zu vertrauen, schließlich hat sie schon 5 Eruptionen erlebt und weiß daher, wovon sie spricht. Zurück im Haus gab es zunächst einmal heißen Tee und Kaffee sowie Kekse und Brot für alle. Ein bisschen beunruhigt war ich noch, denn offiziell wurde die Warnung noch nicht aufgehoben. Mit dem Tagesanbruch legte sich die Aufregung dann aber schließlich. Meine Freunde waren mittlerweile auch wieder alle in ihre Unterkünfte zurückgekehrt, sodass ich mich innerlich entspannen konnte.
Für 7:30 Uhr wurden Aufklärungsflüge mit Helikoptern angekündigt, um bei Tageslicht das ganze Ausmaß betrachten zu können. Um 9 Uhr gab es die offiziellen Nachrichten, dass zwar noch Alarmstufe rot besteht, man aber in die Häuser zurückkehren könnte.

Nun, im Nachhinein, bin ich unendlich froh, dass der Sommer hier so heiß und die Schneedecke auf dem Villarrica so dünn war. Sonst hätten die schmelzenden Schnee- und Gletschermassen viel verheerende Folgen haben können. Auch froh bin ich darüber, dass die Eruption nicht schon vor 2-3 Wochen stattgefunden hat, als Hochsaison in Pucón und geschätzt 10 Mal so viele Menschen hier waren. Wer weiß was dann für eine Panik unter den Touristen ausgebrochen wäre. Die Einwohner Pucóns nämlich, die kennen das ganze Prozedere, und konnten dadurch die nötige Ruhe verbreiten.

Quetrupillan – die schlechte Alternative zum Vulkan Villarrica? Auf keinen Fall! – Februar 2015

Aufgrund von erhöhter Aktivität ist der Vulkan Villarrica seit dem 6. Februar 2015 gesperrt. So werden viele Touristen, die grade wegen der Besteigung dieses Vulkans nach Pucón kommen, enttäuscht. Doch an dieser Stelle möchte ich daran erinnern, dass wir uns in der Vulkan- und Seenregion Chiles befinden in der es – allein dem Namen nach zu urteilen – mehr Vulkane als nur den Villarrica gibt. Und diese stehen bisher zwar im Schatten des berühmten Bruders Villarrica, in Schönheit stehen sie ihm allerdings in nichts nach.

Als eine Alternative durfte ich den Stratovulkan Quetrupillan besteigen. Dieser liegt etwa eine Stunde Fahrtzeit von Pucon entfernt. Dass der Quetrupillan als „schlafend“ bezeichnet wird hat mich zuerst schon etwas enttäuscht. Doch die Enttäuschung war schnell vorüber, nachdem ich diesen erblickt habe.

Ich meldete mich am Tag vorher zu dem Aufstieg auf den Vulkan an. Dort wurde zunächst meine Ausrüstung angepasst (Schuhe, Helm, softshell Jacke und Hose und Garmaschen) und ich wurde darüber aufgeklärt, wie der folgende Tag ablaufen würde, was ich noch mitzubringen hätte und wie ich mich und meinen Körper am besten auf den Aufstieg vorbereiten sollte.

Am nächsten Morgen kam ich nach einem üppigen Frühstück, mit ausreichend Sonnencreme, Wasser und Verpflegung ausgestattet um 6.30 Uhr in der Agentur an. Dort packten wir die letzten Sachen ein, besprachen noch einmal die Tour und dann ging es im firmeneigenen Van auch schon los Richtung Quetrupillan.

Nach etwa einer Stunde Autofahrt über die mehr oder minder guten Straßen Chiles, kamen wir gut durchgeschüttelt und dadurch auch nicht mehr müde am Fuße des Vulkanes an. Dort gab es nochmal die Möglichkeit eine richtige Toilette aufzusuchen. Was für mich ungemein wichtig war, da ich eine ca. achtstündige Wanderrung als einzige Frau unter Männer vor mir hatte.

Gut vorbereitet machten wir uns also auf den Weg. Das erste Stück der Wanderung führte über eine Wiese mit Arraucaria Bäumen, die sehr selten und besonders für die Seen- und Vulkanregion sind. Auf der anderen Seite konnten einen Blick auf einen Berg werfen, der völlig durch einen Waldbrand ausgebrannt war und nur noch die Baumskelette erhalten waren. Das war sehr eindrucksvoll. Nach kurzer Zeit erreichten wir den Wald. Die Sonne war noch nicht über den Berg gekommen, sodass der gesamte Wald noch in einem stillem Morgenlicht lag. Es war etwas kalt, doch als wir die ersten kleineren Anstiege überwunden haben wurde einem schnell warm. Wir stiegen über Bäume und durchs Dickicht. Die gesamte Zeit mit den wundervollen Eindrücken des subtropischen Regenwalds. Man konnte Salamander mit ihren fantastischen Farben überall herum laufen sehen, und es gab wunderschöne Bäume und Blumen. Nachdem die Sonne durch das Blätterdickicht sickerte, war alles in ein warmes Licht getaucht. Bald mussten wir die erste Schicht unsere Kleidung ablegen.
Wir machten zwischendurch kurz Pause um Wasser zu trinken, gingen dann aber ziemlich zügig weiter.
Es war eine wunderschöne Wanderung, da wir im Wald nur auf zwei andere Wanderer trafen und dadurch die Natur gänzlich genießen konnten.
Als wir fast die Baumgrenze erreichten, begegneten wir einer Herde von Kühen. Das war sehr eindrucksvoll für mich, weil ich vorher noch nie wilden Rindern begegnet war. Unsere Guides mussten Sie vom Weg verscheuchen, damit ein durchkommen möglich war. Ein Bild was ich wohl nie wieder vergessen werde – Rinder im subtropischen Regenwald.
Nach etwa zwei Stunden erreichten wir dann die Baumgrenze und konnten schon den breiten Gipfel des Vulkanes erblicken.
Wir wanderten noch ein Stück weiter und machten dann unsere erste große Pause, bei der wir uns an unsere Verpflegung machten, nochmal Sonnencreme auftrugen und einfach etwas Energie für den weiteren Aufstieg tankten.
Nach 15 Minuten rasten ging es dann weiter. Ich war schon sehr optimistisch, denn bis zum Gipfel sah es gar nicht mehr weit aus. Nach persönlicher Abschätzung vielleicht noch so 45 Minuten…. Nach einer Stunde weiterer Wanderung musste ich aber einsehen, dass ich mich wohl ziemlich verschätzt habe. Der Anstieg war nicht sehr steil und so war es nicht so sehr Kräfte raubend aufzusteigen, jedoch zog sich der Weg etwas.
Doch seit wir die Baumgrenze hinter uns gelassen hatten, wurden wir in jedem Moment mit einem wunderschönen Rundumblick auf die umliegende Natur belohnt. Man konnte die Vulkane Llaima und Villlarrica sehen, die umliegenden Wälder und den See Villarrica.
Mit dieser Landschaft im Rücken wurde der Ehrgeiz nochmal vollstens entfacht. Man hatte nur noch im Kopf, wie das alles wohl vom höchsten Punkt aussehen würde.
So machten wir uns weiter Vulkan aufwärts, über zunehmend steiniges Gelände und über einige kleine Eisfelder auf dem Weg zum Ziel.
Hinter einer großen Steinkette machten wir unsere finale Pause, um uns nochmal für die letzte halbe Stunde etwas fordernderen Aufstiegs über sehr steiniges Gelände zu wappnen.
Mit einem weiterem Sandwich, Banane und etwas Schokolade, sowie neuer Schicht Sonnencreme, machten wir uns daran, die letzten Meter zu erklimmen.
Nach einer halben Stunde kamen wir dann auch tatsächlich oben an. Dort erwartete uns ein riesiger Gletscher, der den ehemaligen Vulkanschlot überdeckte – ein eindrucksvolles Bild. Um den wirklichen Höhepunkt zu erreichen, mussten wir noch ein kleines Stückchen weiter über die Steine klettern.
Als wir dort ankamen, fiel sich die gesamte Gruppe in die Arme und beglückwünschte sich. Wir machten Fotos und schlugen dann ein kleines Lager, durch die Steine vor dem Wind geschützt, auf.

Dort rasteten wir ca. eine Stunde, erzählten uns Geschichten aus den verschiedenen Leben und die verschiedenen Eigenheiten der Nationen, genossen den wunderschönen Ausblick auf die 3 Vulkane um uns herum und die atemberaubende Natur. Der Himmel war blau und die Sonne schien – wunderbar!

Kunterbunt und glücklich – der Color Run in Pucón – Februar 2015

Gelb, rot, grün, lila, pink, blau. Ein wahres Farbspektakel.
Am 15. Februar 2015 fand das weltweite kunterbunte Lauf-Event „THE COLOR RUN“ in Pucón statt. „Die wohl verrücktesten und buntesten 5 Kilometer deines Lebens!“, heißt es im Internet. Und so war es dann auch.
Schon seit einer Woche bin ich immer mal wieder an den Ständen vorbeigeschlichen, bei denen man sein Starter Kit erwerben kann. So ganz entschließen konnte ich mich aber nicht. Schließlich sind es 5 Kilometer die gelaufen werden sollten! Und in Pucon ist grade bestes, also heißes, Sommerwetter. Mit der richtigen Truppe als Motivationshilfe habe ich mich dann aber doch noch spontan, am vorherigen Abend nämlich, entschieden mitzumachen. Und ich kann euch sagen: diese 5 km waren einfach klasse!
Das Starter Kit enthielt das Eintrittsband, ein weißes T-Shirt, einen Farbbeutel und einen Müsliriegel. Mit diesen Utensilien habe ich mich dann am Morgen auf den Weg zu unserem Treffpunkt gemacht. Um 9 Uhr sollte es losgehen. Aber naja, wir sind in Chile, also sind wir gegen 9:40 Uhr an der großen Bühne angekommen, wo schon etliche Teilnehmer fleißig am Warm Up Programm teilgenommen haben. Warm Up hieß in diesem Fall, dass allerbeste Partymusik gespielt wurde, auf der Bühne eine Aerobic Trainerin einige Übungen vorgemacht und vor der Bühne einfach alle gefeiert haben. Es hat mehr den Anschein erweckt ich befände mich auf einem riesigen Open Air Festival abends um 22 Uhr und nicht morgens um 9:40 Uhr in dem kleinen Ort Pucon.
Diez, nueve, ocho, siete, seis, cinco, cuatro, tres, dos, uno …… START!! Um 10:15 Uhr fiel der Startschuss für die erste Gruppe. Denn aufgrund der großen Teilnehmerzahl (etwa 9.000 wie ich später erfahren habe) konnten nicht alle Läufer gleichzeitig an den Start gehen. Ich befand mich in der letzten Gruppe die starten durfte. Was aber gar nicht schlimm war, denn hier ging es ja gar nicht darum der schnellste zu sein, sondern auf den 5 Kilometern möglichst viel Spaß zu haben und kunterbunt ins Ziel zu laufen. Nachdem ich meine Laufgruppe in dem Gewühle ab und an verloren und dann doch wiedergefunden habe, sind wir alle gemeinsam bereits leicht angefärbt ins Ziel eingelaufen. Doch die eigentliche Farbexplosion sollte erst noch kommen!
Wo vor dem Lauf noch das Warm Up stattgefunden hat, war nun wieder Party angesagt. Diesmal aber haben alle nicht auf den Startschuss, sondern die Explosion der riesigen Farbbomben gewartet. Und kurz nachdem wir auf dem Gelände angekommen sind war es dann auch schon so weit: Wieder wurde ein Countdown gezählt und schon bei „uno“ konnte ich so gut wie nichts mehr sehen, denn innerhalb von Sekunden hat sich die gesamte Umgebung in ein Meer aus Farbstaub verwandelt. Diese erste Farbexplosion hat mich so überrumpelt, dass ich gar keine Zeit gehabt hatte meinen eigenen Farbbeutel herauszuholen. Aber die zweite Explosion, die gehörte dann mir! Wie verrückt hat die ganze Menge getanzt, ist gesprungen, hat gerufen und jede Menge Spaß gehabt! Und man muss sich immer noch vor Augen führen: es war 12 Uhr morgens, heißes Sommerwetter und kein Alkohol im Spiel. Aber durch die gesamte Atmosphäre wurden alle in so eine ausgelassene Stimmung versetzt, dass alles andere gar keine Rolle gespielt hat.
Als ich dann so mit Farben bedeckt war dass es sich fast so angefühlt hat, als hätte ich eine Schlammpackung auf dem Gesicht, habe ich das Festivalgelände verlassen und mich auf den Weg zur Arbeit gemacht. Jaja, die Pflicht ruft.
Vorher habe ich natürlich ausgiebig geduscht, gefühlte 30 Minuten mit 10 Mal waschen. Als ich dann auf der Arbeit ankam wurde ich trotzdem ein wenig ausgelacht, denn mein Gesicht war immer noch rosa und meine Füße etwas blau. Nun gut, damit konnte ich leben. Und als ich abends meine Laufgruppe wiedergetroffen habe, habe ich auch gesehen: ich bin nicht die einzige mit Farbe in den Haaren oder im Gesicht. Aber das ist nun wohl einfach das Anzeichen dafür, dass wir alle einen grandiosen Tag verlebt haben!!!

Unter einem verstaubten Gesicht, findet man ein ganz breites Lächeln – Buggy Tour zum Vulkan Villarrica – Februar 2015

Heute Morgen um 10.00 Uhr ging meine erste Buggy Tour los. Ein Buggy ist eine Art allradbetriebenes, kleines, offenes Auto mit Platz für bis zu 2 Personen. Ich bin vorher schon mal Quad und Kart gefahren und hatte noch gar nicht so die Vorstellung, wie sich das anfühlen würde in einem Buggy zu sitzen.
Wir sind mit 3 Buggys a 2 Personen gestartet.

Der erste Teil der Tour, der durch Pucon und aus Pucon hinaus führte, gab den Fahrern die Möglichkeit, sich an die Fahrweise und den Umgang mit dem Buggy zu gewöhnen. Der Mitfahrer hatte die Möglichkeit, die Umgebung von Pucon nochmal aus einem ganz anderen Winkel zu betrachten und damit Seiten an der Stadt zu finden, die ihm vorher noch nicht bewusst waren. So habe ich zum Beispiel einige Orte gesehen, von denen ich gar nicht wusste, dass sie existieren.
Nach einigen Minuten führte uns unser Weg aus der Stadt heraus und wir machten uns zunächst noch auf befestigter Straße auf den Weg zum Vulkan Villarrica, was es uns ermöglichte, die Schnelligkeit des Buggy’s zu erproben. Ich liebe es mit schnellen Autos zu fahren und die Beschleunigung zu spüren. Wem es auch so geht, der sollte auf jeden Fall einmal die Fahrt mit einem Buggy ausprobieren!
Die Fahrzeuge fahren zwar nicht so schnell wie es wohl der eine oder andere BMW tut, aber durch die Nähe zur Straße, die offene Fahrerkabine und die fehlende Windschutzscheibe bekommt man einen ganz anderen Bezug zur Geschwindigkeit.
Nach einiger Zeit auf der Straße kamen wir dann am Nationalpark Villarrica an. Mit der Ankunft dort hörte auch die befestigte Straße auf und damit fing der Spaß erst richtig an!
Durch Schlaglöcher, unebenes Gelände und kurvenreiche steile Aufstiege, auf einem Sandweg machten wir uns daran, den Vulkan zu erklimmen.
Besonders Spaß hatte ich in den Teilen der Strecke, an denen der Buggy richtig Schräglage bekam und dort, wo die Räder nicht richtig griffen weil der Untergrund sandig und rutschig war – herrlich!
Nach etwa anderthalb Stunden erreichten wir dann den Zielpunkt, die 2. Skibasis, hinter der man nur noch Wandern kann, weil jegliche Befestigung aufhört. Dort machten wir eine kurze Pause.
Es ist ein wunderschöner Ort um Fotos zu machen, da im Hintergrund der Vulkan empor ragt und man sich aber gleichzeitig so hoch befindet (1.400m), dass man die wunderschöne Landschaft rund um Pucon mit dem See Villarrica und den zahlreichen Bäumen überblicken kann.
Nach ca. 10 Minuten Pause sind wir dann doch noch etwas weiter auf den Vulkan hinauf gefahren, damit alle die Allrad Funktionen des Buggys austesten konnten – das war ein Spaß! Rauf und runter im Gelände über große und kleine Hindernisse, so dass man nur so von einer Staubwolke eingehüllt war.
Dann ging es wieder hinunter – die Abfahrt war noch besser als das Aufsteigen, man konnte nun richtig an Geschwindigkeit zunehmen und die Handbremse nutzen um die Kurven zu passieren – Adrenalin pur!
Ich dachte schon es soll gleich wieder nach Pucon gehen – aber nein, hinter dem Nationalpark nahmen wir noch eine andere Abzweigung, wieder ein Stück hinauf, auf diesem Stück gab es nochmal die Möglichkeit die Geländefähigkeit des Buggys auf die Probe zu stellen.
Der Weg dort war nochmal etwas natürlicher und damit hatte ich nochmal etwas mehr Spaß. Am Ende dieses Weges war nochmal ein Punkt, an dem man einen wunderschönen Blick auf den Villarrica Vulkan und die Bergketten hatte. Nach noch einem kleinen Stück 4×4 ging es aber dann doch wieder zurück nach Pucon.
Auf dem Rückweg konnte man noch mal den Fahrtwind auf seiner Haut genießen und die Umgebung auf sich wirken lassen, die die Straße durch den Wald zu bieten hatte.
Nach drei Stunden kamen wir dann wieder, mit einem neuen tollen Erlebnis bereichert, in Pucon an.