Multisport experience – Lake and Volcano District Scenic Route Chile

multisport chile

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

 

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

 

About the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Multisport Experience – Llanquihue Lake Circuit 

 

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

Discover the incredible multisport route we lived!

 

ebike llanquihue lake

 

Day 1 – Kayaking Río Puelo

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Discover this route on SUDA, our application partner.

 

Day 2 – Horsebackriding Cochamó Valley

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

Discover this route on SUDA!

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Discover this route on SUDA!

 

Day 4 – Cycling Llanquihue Lake from Las Cascadas to Frutillar

 

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

 

Check our last adventure gravel cycling around Llanquihue Lake!

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Climbing the Villarrica, Chile’s most active volcano

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to climb Chile’s most active volcano ? Find out why this experience is truly unique and a must-do excursion if you plan to visit Pucón!

Without a doubt, you’ve definitely heard about the incredible diversity of landscape inside the Chilean territory. If you like going on adventures in nature, Chile should appear on your next travel destinations list. Thirsty for thrilling and unique excursions ? Then climbing the Villarrica, Chile’s most active volcano, is for you!

Description and last eruption

The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters), or Ruka Pillañ in Mapundungún, is a Chilean stratovolcano located in the southern section of the Western Andes. It is situated at the limit of the Araucanía Region and Los Ríos Region, between the Villarrica and Calafquén Lakes. The slopes of the volcano are divided between the cities of Villarrica (North-West), Pucón (North-East) and Coñaripe (South). Finally, it is one of the most beautiful volcanoes of Chile because of it is perfectly cone-shaped, in addition to have a snow-coated summit all year long.

Currently, it is administered by the CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal or National Forest Corporation). The volcano and surroundings form the Villarrica National Park which is a protected area.

With an open crater of 200-meter of diameter, where at the bottom lies a permanent magma lake with a varying depth of 50 and 100 meters. The level of the lava constantly goes up or down. This lake always presents an intense fumerole, frequently accompanied by a weak eruptive activity.

Since 1558, there have been at least 90 volcanic eruptions registered. The most recent happened on March 3rd of 2015 at about 3:00 am. The most energetic phase lasted approximately 55 minutes, characterized by an eruptive column that reached between six and eight kilometers in height. Vertically from the crater,  the emission of lava reached up to 1,5-kilometer high.

Following the eruption, the Villarrica National Park around the volcano was closed until the end of the year. As of today, the ski center opens for the ski season every year, along with the organized excursions to the top.

 

 

The Villarrica Volcano or Ruka Pillañ in the Mapuche’s cosmovision

In the Mapuche’s native language, Mapudungun, the Villarrica Volcano is named Ruka Pillañ, which means “House of the ancients’ spirits”. For them, the volcano is inhabited by the main spirit of nature who owns it. It is a kind of spirit from of the hills and volcanoes. Alongside this tutelary presence, there would inhabit some other minor spirits in relation to nature, but extremely powerful.

In other words, the Villarrica and its inhabitants take a very special place in the Mapuche’s cosmovision. The simbolism is clear: associated with the good, in opposition with the Llaima volcano that they associate with the bad. As a result, the propitious Rucapillan inspires beneficial dreams and “good weather”, whereas the Llaima transmits bad omens.

Finally, the Villarrica is symbolically related to a group of other elements associated with the positive. For example the colors violet and green, the Moon, the stars in general, the South and the East.

mapuche people of the land
The Mapuches are the people of the land.

Ascent to Villarrica Volcano’s open crater

 

Open crater with a view

 

If your next travel destination is Chile, you definitely have to add the visit of Pucón and the excursion to the top of Villarrica Volcano. Not only the amazing 360° panoramic view will blow your mind, but you will feel the unique sensation to step on Chile’s most active volcano.

As this activity requires optimal conditions, the hike mostly depends on the weather. A clear sky and a minimum wind are the required conditions for the hike to be safe. During this excursion, 3 professional mountain guides and assistant will accompany the ascent, along with a mountain gear. This includes: gloves, helmets, snow pants, mountain boots, crampons, ice axe, and mountain bag.

The ascent is available almost all year long, but the level of difficulty mostly depends on the season. In summer, the hike is easier for the snow only covers the crater, thus making the climb accessible to every hiker. In winter, the snow fully covers the Villarrica volcano and the hike gets more difficult. It usually requires a good physical health since hiking on snow during 6 hours can be exhausting, but definitely worth the effort.

Excursion

 

villarrica volcano
Villarrica volcano ascent

 

Usually in Amity, we set the departing hour early in the morning. At 6:30, we gather with our mountain guides and leave towards the ski center. Once arrived, we put on our mountain gear, and then the ascent begins.

In summer, we use the ski lift, in order to gain approximately 1 hour of walking. Then begins the hike, which lasts roughly 4 to 6 hours depending on the group’s walking pace. All along the climb, the view is mind blowing as the summit gets closer. Before reaching the open crater, we’ll take a pause to enjoy the view, relax, and get to refill energy with a picnic lunch.

At around 1 pm, we reach the summit which is the ultimate reward of the hike. A stunning view over 8 different volcanoes, 6 lakes and the valley surrounding the volcano awaits you. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to observe some lava flows depending on the magma lake’s level.

After then, we begin the descent. It basically consists in sliding down the volcano. In winter, enjoy skiing down the slopes of the volcano which is truly an incredible to live for every ski lover!

 

open crater
Open crater with fumerole

 

If you’re interested in climbing the Villarrica volcano, we highly suggest you to take a look at our hiking tours.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want a tailor-made trip in the Lake and Volcano including the climbing of Chile’s most active volcano!

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