Scouting the Pacific coast of La Araucania Region, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

Playa puacho chile

Home of the Mapuche indigenous people, Chile’s Lake and Volcano District has a wide range of natural and cultural highlights. At Amity Tours, we are always exploring new routes or beautiful sites, and yet we still get surprised about the great diversity. Recently, we went on to discover the Pacific coast of La Araucania region for our newest gravel bike tour. 

 

gravel bike chile mapuche
Amity team working on finding new gravel bike routes to explore in La Araucania.

 

During our last scouting trips, we focused more on the mountain part of La Araucania Region. Indeed, we travelled to the amazing Conguillio National Park for some gravel adventures alongside Llaima volcano, in addition to biking alongside the Araucaria trees (Monkey Puzzle Trees) towards Mamuil Malal pass, the border with Argentina.

 

 

In this instance, we wanted to get to know more in depth the Pacific coast side of La Araucania Region. Thus, we started at the Temuco Airport (ZCO) and drove towards the west, passing through the town of Freire. There, we visited a very charming lady with their famous handicrafts. 

After a nice lunch at Teodoro Schmidt, we went on the gravel roads until arriving at the famous Budi Lake. 

 

Lago Budi Wampo Pacific Coast
Lago Budi traditional Wampo (wooden canoe)

 

Facts about Budi Lake

 

In Mapudungun, “Budi” means “salty” and it is the only salted lake in Chile. The Budi Lake is located near the Pacific coast of La Araucanía , and is part of the county of Puerto Saavedra.   

Comprising a total area of 65 square kilometers, the lafkenche (“men of the sea”) communities inhabit around the Budi Lake. As one of the last biodiversity reserves of La Araucanía Region, it is home to almost 200 native flora, in addition to 156 species of endemic fauna. 

Throughout history, the steady raising of the ocean and tidal cycles have been sculpting the lake. But in 1960, a huge earthquake permanently shaped the Budi lake since wide areas of low altitude were flooded forever.

During our stay at Llaguepulli at Budi Lake we got to know a few families of the Mapuche Lafkenche community. We had a nice chat around the bonfire at their typical ruka and enjoyed a tasty home made dinner. 

 

Typical Ruka Lafkenche at Lago Budi Araucania
Typical Ruka Lafkenche at Lago Budi

 

Mapuche Lafkenche

 

The Lafkenche group mainly lives by the Pacific Ocean and around the Budi Lake. Their traditional house is a ruka lafkenche, whose construction is mainly covered by the kuna, a plant of the territory. The main feature of the typical housing is the stove located at the center of the house where the family and invited guests meet.

Regarding the lafkenche gastronomy, we find a strong association with the sea. Indeed, the main typical dishes are based on seafood products, fish and seaweed. In addition, the Lafkenche Mapuche also incorporates wild fruits to give the dishes a unique flavor.

Among the cultivable products in the lafkenche cooking, the potato stands out. Actually, the Lafkenche territory supplies a large part of the potato demand of Chile.

 

Fresh Seafood Mapuche lunch
Fresh Seafood lunch

 

Local handicrafts

 

One of my personal goals when travelling to the Budi lake was finding one of the famous pilwa bags. I have been looking for it for a long time, but wanted to buy it directly from a local producer. 

On our way around the Budi lake, I found a very friendly Mapuche woman offering me one of her bags. Of course I did not doubt any second and bought one of her self-made treasures. 

What makes these bags so unique?

The pilwa is part of the identity and craft tradition of the Mapuche Lafkenche who live around the Budi lake. They are made from the plant known as  “chupón” (Greigia sphacelata), a vegetable fibre that grows around the lake. This specific plant is giving rise to basketry products such as bags, baskets and key rings. A 100% biodegradable material which offers a great alternative to the plastic products generating a vast amount of waste. 

As part of my own Zero Waste philosophy, I love finding local, climate friendly products and contributing to the local circular economy. Something that is also reflected in our company’s values like the Zero Waste Challenge. Also check out our Sustainable Practices

 

Mapuche pilwa bag
Traditional Pilwa bag

 

After a very unique night spent in one of the traditional Rukas, we woke up with the sound of the singing birds and the mooing cows, in addition to the familiar smell of the bonfire that provided us with heat during the night. 

The generous breakfast gave us the energy to continue our adventure in the Pacific coast of La Araucania.

  

 

Puacho Beach

 

playa puacho chile Pacific coast
Seashells on volcanic rock in Puacho beach, Puerto Saavedra

 

Only 11 kilometres from the small village of Llaguepulli, we reached the beautiful Puacho beach. Several installations give evidence to the ritual ceremonies (Nguillatun and Traditional Horse Racing) taking place at this beach. 

Bordering the Pacific Ocean we enjoyed great unpaved roads and spotted a Lile cormorant colony (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) on the northern side of the beach. The lile, or red-legged cormorant is an endangered bird and one of the most beautiful cormorants in Chile. We could observe their spectacular flights and hunting activities while enjoying the nice ocean breeze. 

 

cormorant lile
The Cormorant Lile inhabit the Pacific coast of Chile

On the northern end of the Budi lake and turning west to the Pacific Ocean we got to the city of Puerto Saavedra.

 

Puerto Saavedra

 

Puerto Saavedra is the main urban center of the Saavedra county. This place, which in Mapudungun means “The melody of the river when it sounds” is located in front of the river mouth of the Imperial. In addition, here the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Budi lake and Imperial river converge. 

The city was founded by the sea in 1887 by Cornelio Saavedra. However, the 1960 tsunami devastated the town, which later had to be rebuilt behind the dunes of the sector.

There, we enjoyed a tasty and fresh seafood lunch looking at the riverside. Afterwards, we continued our journey passing by the city of Carahue and Nuevo Imperial. 

On our way to the nice little town of Capitan Pastene, the pine plantations predominated the landscape and gave evidence to the importance of the wood production in this area. 

 

Capitan Pastene Araucania
The landscape around the village of Capitan Pastene

Capitán Pastene: the little Italy of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

Museo Jamon Serrano Capitan Pastene Araucania
Cured ham production in Capitan Pastene

 

The Italian and Chilean traditions blend together in a unique way in Capitán Pastene. Indeed, the original recipes have been transferred from generation to generation as well as its inhabitants’ hospitality. 

Capitán Pastene is the village that illustrates and represents the Italian migration, specially those italians from the Emilia-Romagna region. In fact, its tradition has remained unchanged as of now. There, we can visit the pasta factories and buy artisanal sausages and hams. But above all, you can also taste the original recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

 

capitan pastene araucania
Coppa hanging at the stores, a dry-cured pork ham.

 

The smell of fresh pasta, real prosciutto and Espresso transferred me to one of my beloved little italian towns visited during all the holidays in my childhood. Nothing prepares you to dive into this little Italian oasis.

Capitan Pastene is surrounded by pine plantations, small traditional towns and Mapuche communities, that is why you would never expect an italian town in the middle of that surrounding. We stayed at an Italian-Family owned Hotel L’Emiliano. 

 

Hotel and Restaurant LEmiliano Capitan Pastene Araucania
Hotel and Restaurant L’Emiliano, Capitan Pastene.

 

L’Emiliano is one of the first tourist businesses of the area. Besides offering accommodation for families and couples, this warm and spacious place also provides a rich and varied gastronomy. Indeed, its unique flavors and food combinations will take you straight to Italy. 

As a result, the menu features delicious fresh homemade pastas stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables and seafood. Not without mentioning the desserts delighting the palate with tiramisu or strawberry panna cotta.

 

Prosciutto Factory in Capitan Pastene Araucania
Prosciutto Factory in Capitan Pastene

Unmissable sites at Capitan Pastene

Walking around the nice little town, we could feel the efforts of the Italian immigrants due to the beautiful buildings and unmissable sites, such as:

  • The church of San Felipe de Neri, located in front of the main square. Since 1943, the church has been commemorating Saint Philip Neri, who was born in Florence, Italy.
  • Cinema Pastene. As the oldest movie theater in Chile, this cultural heritage belongs to the Viani Family. And what’s more, the place has maintained its original structure and design since its construction (year 1016).
  • The Prosciutto de Don Primo Cortesi museum. This typical Italian character reflects in a special way the settler from Emilia Romagna.
  • The Molino Rosatti. Built in 2016, this mill has ever since been keeping secrets and anecdotes of the new village Capitan Pastene.

I enjoyed visiting this authentic village a lot, but at the same time feeling curious about the other interesting places of La Araucania region to visit. 

Leaving little Italy behind, and only driving a few kilometers we immersed ourselves into a total different surrounding: the Kuel valley.

 

Kuel Mapuche Araucania
Kuel is similar to a pyramid, made by the Mapuche people.

 

Kuel Valley

 

 

From ancestral times until the 19th century, the Mapuche communities constructed artificial and sacred earth mounds with the shape of a volcano. According to the anthropological study of Tom Dilehay, these mounds were used to bury the important persons and to serve the machis to feed the relationship between the ancestors and the living population. Moreover, the local family members used them as a map or as a reference physical node for families and lineages in the community.

In Purén-Lumaco valley, we can find the highest concentration of earth mounds in Chile. In effect, there still exist more than 300, which are more than 1,500-years-old. Thanks to them, we can learn more about the oldest monuments and rituals of the Mapuche people.

Inside the kueles, there is soil and material which come from other parts of the valley. This means that this work would have required the effort of many people. Some kueles are several meters high, which leads to presume that the ones who built the kueles were dedicated to this activity.

With this new knowledge I really got curious about the local Mapuche traditions, which vary depending on the geographic conditions in which each Mapuche group is settled. Indeed as people of the land (Mapu Che) they adapted their traditions due to the local conditions. That is why we can find differences between the Mapuche Lafkenche, Wenteche, Pewenche and Nagche. 

 

Mapuche Nagche, the human identity of the Nahuelbuta mountain range

 

In Mapudungun, Nag Mapu means “Land of the plains”.

The territory of the Nagche group skirts the southeast side of the Nahuelbuta mountain range. At first sight, the differences between the other territorial identities are hard to distinguish. One of them is the way to speak the native tongue Mapuzungun. Indeed, there are phonetical differences in how the Wenteche and Lafkenche speak Mapuzungun.

Another different aspect is the clothing. For example, the Nagche women decorate their clothes and plait with bright-coloured wool, or with silver inlaid wrappers. Also, they wear one-coloured aprons with breastplates, just like the blouses. In other territories, the women wear blouses and floral aprons. 

Moreover, we can notice distinctions in their ancestral housing. Actually, the traditional Nagche “ruka” has an oval plan, the roof is made with straw bundles and the side walls are made with wood. 

Whereas the Lafkenche ruka has a circular plan and both the roof and sides are covered with straw. Finally, the Pewenche ruka has a square plan, and the roof is made with a structure resistant enough to support the weight of the snow.

 

ruka lafkenche mapuche araucania
Traditional Lafkenche ruka

 

In their spiritual realm, the Nagche have been integrating the accordion to traditional music instruments in their prayers when praying or performing healing rituals such as Machitún or We Tripantu.  

Another difference in the spiritual part of the Nagche culture, the integration of the cinnamon tree as an element of great importance during the spirituals prayer and healing rituals. Unlike the nagche, the wetenche and lafkenche groups in La Araucanía Region commonly use the maqui, colihue and laurel trees.

In addition, it is worth noting as they live by the Nahuelbuta mountain range, the nagche easily have access to the pine nut, the fruit of the ancient monkey puzzle trees that grow in the region. But more importantly, they also have access to countless medicinal plants. 

 

Mapuche Museum at Purén

 

Mapuche Museum Puren Araucania
Mapuche museum in the city of Puren

 

Another great place to learn about the history of the Mapuche is the very interesting Museo Mapuche de Purén, located in the historical park of Purén overlooking the town. There you can find archaeological pieces, textiles and crafts. 

 

The threats of the forestry plantations

 

Nowadays it is quite hard to distinguish the kuels or other important mapuche sites in this area. That is why you will always have to be accompanied by a local Mapuche leader, who can explain to you the historical and actual use of the ceremony spots. 

 

Kuel Mapuche Araucania
Kuel, Important ceremony place surrounded by Eucalyptus plantation

 

Unfortunately, as a consequence of the forestry plantations and the agriculture, the ecosystems of the area have been heavily degraded and fragmented. Thus, the native vegetation has reduced to small sectors such as the Nahuelbuta National Park and the Contulmo Natural Monument.  

From an environmental point of view, the forestry plantations are the major contributor to the drought currently present in La Araucania region. Indeed, the planted trees by the industry like pine and eucalyptus are high water consumers. As a result, this has not only caused the social and economic poverty of the area, but the drought has also affected culturally. A clear example of this: the decrease of the plants ancestrally used as natural medicines.

That is why it is so important keeping as much protected area as possible. One very good example is the beautiful Nahuelbuta National Park.

 

Nahuelbuta National Park Araucania
Ancient araucaria or monkey-puzzle tree in Nahuelbuta National Park, La Araucania region

Nahuelbuta National Park

 

Founded in 1941, the Nahuelbuta national park is located on the highest zone of the Nahuelbuta mountain range, in La Araucanía Region. One of the last strongholds where the araucaria araucana lives, it has beautiful hiking trails and natural lookout points.

 

nahuelbuta mapuche people chile
Nahuelbuta national park

 

The park covers an area of 6,832 hectares, characterized by big forests of araucaria trees, most of them are thousands-year-old. As as specie native to the Andes mountain range, the Nahuelbuta national park is responsible of its protection.

You can hike 2 main walking trails in the Nahuelbuta national park. The first one is Piedra El Águila located 1.460 meters above sea level. There, you can find a lookout point with a spectacular view over the Andes mountain range, the valley, the Pacific coast and ocean. Second, the Cerro Anay (1,450 m.) offers a 5-kilometer hiking trail with stunning panoramic views over Los Nevados de Chillán, and the Villarrica volcano.

Back home I felt so grateful for the amazing opportunity to learn about the Lafkenche and Nagche culture and to enjoy the great trails on the coastal side of the Budi Lake. Not to forget the short excursion to little Italy, which stayed in an interesting contrast to the Mapuche culture and invited me to learn about the colonial history of Chile. 

Pacific coast Mapuche La Araucania
Pacific coast in La Araucania

We Tripantu – Mapuche New Year

Mapuche tripantu

Every year, the Mapuche people have an ancestral tradition. Indeed, between June 21 – 24, they celebrate the beginning of the new year.

 

Since inmemorial times, the day and night-sky stargazing has been one of the fundamental human activities. As a result, it has been possible to establish schedules, seasons of the year, weather forecasts, effective organization of sowings and harvests, as well as creating a complete system of spiritual beliefs.

Astro-bodies (like the Sun, the Moon, the shooting stars, the Milky Way, etc), are the stars understood from diverse cultural perspectives. Actually, they have a direct influence on the configuration of society.

 

mapuche culture
Illustration (Ramón Daza Pilquinao) extracted from the book “Wenumapu, Astronomía y Astrología Mapuche”, written by Margarita Canio and Gabriel Pozo.

 

Right from the start, the Mapuche People developed an extensive knowledge of astronomy and astrology. This has enabled them to have a complete notion of the changes in the position of the sun and other stars. And, in consequence, the variations produced in nature and human beings.

 

mapuche we tripantu
Illustration (Ramón Daza Pilquinao) extracted from the book “Wenumapu, Astronomía y Astrología Mapuche”, written by Margarita Canio and Gabriel Pozo.

 

Thus, that understanding led them to grasp accurately the language of the earth, its evolutionary stages, and the beginning and end of each year.

 

June Solstice

 

june solstice
June Solstice (Credit: www.timeanddate.com)

 

In the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the longest day of the year in terms of daylight, the June solstice is also called the summer solstice. On the other hand, June 21 is the shortest day and the longest night of the year for those who live in the Southern Hemisphere.

Accordingly, it is also the beginning of winter season. The corresponding solstice points the largest distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Solstices happen twice a year, in June and December. The June solstice happens around June 21, when the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. The December solstice takes place around December 21. On this day, the Sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn.

 

equinoxes and solstice
Equinoxes and solstice (Credit: www.timeanddate.com)

 

For the Mapuche, this coincides with the end of the harvest season, but also the beginning of the sewing period. According to their cyclic vision of the cosmos, the sun is the precursor of life. Consequently, their beliefs establish that the sun is born when the winter starts, is young during the spring, a grown-up in the summer and old in the fall, when the trees shed their leaves and the animals change their fur.

 

We Tripantu, the Mapuche New Year

 

mapuche colipi
Rosario Colipi frpm the Mapuche community of Quelhue, La Araucanía Region

 

The We Tripantu, or We Xipantu, is determined by the lunar cycle, which controls nature, the weather, rainfalls, the animal and plant life. Moreover, it also has much to do with the Mapuche daily life, their religion, philosophy, and their worldview.

In Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native languague, “We Tripantu” means”new year” or “sunrise”. Actually, it is an important celebration coinciding with the Inca ceremony of the Inti Raimy. They perform a Nguillatún, during which they are thank, pray and honour to the sun, source of wisdom and renewal.

 

mapuche araucania
Credit: Araucania Andina

 

We can define the We Tripantu as the end of the old year, and the beginning of the first cycle of a new year or new life, characterized by the return of the sun. A new cycle of production begins, the beginning of the most intense rains that prepare nature to welcome and encourage the wonderful growth of new life.

 

The We Tripantu Ceremony

 

On the evening of June 23, the rites begin with the families gathering around a stove while they eat typical dishes and the elders of the community tell stories. In the early morning of June 24, all the Mapuche members of the gathering leave the heat of the fire to make contact with the cold waters of rivers, streams and springs near by. There, they purify their body and spirit before the new sun rises to coincide with the new year.

 

we tripantu ceremony
We Tripantu Ceremony

 

Traditionally, the We Tripantu ceremony is accompanied by prayers. Then, each family returns home playing their traditional instruments and singing allusive songs. Some communities include popular games, baptisms and rituals in order to affirm their beliefs, as part of the festivities, and also to strengthen ties among all.

 

Thank to this cultural expression, we come to understand the profound relation that the Mapuche people maintain with Mother Earth. Actually, they deepen the consciousness of the Human Spirit engaging in a dialogue from their heart to guide the bond with Ñuke Mapu.

Trekking Mapu Lahual Chile – A Personal Experience

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

 

mapu lahual chile

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

mapu lahual trekking

 

Mapuche Williche Community

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

williche community chile
Williche fishermen

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

An unforgettable trekking

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Manquemapu

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Starting the trail “El Troncal”

 

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

 

el galpon mapu lahual

 

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

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

 

caleta condor mapu lahual
Looking at Caleta Condor

 

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

 

Famous Caleta Condor

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Huellelhue Cove, “the place where you swim”

 

Local transport in wooden fisher boats

 

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

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

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

 

Beach Rana Ranú
An unforgettable viewpoint overlooking the Beach Rana Ranú

 

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

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

 

Our todays campsite at Huellelhue

 

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

 

Course to Maicolpue

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

mapu lahual seafood
Fresh seafood and vegetables from the garden

 

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

 

mapu lahual Huellelhue River
Huellelhue River

 

 

About me

 

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

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

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

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

Best, Angela