Have you ever heard about the Red Interlagos in Southern Chile ? Also known as the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, it crosses through areas of immense landscape, environmental and cultural values. Without a doubt, visiting this part of the Chilean territory is a must-do as you can compare its natural beauty to other wonders like the Atacama Desert and Patagonia.
At the present time, the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route features more than 2.000 kilometers of roads. All together, they connect 6 tourist circuits passing through 3 regions: La Araucanía, Los Lagos and Los Ríos. There, you can witness some of the greatest natural beauties in Chile such as 26 big rivers, 22 lakes, 17 active volcanes and no less than 12 national parks.
Moreover, there exist 7 ski resorts and more than half the thermal areas of Chile. All these elements and so much more await you, come and see what southern Chile has to offer!
Araucanía Andina Circuit
The first circuit of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route starts in Curacautín. There, you can admire two mountain areas characterized by the presence of the Lonquimay volcano and the Llaima volcano. Both of them also corresponds to two huge river basins of the Cautín and the Bíobío rivers. Not to mention the most characteristic icon of the circuit: the Araucaria Araucana tree (commonly the monkey puzzle tree). Indeed, it is a tree considered sacred by the Mapuche-Pehuenche culture.
In the middle of spectacular landscapes dominated by ancient forests, rivers and mountains, you can find some protected areas. First, there is the Malalcahuello National Reserve surrounding the Lonquimay volcano where you can find the Corralco Ski Resort, Chile’s top place to practice winter sports.
Second, you can visit 2 incredible national parks, such as the Tolhuaca but also the Conguillío. Interestingly, the latter is part of Chile’s first geopark, the Kutralkura, which is part of UNESCO Global Geoparks since 2017. Thanks to the large number of sites of geological interest, this special place reveals part of the natural environment where dinosaurs lived.
Under those circumstances, The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) refers to the Conguillio as one of the last refuges in the World to preserve the landscape where dinosaurs lived.As a result, part of the documentary “Walking with Dinosaurs“ was filmed in the park.
Hence the high volcanic activity, the area allows the presence of various hot springs in the circuit. Among which there are the Malleco, manzana and Cañon del Blanco hot springs. By far, our favorite are the Malalcahuello hot springs, located in the Corralco hotel.
If you love mixing active adventures in nature with relaxing rest at hot springs, we suggest you to take a look at our following travel experiences:
Furthermore, the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route is framed by the Villarrica volcano. In reality, Chile’s most active volcano is the great natural monument of the Araucanía Lacustre circuit. Bordered by the Lake of the same name, you can also find the quaint city of Pucón. It is the capital of adventure tourism.
As a matter of fact, this circuit stands as a safety pin in the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route. To put it differently, you can find an impressive list of outdoor adventures to do. For example, you can hike through thousand years old forests, or ascend the Villarrica volcano. As well as rafting on the Trancura river, in addition to relax in natural hot springs. Above all, you can get the chance to connect with the roots of the Mapuche culture. As they are the first inhabitants of the Chilean territory, sharing with them will allow you to learn more about their ancestral traditions and their cosmovision.
Obviously, the Huerquehue and the Villarrica national parks are the unmissable protected areas to tick off your travel bucket list.
Get to know this incredible area in the following travel experiences:
In the Sietelagos circuit, the lush evergreen forests of the Valdivian rainforest will always accompany you. Alongside the only temperate rainforest in South American, you can also appreciate the beauty of 7 surprising lakes such as Calafquén, Panguipulli, Riñihue, Pellaifa, Neltume and Pirehueico.
The circuit has a strong Mapuche cultural identity, and an historical past linked to old wooden ports. Moreover, there exists an ecosystem that has hardly been explored. For instance, The Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is the natural icone of this circuit. There, areas of scientific and conservation interests overlap globally. In fact, it is home of a great natural diversity. Thanks to its particular geography, you can find lakes of glacial origin, eternal snow on the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano and countless water streams.
To visit the best of the Sietelagos circuit, we recommend you to take a look at:
To point out, the Ranco Lake is the third largest in the Chilean territory. With an extension of 442 square kilometers, large cattle farms, exuberant lush Valdivian forest, waterfalls and breathtaking cliffs surround the lake. The fully paved road passes through villages and corners full of history which refer to a valuable railway heritage.
On the other hand, the Futangue Park is one of our favorite places to visit around Ranco Lake. With more than 100 kilometers of trails, this place marks the beginning of North Patagonia. Close to the Puyehue National Park, Futangue is a private nature reserve is located at the feet of the Andes mountain range.
Important to realize, this area has some of the best preserved specimens of the Valdivian forest. Thus, it is one of the most biodiversity centers on the planet.
In the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, NorPatagonia is the shortest and narrowest circuit. But not the least attractive. In fact, the Puyehue national park and the lake of the same name are both not-to-be-missed attractions of the area. Around them, you can visit natural hot springs, exuberant evergreen forests, ski center and active volcanoes.
Like every parts of southern Chile, this area also features a great volcanic activity due to the presence of the volcanic complex Puyehue-Cordón del Caulle. they are two coalesced volcanic edifices that form a major mountain massif in Puyehue national park. Consequently, recent eruptions have left huge beds of lava.
For many, the Llanquihue lake circuit simply represents the golden brooch of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route. Surrounding Chile’s second largest lake, this circuit traverses the shadow of the mighty Osorno, Calbuco, Puntiagudo and Tronador volcanoes. They are some of the most beautiful landscapes in southern Chile.
Without a doubt, Puerto Varas is the base of the Llanquihue circuit. This city, like the other cities around the lake, gives account of an architectural identity strongly marked by the German influence. This legacy was left by the first German settlers in the 19s century. Not without mentioning the city of Frutillar which is part of the Creative Cities Network by UNESCO.
Among the natural attractions of the Llanquihue circuit, we find the Vicente Pérez Rosales national park, the Todos los Santos lake, and Chile’s largest bike path.
Stretching from Temuco city in La Araucanía Region, down to Puerto Varas in Los Lagos Region, traveling through this world-class destination is a must-do when visiting Chile. Indeed, the famous Lake and Volcano District is a fascinating territory thanks to its biodiversity and exuberant nature.
If you consider yourself a true nature lover, you will find there a unique paradise on Earth. Ancient evergreen forests, crystal-clear lakes, active volcanoes, whitewater rivers, ancient glaciers and eternal snow peaks of the Andes mountain range. The wild, lush and exuberant nature of southern Chile is home to the most memorable and eco-friendly travel adventures like hiking or cycling.
In this article, we made you a list of our favorite national parks in the Lake and Volcano District. There, you will be able to experience the true identity of Chile’s top destination.
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, the word “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.
Among its main attractions, the Llaima volcano (3.200m) stands out the most. Dominating the landscape, the volcano is surrounded by its lakes of volcanic formation and its forests of ancient araucarias.
Consequently, 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.
Our favorite hike to do is the Sierra Nevada trail with amazing views over the Conguillío Lake, Blanco River and the Llaima Volcano. With an area covering approximately 60.883 hectares, the park is part of the Araucaria Biosphere Reserve. Least but not last, it is also the heart of Chile’s first geopark: the Kutralkura, which has been part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network since 2017.
You can visit the Conguillio National park in the following travel adventures:
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.
You can explore the Villarrica National Park during the following travel adventures:
Equally important, the Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, in La 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.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
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. Therefore, they represent the main factors that shaped the Andes mountain range.
Geographically, 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.
There, we particularly love to hike featuring the great beauties of Los Lagos region. The first one is the “Paso Desolación” trail, which 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.
Moreover, we love to hike “El Solitario Trail”. Indeed, it is a simple, short and fairly flat route that allows its visitors to appreciate the Osorno Volcano from the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. First you start hiking through a native forest with the volcano at sight during the entire route. Then, you pass by a valley covered with lava flows formed by old eruptions. Finally, you arrive at the road leading to the Osorno Volcano.
You can visit the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park during the following travel adventures:
When to visit the national parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
If you consider visiting this incredible part of Chile, we highly suggest you to come in spring/summer. Indeed, during winter (June to September), it rains and snows in the region. So, it makes the use of raquets mandatory, since the snow covers all of the hiking trails.
On the other hand, during spring and summer (october to march), the weather provides an ideal time and perfect conditions to visit the national parks.
Finally, during fall season (april to may), the parks shine with 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 post, don’t forget to share it with your friends travelers. Also, when interested in visiting the Lake and Volcano District, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will provide you with all the information regarding the greatest travel adventures you can live in southern Chile.
Chile is the best spot to ski in South America. Located along the Andes mountain range, it’s a 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.
In addition to be the best adventure travel destination in the world, Chile also offers great snow conditions. Indeed, from July to mid-October, you can 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, the Lake and Volcano District is the best place to practice your favorite winter sport in Chile.
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.
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.
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. As a result, 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.
2. 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.
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.
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 ski experiences including 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: the Choshuenco volcano. You won’t believe 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.
3. Pucón Ski Center, La Araucanía Region
Commonly, when talking about skiing in Chile, the first thing that comes to mind are the ski centers located around Santiago. But if you’re really looking for real ski adventures mixed with mindblowing landscapes, we highly suggest to go south.
Approximately 785 km south from Santiago de Chile, you can find Chile’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.
Pucón Ski Center is located 16 kilometers from Pucón, on the northern slope of the Villarrica volcano. This is Chile’s most active volcano, blowing smoke all year round. There, you can enjoy about 30 kilometers 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 Resort Map
Notably, the Pucón Ski Center is one of the most beautiful in Southern Chile. In fact, it has a certified ski/boardercross run for skiing/snowboarding, with international teams coming in for “summer training”.
Also, Pucon offers 9 lifts, and 20 runs for all types of levels. Hence, it is a great place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, especially if you decide to climb up the crater of the Villarrica volcano.
During our skiing adventures including Pucon, we support our backcountry access with powerful snowmobiles, so you can rest assured that you’re going to get a lot of fun.
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.
Ski Adventure Experience in Chile
If you are still wondering where to enjoy summer skiing, check out our last ski adventures we had with our international friends!
Our ski experience in Chile is unique. Basically, you can expect some great luxury hotels with SPA to relax after a full day of skiing. But also excellent restaurants to enjoy local cuisine paired with the best local wines and beers.
Furthermore, we use exclusive services such as cat-ski and snowmobiles, in order to explore the best hidden parts of the Lake and Volcano District.
Contact us for more info about the 2022 ski season in Chile and follow our great active adventures in Chile!
The Llanquihue Lake is located in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Ensenada, Las Cascadas and Puerto Octay.
The Llanquihue Lake is located approximately 1,000 km south of Santiago de Chile, in the heart of the famous Lake and Volcano District. Geographically, it belongs to the Los Lagos region and has nationally positioned as one of Chile’s top destinations thanks to the historic backgrounds of the area mixed with the incredible natural wonders. The most famous town around the lake Llanquihue lake is Puerto Varas, along with quaint little villages such as Frutillar, Las Cascadas, Ensenada and Puerto Octay.
Indeed, what makes the Llanquihue lake an interesting cultural destination to visit is the cultural identity that defines the Los Lagos region. In fact, the Huilliche Mapuche indigenous group along with the European settlers compose the social and cultural legacy of the area.
From 1852, the Spanish and German colonists began to arrive in the area of the lake. As a result, they contributed to the territory in various ways.
Until today, the arrival of the German settlers has left a strong influence over the architectural style of the area. Thus, when visiting the Llanquihue lake, sometimes it can feel like a journey to History as we get to appreciate the original large houses, sheds and churches built by the German pioneers. Interestingly, some of them are now restored and turned into boutique hotels.
Lago Llanquihue Circuit
At Amity Tours, we love this destination. Since 2003, we have visited and cycled the iconic Llanquihue lake every spring and summer season with our international friends. It’s more, we truly believe that cycling is the best eco-way to appreciate its deep blue waters, wonderful landscape dominated by the Osorno volcano, hills and natural reserves.
With the new gravel bikes, we said goodbye to summer season by cycling the Llanquihue lake loop ride. In this post, you will follow the gravel bike adventures we lived.
Well-known as the bike-friendly destination in Chile, thanks to the presence of Chile’s largest bike lane (82 kilometers), gravel cycling the Llanquihue lake is an authentic adventure to live when visiting the Lake and Volcano District. First, we get to appreciate the imponent presence of the Osorno volcano (2.652 meters) whose conical shape seems to emerge from the water of Llanquihue lake.
Second, the intense green of the Austral forests surrounding the lake, especially in the east side where the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park remains.
Gravel Cycling Llanquihue lake
We started our gravel bike adventure from the small town of Frutillar. Located on the northwest shore of the lake, and 45 km from Puerto Varas, it is the other attraction of Llanquihue. Both towns stand out for their well-preserved German-style houses.
In 1856, Frutillar emerged as a shipping dock with the arrival of the German pioneers. They settled around the lake and then dedicated themselves to agricultural and livestock work. For this, they installed different types of farms such as dairies, mills, breweries, along with emporium stores.
In addition to the Historic heritage, Frutillar enjoys the presence of the unmissable Teatro del Lago. There, the famous “Frutillar Music Week” festival takes place every year. Thanks to the strong musical activity, UNESCO designated Frutillar as part of the Creative Cities of Music Network in 2017. This network integrates another 180 cities around the Planet.
Leaving from Frutillar, we cycled towards Los Bajos area on a road that mixes asphalt and gravel. Always bordering the Llanquihue lake, the route passes by various gastronomic ventures from elegant tea houses to farm-style restaurants. They have become one of the great attractions of the area.
After another 17 km, we finally reached Puerto Octay on the northeast end of the Llanquihue lake. Watched over by the volcanoes around, this quaint little town never ceases to surprise us with the German architecture and heritage. That’s why in 2010, the CMN (Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, or National Monument Council), declared Puerto Octay as a Traditional Zone since it is one of the most picturesque and best preserved towns of the Llanquihue basin.
Wandering through Puerto Octay to admire its typical large houses is like a journey to the 1800-1900 century. Indeed, the population increased in these years as a connection point with Osorno and reached a certain economic boom.
Our bike adventure continued on a gravel road towards Playa Maitén where we took a break for some photos on the beach. Playa Maitén received the first 21 German families who settled around Llanquihue lake.
Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, we weren’t able to appreciate the Osorno volcano nearby. Nonetheless, during a bright summer day, we can easily admire this imponent volcanic element.
Finally, the last kilometers led us to our final destination of the day: Las Cascadas village. This part of the Llanquihue lake is a beach resort of fine sands, where the last German immigrants arrived between 1870 and 1880. Interestingly, this area is full of various waterfalls immersed in abundant green nature.
What’s more, Las Cascadas is also the starting/ending point of the largest bike lane in Chile, with no less than 82 kilometers from this sector to Puerto Varas, with another stretch from Ensenada to Petrohue.
There, we were well-received in our favorite lodge located at the shores of the lake.
On the next day, after a good breakfast, our gravel bike adventure continued and we started cycling from Las Cascadas lodge towards Puerto Varas. It goes without saying that this part of the Llanquihue lake is fascinating. Indeed, we get to cycle through the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, one of the highlights of the Lake and Volcano district.
With 253,780 hectares of evergreen forests, this national park is located in an area where volcanism has been the main factor that shaped the Andes mountain range, along with tectonic and glacier processes. Moreover, it is part of the Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Andes.
From the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park the bike lane takes us through the forest, always with the Osorno volcano at sight. And after 65 km of cycling around the Llanquihue lake, we finally arrived at the quaint city of Puerto Varas. Along with Pucón, Puerto Varas is the other capital of tourism in southern Chile. With remarkable views of the Llanquihue lake and the Osorno volcano, this city is also a reflection of European colonization in the late 1700’s thanks to the strong German architecture.
There we stopped for lunch to gain some more strength before the last 33 km of our gravel bike circuit. After leaving Puerto Varas we quickly reached Llanquihue. This urban and industrial center started to develop with the arrival of the first colonists, and afterwards the rail.
Besides, Llanquihue is where the lake drains and the course of the Maullín river starts.
Finally, we reached the last point of our gravel bike adventure, back to Frutillar. We cycled the last 20 km passing through the countryside on a winding road surrounded by small lake beaches flanked by large trees, churches and ancient harbors.
In Frutillar, we visited our friends of Cancagua, a spa where the hot tubs are located in a natural ravine of native forest overlooking the Llanquihue lake.
Cycling the Llanquihue lake circuit is an incredible experience to live when visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Capitán Pastene: the little Italy of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 hike 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 teenagers, or people with little 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.
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.
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, volcanic lakes 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.
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.
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), Huinfiuca and Verde (green) 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.
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.
Villarrica Volcano Ascent
Without a doubt, the Villarrica Volcano (2847 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.
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.
Visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do for every hiker & nature lovers.
Geographically, the Chilean territory is located in one of the greatest areas of volcanic & seismic activities in the whole world.
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Conguillío National Park – Llaima Volcano
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
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.
Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park – Osorno Volcano
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.
It all started with a big dream: Amity Tours wants to become a Zero Waste Company. As simple as that. What might sound easy, is in fact the beginning of a long journey. A fascinating one without any doubt. Let’s dive into the beginning of this long sustainable trip.
As a company offering responsible tourism in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District, Atacama Desert and Patagonia of Chile since 2003, we decided to take a new challenge towards becoming a Zero Waste Company. As a result, we are implementing several new measures:
While we were investigating about how to become a Zero Waste Company, a whole new world opened up. We learned about sustainable practices for tour operators and found great local alternatives for our previous waste problems.
During these searches we stumble over the Tourism Declares Climate Emergency website. A global community who has declared a climate emergency and came together to plan a better future for tourism. We immediately declared as Amity Tours and committed to act in order to cut global emissions in half over the next decade. We just finished our first Climate Action Plan.
Being part of the Tourism Declares Community means sharing ideas, challenges and solutions, so that together we can create a new, regenerative tourism industry built on the principles of climate justice.
During our journey we read a lot about carbon footprint, how to offset it or even how to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon offset, carbon removal, carbon capture, carbon neutral, climate positive… A complete new area for all of us, and we got a little confused with all these different terms. In a few words we would like to explain each concept in order to give you an idea about our decisions.
Offsetting your carbon footprint
Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way for companies or individuals to manage the carbon emissions that are not able to completely eliminate. The emissions are getting calculated and an equal amount will be invested in projects that reduce or remove emissions.
Need an example: It is like, eating a chocolate bar with 500 calories. Afterwards you bike to the Caburgua Lake and burn the 500 calories. That is how the actual impact (in terms of calories) of eating the chocolate bar would be zero.
Now let’s apply this concept into carbon offsetting: The chocolate bar in this case would be the carbon footprint and burning the calories is offsetting it into projects where carbon is getting removed from the atmosphere (by buying carbon credits from projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy).
Carbon removal or Carbon capture
Carbon removal means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades or centuries in plants, soils, oceans, rocks, saline aquifers, depleted oil wells, or long- lived products like cement. source: Tommorows Air
Getting Carbon neutral
Carbon neutral means taking action to reduce and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as an organisation puts into it. Being carbon neutral means that an organization has a carbon footprint equal to zero.
Getting Climate positive
Getting climate positive is going one step further then reaching the carbon neutrality. That can be reached by creating greater environmental benefits, than the actual carbon footprint. You can remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for example.
At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions. Since the beginning of our trajectory we have been focusing on responsible and sustainable tourism practices. A fact that also gets reflected in our Conservations Tours.
Amity Tours and Conservation Tourism
We love supporting projects, that are providing benefits to the local communities and environment. Here a few examples we have worked on during our 18 years:
An amazing example of how geo-sciences connect with local culture for the conservation of the geological and cultural heritage of this landscape in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District.
Mapuche Tourism – Valle del Kuel
The objective of the project was to put in touristic value the heritage resource “kuel” of the valleys of Lumaco and Purén. A heritage considered by national and international archaeologists as one of the most important and unknown of the original Mapuche people.
Asi Conserva Chile and WWF
The project sought to value, through the design of tourism conservation products, private and community conservation initiatives that make up the trade association “Así Conserva Chile“.
A 100% tour operator pilot focused on conservation tourism was implemented. Where we assured in it all the skills and abilities necessary to sustain itself over time.
A tour where you can discover the wonders that Charles Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean rain forest, and watch the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science.
Route of Parks of Patagonia
Our most recent project is a 14-day Multisport Route of Parks, Patagonia. In this tour you will discover Torres del Paine National Park, the lush and exuberant temperate rainforest of the Pumalin Park, and a stunning starting at the foot of active volcanoes covered by unique forests of giant Araucaria trees in Conguillío National Park.
Nature, diversity, local communities and interaction with the culture of Patagonia, while giving back and supporting rewilding experiences leaded by our local experts. This is a featured program in some of the best parks that make up the Route of Parks of Patagonia and The Lake and Volcano District. An unforgettable multi-sport adventure where you can be sure to discover new paths in Patagonia!
Our latest inquiry ended up in a local tree planting project.
In April 2021 the platform Wiñolfe Anumka has been launched. This brand-new project is the response of the inquiry we at Amity Tours made one year ago. We now get the possibility to offset our carbon emissions on a local basis. Wiñolfe Anumka is a Mapuche Pewenche community network offering reforestation of native forests through their own nursery network.
Beginning of 2020 we contacted our local partner, Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias to discuss a solution about offsetting our not avoidable carbon emissions on a local basis. Since many years we are working together with the award winning community based project, sending clients from all over the world, to connect with the local culture. We did share with them our vision, about a reforestation project in Kurarewe, located just a few kilometers away from our headquarters. After our first meeting, we invited a forestry engineer to join the project.
Together with a local company that is dedicated to landscape management, environmental education and regeneration, we stared working on gathering relevant and scientific information. We then calculated the CO2 emissions produced by Amity Tours (approximately 50 Ton CO2), and hence the amount of native trees to be planted to neutralize these emissions. As a result we learned that we must plant at least 14 tree clusters, each formed of 20 different native especies, to be able to offset the 50 tons CO2 in the next 20 years. Together with Wiñolfe Anumka we will be working on the implementation of this great goal.
Local is our solution
At Amity we are conscious of the environmental impacts as a business. That is why we need to reduce our own carbon footprint and offset our unavoidable emissions to support the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future. Indeed carbon offsetting alone won’t fix the climate crisis. Despite that, we are convinced that each step towards a climate positive society is worth any effort.
At Amity Tours we want to make changes, share progresses and solutions. It is one of our main goals to motivate other companies and individuals to join the Zero Waste Movement and to participate actively in the big challenge of changing unsustainable habits. We are not only a tour operator but also a consultant company and are aware of our responsibility by sharing practical knowledge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Crater Rojo trail hike
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
El Cerdúo & Correntoso River
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
That is how we enjoyed an unforgettable and very safe trip in Chile this summer!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
Nothing compares to the outstanding sense of journey you experience on a Bike Tour. It’s the excitement of discovering under your own capacity, riding from one amazing place to the next. It’s the freest way of travel you’ll come across, giving you the chance to choose how your day unfolds. You can pedal at your own speed, discovering and experiencing amazing natural areas in Southern Chile.
Have you thought about where your next adventure on your bike will be ? If biking is your passion, then this travel experience is the best for you!
Experience cycling the back roads located in Southern Chile
This upcoming spring and summer (from November 2020 to April 2021), cycling the scenic routes of the Lake and Volcano District will be the best eco-friendly way to discover the region. Moreover, it is the best time of the year to ride around lakes, ancient forests and little quaint villages.
During eight days, you will…
Visit Kütralkura UNESCO Global Geopark, Lonquimay Volcano and Malalcahuello National Reserve
Climb The Andes Mountains at the Alto Biobio National Reserve
Discover Pucon and best attractions: the Villarrica Volcano, Caburgua Lake and natural hot springs
Ride Chile’s famous Seven Lakes Route & discover the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve
Explore Puerto Varas and surroundings: Llanquihue Lake, Petrohue Waterfalls and Osorno Volcano.
Riding Chile’s Lake and Volcano District
Our bike tour starts at Temuco Airport, where our friendly team will be expecting you. First we’ll leave the city, driving towards the Malalcahuello National Reserve, where your hotel is located. You’ll meet the first of the many natural companions of the tour, with a striking view of Lonquimay Volcano from hotel. Following up the check-in, we’ll do a warm up ride through Curacautín.
Then, on the second ride, we will travel alongside the Lonquimay River and visit the Kütralkura Geopark. We’ll pass through the territory of the local Pewenche indigenous communities.
The third day will be dedicated to enjoying great views of three different volcanoes : Lonquimay, Llaima, Sierra Nevada and Villarrica). Indeed, we’ll go for an amazing hike starting from hotel. We’ll pass through an ancient forest of araucaria trees, some of them dating over 2.000 years old. Afterwards, we’ll leave the Malalcahuello National Reserve, and travel to the second destination of this bike tour: Pucón. This quaint city, located between pristine lakes and the active Villarrica volcano, is Chile’s capital of adventure tourism.
When cycling Pucón and surroundings, we will enjoy great views and volcanic landscapes. Throughout the ride, our guide will help us identify several species of birds and trees as we cycle next to beautiful farms and enjoy views of the Villarrica volcano. With a little good luck, we will see smoke coming out of this active volcano.
Our bike tour continues as we will bike through Chile´s 7-Lake Scenic Route. We’ll pedal alongside the shores of two beautiful lakes, Calafquén and Panguipulli, and cover three-quarters of the way around the majestic, snow-capped active Villarrica Volcano. This road is smooth and quiet as almost no vehicles drive here. At one point, we will be striked by the stunning views of five volcanoes.
The last stage of this unforgettable trip will be the Llanquihue Lake. This area is great for bike tours and it is considered Chile’s first Bike Friendly destination. We will pass through small towns such as Frutillar, Llanquihue and Ensenada. Finally we’ll arrive at Puerto Varas, dominated by the Osorno Volcano. If you want to challenge yourself, you can do some extra pedaling and ride up the Osorno, the steepest climb in South America.
Lastly, we will visit the local Market, which is the perfect place for wonderful souvenirs, handcrafts and woolen clothing. Afterwards we will drive you the airport where this adventure ends.
Cycling Southern Chile is a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience in which you get to discover the beautiful landscapes of the Lake and Volcano District!
Lately, the world has been going through tough times. Either socially, financially or naturally. What could seem unpredictable for the majority of us, might not be for some other cultures with a strong connection with the planet Earth. As a result, the Mapuche culture and vision of the cosmos predicted the current global situation. In this article, you’ll find out how this indigenous community knew what we would be going through in 2020.
Brief history & presentation of the Mapuches
As of today, the Mapuches is one of the most notorious native group of Southern Chile & Argentina. In Chile, it is the largest and the majority of the groups inhabits the southern regions & Santiago capital city. Throughout the beginning of their existence, they have mastered the ability to adapt in different types of climate. From the Andean mountains down to the coast, from warmer temperate climatic zones to cold rainy ones. They adapted to them, developing their culture in unique ways.
Historically, they are the most tenacious people. Indeed, neither the Incas or the Spanish settlers could defeat nor dominate them, despite their war efforts. Thus, in 1691, the Spanish King recognized the independence of the Mapuches.
In Mapudungun, their native language, the word “Mapuche” means “people of the land”. Their culture is based on the oral tradition. Indeed, the Admapu (set of ancient traditions, rights, laws and norms transmitted from generation to generation) governs the social and religious conduct.
Religiously, the Mapuche beliefs are based on the existence of a world populated by Gods and Spirits. However, this polytheism is summed up under the existence of an Almighty Being. The “Pillán” (Volcano), or “Neguechén” (Supreme Being), who lived in the heavenly heights and had the power to grant life and death.
In addition, they associate manifestations of nature, such as thunder, fire, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes with their duality view of the world. In a few words, the religious beliefs are based on the union between the spiritual world and the concrete world. Moreover, they see the universe as a serie of superimposed platforms in space, all grouped in 3 zones:
Meli ñom wenu (the 4 places above), also weno mapu (the land above). It is the platform of good where live the Gods. From the highest platform, they are distributed hierarchically: the Spirits (Gods’ minor employees), then the ancestors; both authentic (the protectors and brokers of the lineage) and mythical (the common ethical counselors).
Anka wenu (half up), also miche mapu(the earth below) where inhabit evil beings that don’t have any relation with each other.
Mapu (Earth), the natural world summarizing the permanent conflict between the two prior zones.
According to the Mapuche, the harmonic relationship between all the elements of the Earth without the humane intervention is the base of their cosmovision. Thus, the respectful use of the natural resources is fundamental for the overall well-being of the community.
The Mapuche cosmic vision is dualistic and dialectical. The wenu mapu represents the good, whereas the anka wenu & minche mapu represent only the evil. On Earth, both the good and evil coexist in a synthesis that does not imply fusion, but rather a dynamic juxtaposition. So, true polarity leads to union, and the conjunction of two opposing forces is a necessary condition to achieve a dualistic cosmic balance.
What happened in 2019 revealed the current global situation
As people of the land, the Mapuche are well-connected with planet Earth. Their deep knowledge of the native fauna & flora, along with the strong connection with the cosmos, enable them to read and interpret natural events.
In a recent post, we explained why a total solar eclipse means bad omen for the future. This extraordinary event happened recently in Chile on July 2 2019. A few months after, since October 14, social protests have been taking over the streets of big Chilean cities. As a result of this strong social and political crisis, the Chilean government had to cancel some important internacional events. Indeed, both the 2019 APEC and the UN Climate Change Conference were either cancelled or organized in another country.
This singular and natural event might seem a simple coincidence for us. But not for this wise indigenous community. As a matter of fact, another natural event took place but went unnoticed through the eyes of the common.
In the Mapuche culture, the Earth always delivers messages and warnings. There exists a belief about the Quila, which is a perennial bamboo growing in the humid temperate forests of Chile and Argentina. History has demonstrated that when the Quila comes into bloom (only every 70-90 years), and the Colihue gets dry after then, it is bad omen. According to the mapuche, the Earth tries to warn us about “great battles coming”, and with it famine and drought. But after that come new buds and “young land”.
Here’s a few historic examples demonstrating how the quila has been warning us without knowing:
When the Spanish conquerors arrived from the north of Mataquito, the quila came into bloom throughout the south of the Bío Bío Region.
When Cornelio Saavedra invaded Malleco, the quila blossomed from Villarrica to Boroa on the shores of the Toltén River.
Before the financial crisis of 1929, it blossomed in all its splendor.
In early November of 2019, it occurred once again. What has been happening globally was announced, but we failed to see it as the modern cultures turn a blind eye regarding the damages we are causing to Mother Earth and to ourselves.
With their millennial experience, the Mapuches have been able to accumulate rich knowledge in the different areas of life. Starting with its ancestral historical heritage, such as art, socio-political organization, health, the spirituality, religion, economy, culture, politics, philosophy, education, organization social, among other components.
In this article, you will get to know more about the different climates of Chile, along with the best time to hike
In this post, we will explain to you in details the variety of climates prevailing in Chile, and when the best time is to come and hike in Chile.
Chile is a very narrow and very long country. It measures approximately 4.600 kilometers (6.900 miles) from North to South, and only 300-kilometer wide. In other words, this means that the territory is variously affected by different types of climates, making generalizations almost impossible.
In the North of Chile, like the Atacama Desert and the northern coast, the climate is a desert-like type and semi-arid. Then, there is the Mediterranean climate in Central Chile along with the alpine tundra in the East and South-East. Finally, you will find an oceanic climate in Southern Chile, and the subtropical climate of the Eastern Island.
The seasons are opposite to Europe or North-America. Indeed, summer season starts in December and ends in March; Autumn is from March to May, Winter season from June to August and finally Spring from September to November.
Generally, the climate of Chile is strongly influenced by the cold Humboldt oceanic current, but also by the presence of the Andes Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean. In addition, there are 4 different climate z0nes : Northern Chile, Central Chile, Southern Chile and Austral Chile.
In this post, we will explain to you in details the variety of climates prevailing in Chile, and when the best time is to come and hike in Chile.
This is the most arid region of the country mainly due to the cold Humboldt oceanic current. All along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, there is always a constant fog, but the rains are scarce. The inside territory is formed by the Atacama Desert, one of the most arid of the planet Earth.
Usually, the average precipitation of the Antofagasta Region is only 1 millimeter of rain per year. In summer (December to February), the minimum temperature is approximately 17°C / 62°F and the maximum is 24°C /75°F. Whereas in winter (June to September), the maximum temperature is 17°C / 62°F and the minimum is 11°C / 52°F.
The climate of Central Chile is a Mediterranean-type, characterized by well distinct seasons. Indeed, winters are cold and cloudy. In spring, the weather is nice and temperatures begin to raise. However, some rain might occur. In summer, the temperature reaches its maximum degree, with complete clear sky. During fall, prevails the nice weather.
In this part of Chile, the rainy season is between May and August. During summer, the Santiago area has an average temperature of 19°C / 66°F. The maximum being 29°C / 82°F, and the minimum 12°C / 54°F. During winter, the average temperature is 7°C / 45°F, the minimum being 3°C / 37°F and the maximum is 14°C / 57°F.
This region is characterized by an oceanic climate, humid and windy with low temperatures. In the Valdivia Region, the climate is temperate-oceanic. regarding temperature, in summer it can reach a maximum of 23°C / 73°F and a minimum of 11°C / 52°F. During winter, the maximum is 11°C / 52°F and the minimum is 4°C / 39°F.
From April to September, it is a rainy season. The average annual rainfall is quite high, with approximately 2.700 millimeters. Usually, the rainiest month is June, with an average of 550 millimeters.
In the Northern part of Austral Chile, the precipitations are abundant and it rains almost all year long. For example, the town of Puerto Aisén has an average annual rainfall of 3.000 millimeters well distributed in every month of the year.
In summer, the average maximum temperature is 14°C / 57°C and the minimum is 4°C / 39°F. In the Southern tip of Chile, the typical weather is usually cold and dry, where the average annual rainfall reaches approximately 500 millimeters.
Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is classified as a tropical rain forest climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate. The temperatures are mild and suffer minimal seasonal variations. The lowest temperatures are recorded in July and August (18 °C or 64 °F) and the highest in February (maximum temperature 28 °C or 82 °F), the summer season in the southern hemisphere. Winters are relatively mild.
The rainiest month is May, though the island experiences year-round rainfall. Easter Island’s isolated location exposes it to winds which help to keep the temperature fairly cool. Precipitation averages 1,100 mm or 44 inches per year. Occasionally, heavy rainfall and rainstorms strike the island. These occur mostly in the winter months (June–August).
The driest months are between October and February. The temperature of the sea is for the whole year above 20ºC , its varies between 25ºC in the months of February and March and 20ºC in the months between July and October. Since it is close to the South Pacific High and outside the range of the intertropical convergence zone, cyclones and hurricanes do not occur around Easter island.
Chile is one of the most versatile, safe and unique places to hike in the World. The fact that Chile is located in the southern hemisphere, it allows hikers from the North Hemisphere to enjoy a taste of summer during the off-season. Moreover, it provides great reasons for a trip to check it out.
The vast National Parks and Land trusts of Chile will provide the traveling hiking enthusiast just about anything they could ever desire. From the driest Desert of the world, to the Lake and Volcano District, through mystical Islands, and Patagonia, and of course the adventurous roads to get to the wilderness areas.
Most hiking lovers head to Chile during South America’s spring and summer months, which stretches from October to March.
During October and November, it is springtime. Especially from South Santiago to Puerto Varas, there are plenty of hiking trails to discover. The weather is generally nice, making for a great road trip. Some of the main trails farther south in Patagonia, such as the famous Torres del Paine W trek, offer the best conditions between December and February.
As March progresses, the weather usually turns cool and wet, but with less people on the trails. The season for hiking in the Atacama Desert runs from mid June through mid January, and Eastern Island with its subtropical weather is great for hiking between March and December.
Here is a general description for the main hiking areas in Chile.
The Atacama Desert is commonly known as the driest place in the world. Although the almost total lack of precipitation is the most prominent characteristic of the Atacama Desert, exceptions may occur. The Invierno Boliviano (Altiplano Winter) is a phenomenon which can produce a little rain and abundant electrical storms. It occurs in January and February.
Per year, it rains about 15 mm. (0.59 inch). Moreover, some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain. It is so arid, that many mountains higher than 6,000 metres (20,000 feet) are completely free of glaciers. Indeed, only the highest peaks have some permanent snow coverage.
In San Pedro de Atacama, the local climate is extremely dry and mild. In summer, the daytime temperatures are between 25ºC to 30ºC (77ºF–86ºF). In winter, between 18ºC to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F). Night time temperatures routinely drop below 0 °C (32 °F), and can reach as low as −10 °C (14 °F) in the winter.
Click here if you’re interested in the best hiking program in the Atacama Desert. If you are an adrenaline-seeker, you will definitely want to know more about our 7-Day Bike and Hike Tour.
The Lake and Volcano District, Cochamo Valley and Chiloe Island
Generally, the weather in this area is very similar to Northern California, especially on the coast side. Late October and November (spring time in the South Hemisphere) present milder temperatures 10ºC to 25ºC (50°F to 77°F) with some scattered rain. Likewise during fall (March and April).
During December you can start feeling the beginning of the summer with temperatures around 10ºC to 27ºC (50°F to 81°F). In January and February, temperatures range between 15ºC and 35ºC (60°F / 95°F).
Remember that you are visiting the Lake & Volcano district, so always expect some rain!
The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the saturated winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. Also, the influence from the strong marine currents and Southern Patagonian Ice field make the weather hard to predict.
In Torres del Paine, in spring or early summer, fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rains and eventually snow. Even in summer (December to march) you should come prepared to find cold, strong winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfalls. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºC max, 2ºC min). Rest assured, however, that just as quickly as the weather turns nasty, it can become pleasantly warm! Night-time temperatures will most likely range from –1°C to -5°C (30s and 40s F) depending on the weather.
For the last 9 months, Amity Tours has been working with local communities in Mapu Lahual Reserve, developing a new trekking tour.
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.
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.
You’ll find these key elements in all of the travel experiences we create.
NATURE: We feel blessed to live in a country with amazing nature. We’ll make sure you see the best of it and discover the hidden corners that will make you hold your breath in awe.
Nature, as a concept, has been socially constructed as an object and a subject that provides people with meaningful experiences. Accordingly, leisure activities in nature will enhance the interaction between people and the natural environment, and will increase their attachment to it. People will become more conscious about conservation of protected areas and will be more sustainable in the way they travel.
Since the birth of Amity Tours, we’ve dedicated ourselves to develop nature-based experiences. Most of them in Chile, and some parts of Argentina. We’ve planned each of our travel experiences with the idea of providing tranquility and spiritual well-being to our travelers. By walking and hiking through a native forest, kayaking in pristine lakes and rivers, biking through rolling hills and skiing in active volcanoes, we provide significant and invaluable memories to our guests.
Indeed, Some of our most popular trips occur in the Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. The UNESCO labeled this area as Biosphere Reserve. National Parks such as Conguillio, Villarrica, Huerquehue, Alerce Costero, and Vicente Perez Rosales had been stages for our trips providing hiking and biking trails to develop the aforementioned experiences. Our goal is that our guests learn more about our endemic species through these meaningful experiences. Thus enhancing their connection with nature in wilderness areas.
Imagine yourself hiking through an ancient forest where you can observe a 2,000-years-old Araucaria trees, or climbing up to the summit of Chile’s most active volcano. What’s more, you can also bike around lakes on remote roads meeting local people and enjoying amazing landscapes.
Nature is one of Amity Tour’s defining concepts when designing trips. We believe in sustainable tourism. Accordingly, we also believe that this type of tourism helps people to be more conscious about the environment. We invite you to experience nature with us!
You’ll find these key elements in all of the travel experiences we create.
ADVENTURE: We are an adventure travel company and we understand “adventure” as and experience where culture and nature are the main pillars. We specialized in sport activities such as biking, hiking, and skiing, but we also understand that that comes with excellent service, comfortable hotels and great local food, wine and beer.
Adventure is a key concept when defining and creating our trips in Chile and Argentina. 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 that will make our guests return home with enormous vitality. By bike, ski or foot we will enable our guests to discover and explore hidden corners, meet local communities and immerse themselves in the life of the Atacama Desert, Lake & Volcano District and Patagonia. As a result, we have created unforgettable biking, hiking, skiing and conservation adventures.
For instance, imagine yourself cycling Chile’s southern backroads. You will be able to discover a beautiful geopark, riding between pristine lakes and rivers. You’ll share with local indigenous communities while learning about their ancestral knowledge. Moreover, envision yourself and your family or friends hiking through Chile’s most impressive sights such as ancient forests in Patagonia and the Lake & Volcano district, ancient glaciers, fjords and rivers. Or exploring old shepherd trails in the Atacama Desert encompassing huge dunes, salt flats, and endemic fauna including flamingos, vicuñas, condors, foxes, guanacos and pumas.
What’s more, if you love skiing or snowboarding, visualize yourself slowing down and speeding up at will, controlling your descent on ice, knowing how to cope with fresh snow, and handling uncrowded slopes and narrow paths in the most beautiful ski centers in Chile and Argentina. You can ski on and off piste surrounded by Nothofagus forests and active volcanoes in the South of Chile.
We believe that experiencing adventures trips will enhance your attachment to nature and enhance your world view. Travel actively with Amity Tours and feel your body in motion while experiencing a fun cultural exchange.
Chile is a great and diverse country that offers incredible places for hiking. From the Atacama Desert to Patagonia, we have designed the most fascinating hiking tours in order to provide you with an unforgettable experience.
During our experiences, you will be surrounded by the driest desert in the world, active volcanoes, ancient glaciers, pristine lakes and the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, you will learn about ancestral cultures, history and astronomy, as well as the captivating Chilean endemic flora and fauna.
This 2017, imagine yourself hiking the Atacama Desert through old shepherd trails. Getting the chance to see petroglyphs while walking through a ravine following a salty river and admiring huge ancient cacti.
In addition, we can also take you, your family and friends to hike through the amazing national parks of Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. Here you will hike through ancient Araucaria and Nothofagus forests, discovering beautiful bodies of water such as lakes, waterfalls and rivers.
Another interesting hiking option is a trip in Patagonia, specifically to Torres del Paine National Park. This protected area is home of the world’s most epic trekking routes. It encompasses ancient forest, glaciers, fjords, lakes and rivers.
Furthermore, we offer you the chance to climb active and non active volcanoes, from North to South. You will experience being at the top of the world, listening to the silence, and connecting your soul with the spirit of the Andes.
Don’t miss the chance to discover these amazing natural areas. You can also combine two or more destinations. We can help you to design a memorable experience that you will keep forever.
Discover Chiloe Island and follow Charles’ Darwin footprints
When you arrive to Chiloe Island, the early morning fog and the Palafitos (houses mounted on stilts along the water’s edge) will welcome you. This island is the continent’s fifth-largest island and is home to many fishermen communities. Its famous architecture and cuisine has made this island world-known. The iconic wooden churches were built in past centuries. Sixteen of them have been declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Also, its rich spiritual culture is based mainly on a distinctive mythology of forest gnomes and witchcraft ghost ships.
As a result, Amity Tours has created interesting journeys to discover the unique ecosystem composing the wet and windswept landscapes, remote national parks and dense forests. This experience is for those who love nature and want to be true actors in its conservation. During the trip, you will explore the hidden corners of Chiloe by foot and by water. You will visit the private conservation areas of Ahuenco Park and Coluco Lake, where the pudú deer is abundant. In fishing boats, you will discover the island’s coast. Thus, you can spot several species of mammals, shorebirds and seabirds such as the Humboldt and the Magellan Penguins.
We invite you to discover the wonders that Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean Rain forest to see the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science. Check out our Darwin’s Route in Chiloe Island Tour.
You will have an unforgettable experience that will enhance your relationship with nature and will make you feel connected with the natural environment.
We are pleased to announce that our Bike Tour Chile 8 Days has been confirmed. It will be starting on January 21st, 2017. During eight days, you will have the chance to experience riding the amazing southern back roads of the Lake & Volcano District. Summer is the best time to ride around lakes, ancient forests and little villages.
Our trip starts in Temuco, where you will meet our friendly local team. The adventures starts with a warm up ride towards our hotel located in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. On the second ride, we will travel alongside the Lonquimay River: Also we’ll visit the Kütralkura Geopark where you can meet the local Pewenche indigenous communities. The third day will be dedicated to enjoy great views of three different volcanoes (Llaima, Tolhuaca and Lonquimay) on our bikes.
Afterwards, on the next day we will cycle around Pucon, the Lake & Volcano District’s main tourist destination. We will enjoy great views and landscapes such as the Caburgua Lake and the Huife Hot Springs. On day five we will bike through Chile´s 7 Lakes Route. We’ll pedal alongside the shores of two beautiful lakes, Calafquén and Panguipulli, and cover three-quarters of the way around the majestic, snow-capped active Villarrica Volcano. This road is smooth and quiet as almost no vehicles drive here. At one point we might even be able to see five volcanoes.
The last stage of this unforgettable trip will be at the Llanquihue Lake. This area is great for bike trips and it is considered Chile’s first bike-friendly destination.
We will pass through small towns such as Puerto Varas and Ensenada. We will eat some amazing food and if you want to challenge yourself, you can do some extra pedaling and ride up the Osorno Volcano.
Finally, we will visit the local Market, which is the perfect place for wonderful souvenirs, handcrafts and woolen clothing. Afterwards we will drive you the airport where this adventure ends.
For more information about this trip or any of our other trending tours check out our website!
December is a great month to travel in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District. It is possible to experience the flowering season and the days are longer and warmer. These attributions are great when on a road bike and mountain bike tour. We can still have a little of snow in the Andes Mountain Range, which makes the landscape look awesome. Forests will be covered by green, and river water will be clear and fresh. Pack your suitcase, gather your friends and family, and come enjoy one of the best experiences in nature.
Amity Tours has designed well supported, guided Bike Tours especially made for intermediate and advanced cyclists. Upon your arrival, our friendly staff will meet you and the journey will begin. We would be happy to help with bike rental, tools and helmets. All our bikes are equipped with Wellgo pedals and toeclips. You can also substitute any pedals you choose to bring. Amity Tours also has a small number of Shimano pedals, available on a first come, first served basis.
Mountain biking and road cycling with Amity tours will take you to great national parks such as the Conguillio, Villarrica and Vicente Perez Rosales. In addition, we will spend some nights at the magnificent Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve. In these settings, you will be biking and hiking through ancient Araucaria and Nothofagus forests, experiencing great views of amazing active and non active volcanoes.
For instance, you will be able to climb the Villarrica Volcano (one of the most active volcanoes on Earth) as well as the Bateamavida Mount. From their summits you will experience great panoramic views, and feel like you are on the top of the world. Don’t miss the chance to connect with nature, escape from the routine and make new friends. These mountain bike trips are not to be missed!
Book now and enjoy the best bike tours South America can offer. For further information and requirements, visit our website.