There’s more to Chile’s diverse nature than dry deserts in the north and glaciers in the extreme south – the Mediterranean middle is ready to be discovered.
The Chilean Lake District, stretching from Concepción in the north to Puerto Montt in the south, is full of lush farmland, dense forest, snow-capped volcanoes and deep lakes, predominantly hidden in the mountains. Between twelve major lakes there are several rivers, waterfalls, forests and thermal hot springs as well as the Andes Mountains with six volcanoes.
The area was originally inhabited by the indigenous Mapuche people, who fought off the Inca and Spanish for 350 years before accepting Chilean rule in the 1880’s. Now, influences from German, Austrian and Swiss settlers are evident in the area. Pucón and Puerto Varas are renowned for their thermal springs as well as adventure including rafting, kayaking, horse riding, hiking, volcano-climbing and skiing.
Chiloé, also known as the magical island is the largest of 30 islands in the Chiloé Archipelago, 90km from Puerto Montt. It is well known for its historic wooden churches dating back to the 18th and 19th century, 16 of which have been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Traditional fishermen’s houses that are brightly coloured stand over the waters of Castro on stilts or palafitos and have become the classic image of the island.
Cultural wealth is prominent from architecture, cuisine and mythology, to the overall kindness of its people, the Chilotes. The area’s natural bounty boasts a network of hiking trails, winding through larch, myrtle and cypress trees with an abundance of wildlife including Chilote foxes and hundreds of bird species. With average temperatures of 10.7°C, it is essential to be prepared for heat, cold and rain.
The Lake District & Chiloé offer plenty of unique places for guests to stay, where travellers will find themselves surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife:
Nevados de Sollipulli – 84km from Temuco, this campsite offers visitors the opportunity to sleep in 1 of 5 individual geodesic domes in a volcano crater, in the Andes Mountains. Nevados de Sollipulli sets a new standard in adventure tourism as the domes include beds, central heating, wooden floors and private bathrooms.
Located within the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, Montaña Mágica Lodge is constantly showered by a waterfall. There are 9 cozy rooms and 10 rustic log cabins, all built with local wood. Hotel Nothofaguswhich sits next to Montaña Mágica Lodge, has 55 rooms and resembles the shape of a native African Baobab tree, with a tree and waterfall coming through the centre of the hotel.
Tierra Chiloé is a geometrically designed eco hotel, set in 25 acres of countryside and beach, close to abundant wildlife in the Pullao wetland. All 12 rooms have their own jacuzzi bathtub with panoramic views over the bay.
Calbuco Volcano eruption update:
In wake of the recent eruption of Calbuco Volcano, located 900 kilometers south of Santiago, Chilean authorities have confirmed that the Los Lagos Region is operational and functioning at 95%. The Undersecretary of Tourism, Javiera Montes explained that “the affected area is the zone directly located around the volcano”. She also confirmed that “Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Chiloé are functioning normally with basic services in operation”. Both Arturo Merino Benítez, Santiago and the Tepual Airport, Puerto Montt, are functioning without disruptions.
Chile is a long, narrow country that extends from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean on the southwest side of South America, from latitude 17° 30′ S in the Altiplano to 56° 30′ S at the far end of continental Chile and 90° S in its Antarctic territory. It has a unique geography as its territory includes Easter Island, in Polynesia, 3,700 km from the mainland, as well as territory in Antarctica (Chile Antártico, 1,250,000 km2). Continental and insular Chile, which includes the mainland and offshore islands and archipelagos, covers 756,096 km2. Chile’s main territory is roughly twice the size of Germany and consists of a strip of land 4,200 km long and 90 to 440 km wide. Santiago is the country’s capital and largest city in terms of population and employment, with 6,061,185 inhabitants as of the 2002 census. Located on parallel 33° S, at roughly the same latitude as Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Santiago is the country’s main political, economic, cultural and industrial center. It is the gateway to Chile and one of the most modern capital cities on the continent.
Chiloé is accessible via bus, car and plane from Santiago and Puerto Montt.
Nevados de Sollipulli – sollipulli.cl/
Montaña Mágica Lodge – huilohuilo.com/en/our-accommodation/lodge-montana-magica/
Hotel Nothofagus – huilohuilo.com/en/our-accommodation/hotel-nothofagus/
Tierra Chiloé – www.tierrahotels.com/tierra-chilo-hotel-boutique/
More information about Chile: www.chile.travel