Travel Type: Nature
Duration: 7 Days
- Tour Description
Arrival at Temuco airport. Get to know Temuco during a city tour, which will introduce you to the colourful life of its traditional markets. Afterwards you will visit a traditional Mapuche round house or ruca is visited, located slightly outside Temuco, where the owner Sra Juanita will be delighted to tell you about culture, history and present situation of the indigenous Mapuche, who were the original inhabitants of this region. Sra Juanita belongs to a group known as the ‘Casa de la Mujer Mapuche’ (The House of Mapuche Women), who also manage a craftwork shop in Temuco.
After this informative visit, the tour continues to Curacautín, where you will stay the night in the Hotel del Campo, located about 5mi outside town. The name means ‘Country Hotel’ and is very apt, because the house lies in splendid isolation. It has tastefully decorated rooms, as well as holiday houses.
Day 2 – Lonquimay volcano and the
The drive from Curacautin to the 2,985m/9,794ft high Lonquimay volcano leads through ancient araucaria forests in the protected region of Malacahuello. The Araucania Andina region of Chile remains an insider’s tip.
The Lonquimay volcano, which is surrounded by a lunar landscape of giant ash and lava fields, can be reached via a well maintained unmade road. In this lonely region – almost devoid of any infrastructure – the tiny ski resort on the volcano appears like something from another world. The volcano erupted most recently on Christmas Day, in 1988. Hence the crater that was left behind was named the ‘Christmas Crater’ (Navidad). An easy 1hr-2hrs hiking route leads through the ash fields to the rim of the crater.
You will return to your hotel in the evening.
Day 3 – Conguillio National park
On day two of your journey, you will traverse the Conguillio National park from north to south and then start your hike. The active Llaima volcano that towers above all has caused immense lava fields here, and you will see the evidence of the latest eruptions from 2007. Your hike will take you to the Sierra Nevada mountain chain, from where there are superb views towards the Llaima volcano, and also of the surrounding lakes that dot the deeply green indigenous forests with splashes of blue. The umbrella-shaped araucaria trees that give the region their name can also be seen. They have survived almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs and are native to Chile, though otherwise they are rare.
The journey continues to the Hacienda Trailanqui in the late afternoon, where you will also stay the night.
Day 4 – The lava caves of the Villarrica volcano
Transfer to Pucón after breakfast, from where you drive to the entrance of the Villarrica volcano’s ‘underworld: a stone witness to the various eruptions of this highly active volcano. The tunnels here were created about two million years ago, when the upper layer of the giant lava flow coming out of Villarrica volcano began to solidify on contact with cold air, while the lower layers of the lava flow continued. Today it is possible to penetrate up to 300m/984ft into the caves, and see a lava flow from the inside.
The excursion of around one hour is accompanied by an experienced tour guide. Afterwards, you continue to the Rucapillan ski centre in the Villarrica National park, for a stroll, and to enjoy the views from above ground. Afterwards you will return to your hotel in Pucón.
Day 5 – Termas Geometricas
Travel from Villarrica to the Termas Geometricas (geometric thermal pools), which are just the right destination for some serious relaxation. It is worth the drive for the beautiful landscape alone, from Villarrica to Coñaripe. The Termas Geometricas are a very special place, located in a previously inaccessible ravine deep within the forest. Hot springs of 60ºC/140ºF to 80ºC/176ºF bubble up here, and 20 rustic geometrically-shaped pools, with temperatures ranging from 35ºC/95ºF to 45ºC/113ºF, have been built into the primordial setting to provide blissful swimming and relaxation. Wooden walkways raised on posts run through the entire terrain, connecting the pools. During the day, you can enjoy the natural landscape of rock and forest; at night, lights and candles are lit along the walkways to create a very romantic ambience. This is an experience you are not likely to forget!
In the late afternoon, you will travel onwards to the Huilo Huilo Nature Park and stay the night in one of its comfortable hotels.
Day 6 – Huilo Huilo Nature Park
A free day to do as you wish. Why not get to know the beautiful Huilo Huilo Nature Park? Several simple hiking paths spread out directly from the hotel, leading through temperate rainforest to the Huilo Huilo waterfalls, 5mi away. Easy horse-riding tours are also offered, as well as beginner and advanced canopy tours and dawn or sunset jeep tours onto the Choshuenco volcano.
More ambitious hikers can ascend the Mocho volcano (technically easy) and admire the amazing landscape from above the tree line.
Day 7 – Huilo Huilo Nature Reserve – Valdivia
Transfer to Valdivia. Depending on the time of your return flight, there is an opportunity to get to know Valdivia during a city tour. The city was once a strongly contested Spanish fortification against the Mapuche and, from the mid 19th century onwards, the cityscape was characterised by German immigrants, who founded Chile’s first brewery here. The city was once wealthy, evidence of which can be seen in the many beautiful villas that still line the river today. They contribute to making Valdivia (140,000 inhabitants) one of Chile’s most attractive cities. At the Muelle Schuster, you can take a river cruise on the Rio Calle Calle, or you can let yourself go with the flow at the colourful Mercado Fluvial.