DISCOVERING ANCIENT TRADITIONS WHILE TRAVELLING
Indigenous peoples are the roots of our ancestors. Those who want to get to know the original heart of Chile with its customs can discover their cultural influences on their journey through the country.
There are 10 indigenous ethnic groups that are among the most important of Chile, including Mapuche, Aymara, Rapa Nui, Atacameños or Lickan Antai, Changos, Diaguitas, Kawésqar and Yagán. More than 2 million people feel they belong to one of these groups, which is 12 % of the national population.
The indigenous population in northern Chile is rich in cultural diversity and history. They include the Changos, Aymara, Atacameños and Diaguitas.
The Aymara are the second largest indigenous peoples in Chile (after the Mapuche), originally inhabiting the Altiplano region in the far north of the country.
They are known for their impressive crafts, including weaving and pottery-making. Music and dance are two very important cultural expressions. The Aymara culture has a rich oral tradition that tells stories and legends about their ancestors and the nature of their homeland.
ATACAMEÑOS OR LIKAN ANTAI
The Atacameños are located in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest deserts in the world. The language of the Atacameños is Kunza. Many of their members call themselves Likan-Antai, which means “inhabitants of the area“. They have a close connection to nature and have developed adaptation strategies over time to survive in the harsh desert environment. Their traditional way of life is based on agriculture and animal breeding (especially llama and alpaca). They are known for their traditional handicrafts, especially their colourful textiles and handmade ceramics. They have a deep spiritual understanding of nature and their environment and strive to preserve and pass on their cultural practices and traditions to future generations.
The Changos people are the inheritors of a coastal maritime tradition in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo. Their most distinctive symbol is the raft made of sea lion fur, which is unique in the history of navigation. They were excellent fishermen and lived off the resources of the sea, with which they had a close relationship and which defined their culture and way of life.
The Diaguita people originally lived on both sides of the Andes. In Chile, before the arrival of the Spanish, they inhabited the valleys of the “Small North” – Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui as well as Limarí in the Atacama and Coquimbo regions. They had a developed agricultural culture and cultivated maize, quinoa and potatoes, among other crops. Their society was organised in tribal structures and the Diaguitas were known for their handicraft skills, especially in the production of ceramics and textiles.
COLLABORATION WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES & SPECIAL TOURS
At travelArt we value sustainability and appreciation of original cultures and traditions. Some of our tours take you to places managed by indigenous communities such as Moon Valley or Chaxa Lagoon by Atacameños/Lickan Antai in San Pedro de Atacama.
We also offer excursions in this region where guests can delve deeper into the culture of the Atacameños. On the excursion “Caravan of the Ancestors” you follow the historical paths of the ancient desert dwellers with a llama, accompanied by a local guide. During a visit to an Atacameña farm you will get to know typical products.
On our excursion from La Serena to Fray Jorge National Park, you will visit the Valle del Encanto, a historical monument with archaeological remains from the Molle culture (500-700 AD). You will discover over 50 petroglyphs and cult stones here.