In this category, we include the territories between the Araucanía (IX Region) and the X Region, also known as the Lake Region in Chile. It is a vast territory very rich in nature (Snowcapped Volcanoes, Araucano and pine forests, lakes, etc.) and culture, predominant Mapuche Land, where visitors combine adventure and Mapuche cultural exploration.
La Araucania is the region where the Mapuche influence still remains very present. Its capital city, Temuco is still the center of the predominant Mapuche Territory.
Back in the days the Mapuche Territories extended from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast, all over the territory that is today central Chile and Argentina. The Mapuche Community has always been known for being good warriors people. In times of ‘peace’ the different Mapuche communities often fight among them but they used to came together on several occasions to fight foreign enemies such as the Inca Empire first, and the Spaniards later on. The Mapuches were able to resist the Spanish Empire, expelling them from several territories, after the Spaniards, some of them they kept and keep fighting the Chilean Government. Being their main demand being the return of their land that was taken by the Chilean Army, privatized, and sold to foresting companies that on several occasions have no respect for it and cause damage to the environment.
Besides the Mapuche Conflict, their culture is very tangible in the language they speak, the Mapudungun, the medicine they practice, the astrology, the local imagery, the festivities, the food, etc. If you are visiting the area and you want to have a closer taste of their culture, you can spend 3 days with a Mapuche Family near Pucón.
The whole region is packed with green hills, islands, and valleys, lakes, Araucaria and Pine forests, snowcapped peaks, and volcanoes. The Lakes Region Landscapes are like a scene from a movie. From north to south, the spots that you can’t miss are: gorgeous Termas de CHillán, Pucón and the Villarrica national Park, Volcano, and Lake, the historic coastal city of Valdivia, The Llanquihue Lake area watched by the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, and the mysterious Chiloe Island.
There is a wide range of activities that you can enjoy in this destinations, from trekking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, take a Beer Tour, sailing to cultural visits or homestays with Mapuche Natives.
Chile is not commonly well known by its cuisine and gastronomy, and despite this statement could be true if you just look at what some locals eat, after some years traveling all over Chile, we have come to the conclusion that it is completely unfair overall. Their gastronomy is as rich as any other in Latin American and has a lot to offer. The combination of native dishes and excellent quality raw ingredients is what makes it great. And this brings us to the million dollars question: Where to go to enjoy the best gastronomy?
In Pucón, we highly recommend the restaurant Trawen whether it is for Breakfast, Lunch or dinner, this restaurant is very well known for using only ingredients of their own garden and farm, among its menu you can find typical Chilean dishes mixed with international dishes. If you are craving Italian food we recommend Fiorentini.
In Valdivia you will be able to tell the German mixed culture everywhere, including in the food and beverages. The places we recommend to have a beer while degustating some of this German-Chilean cuisine is the Haussmann the Kunsman Brewery.
In this case, there isn’t a pre-set season where is more recommended to visit the destinations in the area. It just depends on what you like more. If you would ask the local visitors, 8 out of 10 would tell you that summer time (December to March) is the best time to go, since the number of rainy and cloudy days is so much lower than in the winter time (June to September). However the winter time offers a lot, starting from the skiing options (This area has the most beautiful ski landscapes in Chile: Nevados de Chillan, Ski Pucon in the Villarica Volcano, Antillanca and Volcán Osorno Ski resort ) or the fact that everywhere you go it is going to be way more quite than in summer time.
But it’s true that it rains and snows a lot during the winter, so our recommendation is that if you are planning a long stay in the area, winter time will definitely offer a more complete experience, but if you are planning a short stay, then Summer time might be better so you make sure you enjoy better weather.
The best lodging options are in Valdivia, Pucón and Puerto Varas, where the majority of the offer is. However, there are fantastic boutique hotels, hot springs, and cabin lodges in remote places, close to this main destinations. Movie Hotels by the many lakes that the region or in the middle of the mountain. Make sure you check them out if what you like are isolated lodgings. As some examples we can mention the Hotel Termas de Chillán and other hotels in the area, Petrohue and Hotel Natural Patagonia lost in the ‘Todos Los Santos Lake’ where the Patagonia starts.
When visiting the Chiloe Island, we would recommend staying whether in Castro and its surrounding area or in some Cabin Lodges near the central west coast, where the Tepuhueico and Chiloe National Parks are. Make sure you don’t miss the trekk to ‘el muelle de las Almas’ or the Soul’s Dock (Spoiler Alert: Don’t google it before you go.)
There are 2 main local airlines flying to local airports in the area, LATAM (www.latam.com – Before known as LAN) and Sky Airline (www.skyairline.com) have several regular flights every day to the major local airports in the Lakes Region:
Another way to travel to the area from Santiago de Chile, often cheaper and not necessarily inconvenient, is to take one of the buses that go to all major destinations. To easily book at best rates, we recommend checking the website www.voyhoy.com/chile, available both in English and Spanish.
There are dozens and dozens of tours in the area to choose from, but Keteka only represents the very best. We bring you the most personable and professional tour operators. Another key aspect of the Keteka difference that you will not find on other travel sights are the authentic and immersive experiences of the indigenous Mapuche people.