See the map of the Araucanía

See the map of the lakes area
See the map of Chiloé
This part of the country is the one most varied in its landscapes and possible outdoor activities.

Southern Chile is typified by much rainfall and low temperatures in the winter. The more you advance toward the south, the more the climate becomes rainier and colder. In summer, the south is usually hot but it keeps raining.

Church in Matao - Chiloé Nahuelbuta National Park Valdivia
This is one of the country areas where a rich variety of landscapes, climates, heights, lakes, mountains and a vast quantity of attractions come together in magic harmony to make of it a privileged area in Chile and the world.
The climate in general is more humid and the rains are more abundant mainly in the coast and in the mountain range area. The Andes mountain range becomes a succession of spectacular volcanoes, millennial forests and crystalline lakes. The Conguillío National Park is of exceptional interest: it surrounds the gigantic Llaima volcano and is predominantly populated by Araucaria trees (Araucanian Araucaria), considered survivors of prehistory. For the Mapuche (the Spaniards called them Araucanos), the araucaria was a rich food source in its seeds: the pehuén.
Toward the south a succession of lakes of singular beauty begins, such as: Colico, Caburgua and the great lake Villarrica. In this last one, in its west and east ends are located the important tourist centers of Villarrica (the town) and Pucón. Both towns have excellent hotels and in Pucón there is a gambling Casino.
It is in this area where the Mapuche people lived. For that reason, toward the interior, in spite of centuries past, it is possible to find towns were time seems to have stopped. In contrast, the capital city of this region, Temuco, has become the last years an advanced modern city. In fact, it is the one that has experienced the highest economic growth.
The cities of Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, are good starting points to make trips to the beautiful lakes that go into in the Andes.
Each one of the main cities of the lakes region have excellent hotels, gastronomy, commercial centers and transport. They have attractions for all tastes and ages. Of particular interest is the following of national parks along the frontier with Argentina. These parks protect various ecosystems like native forests and volcanic highlands.
For the people with more specific interests or the adventurous, the lakes region has a myriad of possibilities: walks, mountaineering, rafting, observation of birds, mountain bicycle and horseback rides, among others.
More to the south, where the Central Valley finally collapses in the Pacific and the Chilean Patagonia begins, there are magnificent millennial larch forests, the second older tree of the world. Certain exemplars of this coniferous surpass the 3.500 years of age.
The main towns of Chiloé are Ancud, Dalcahue, Castro, Chonchi and Quellón.
The Big Island of Chiloé is located 1.186 kilometers from Santiago and 90 kilometers to the Southwest of Puerto Montt. Attractions of this region are its typical wooden buildings, its lake houses and its church buildings. The local culture mixes mythology with Catholicism. They are very kind and affectionate people.
The Chiloé archipelago is like a small continent embedded into the Chilean territory, with a very different geographically. Being the Big Island of Chiloé the second largest of South America, (after Tierra del Fuego), it is separated from the continent by the Chacao channel and from the Andean mountain range by an interior sea, extending for about 180 kilometers toward the south. The Big Island has an abrupt and inhospitable western coast, presenting along its coast the eroded relief of the millennial Coastal Mountain range.
This mountain range, never higher than 1000 meters, is drastically cut in two by two lakes, the Cucao and the Huillinco, and although more to the south the mountains go up again, they never recover as a range. This mountain range is called Piuche mountain range north of the lakes and Pirulil mountain range south of the lakes. Apart from these hills covered with impenetrable forests, the relief of the Big Island is more softer than rough.
Cucao is the entrance to one of the few forest areas of the world that conserves the primitive character of its flora and fauna, this is the Chiloé National Park. There one can enjoy the peace that offers us the contact with a non polluted nature and the pleasure of their beaches of fine sands that extend for several kilometers.
Among the diverse traditions and customs of the area of Chiloé there is the Curanto, a local dish, though it is more than a dish. It is a party in which all work in function of it. Mainly, its making begins with digging a hole in the earth of more or less half meter, in which are placed big heated stones and above it various food items like shellfish (cholgas, clams, choritos, picorocos) and meat (sausages, chicken, smoked pig). All these are previously seasoned and are placed near the stones to achieve better cooking. Then, potatoes are placed, chapaleles (mass of raw flour cooked in water), milcaos (striped potato masses) and nalca leaves (bush of big leaves). This arrangement is then covered with champas (earth held together by grass roots) with the grass turned face down. Finally, the whole is left to cook for about one our.
The curanto is served with a sauce called “pebre” that contains chili peppers (chili), salt, water, onions, coriander leaves, parsley and others.
The Maja is a task in which young and strong men intervene, where apples are milled and then pressed to extract its juice, which is the fermented into the chicha de manzana.
La Minga, se realiza cuando alguna familia debe trasladarse de una isla a otra, generalmente, llevandose su casa. Para este efecto se junta una cantidad de gente que arrastra la casa hasta el mar con bueyes. Luego ésta, que flota como balsa porque es de madera, es llevada a su nuevo lugar de destino, generalmente otra isla y asentada donde se decide. Estas tradiciones aún se mantienen en Chiloé. Esto permite perfilar el gran sentido de solidaridad que caracteriza al chilote y al mismo tiempo, la rica tradición musical y poética que lo acompaña.
The 14 Church buildings of Chiloé represent the only example in Latin America of their unique style of religious architecture in wood. They were built by the initiative of the itinerant Jesuit preachers during the 17th and 18th centuries and they are the testimony of the fusion of the Indigenous and European cultures and techniques. For this reason, they were declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in the year 2000.
The origins of the Chiloé mythology are a mixture of the old religions of their first inhabitants, the Huilliches, Cuncos and Onas, and the mythologies and superstitions, specially Celtic, brought by the Spaniards and other Europeans. Dozens of mythological characters exist in this true Olympus. Most of these beings are animal-like, living in the water or in land and have transfiguration abilities. In general they are evil and can cause damage.
One of the most outstanding divinities is The Pincoya that represents a poetic vision of the fisherman's love for the beauty of the sea, as source of employment and food, or of tempests when she has a bad temper. Another important character is The Trauco, a very satirical midget to which are attributed many of the natural births of Chiloé. And there is The Caleuche, a spoke ship that navigates the seas of Chiloé and the multiple channels of the south. Powerful sorcerers conform its crew, which only navigates at nights, never with the light of day. According to the popular belief, people that have died drowned are picked up by this mysterious ship from the depths of the sea to be welcomed into eternal life. Although the ship offers home to those that have shipwrecked, it is not as gentile with those that have dared to direct their sight on him. The crew punishes those "fearless" by twisting their the mouths or their backs and even in occasions, killing them.
Go Up
Large North
Small North
Central Coastline
Metropolitan Region
Route of the Wine
Route of the Volcanoes
Crossing the Lakes
Austral Road
Patagonia - Antarctic