North and Atacama DesertAltiplano, Atacama Desert and a starry sky that you can only see like this in Chile.
Route of Parks of Patagonia
“Imagine the most beautiful scenic route in the world already exists, and it is in Chile
This self-drive trip takes you through the heartland of the Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group. From the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, it passes through spectacular landscapes with lakes, volcanoes, and the striking monkey puzzle trees (“araucarias”) for which this region is famous.
Off the beaten path, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know the traditions and lifestyle of both the Pehuenche Mapuche in the Andes and the coastal Lafkenche Mapuche.
Your tour through the Araucanía region begins at the airport of Temuco, where you pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel in the nearby city center. We recommend visiting the city hill Ñielol with its observatory and museum.
Overnight at a hotel in Temuco
We highly recommend visiting Temuco’s market after breakfast, before continuing your trip to the Quinquen Reserve in the Andes Mountains. On the way, marvel at the volcanoes Lonquimay and Llama in the distance, and stop for a visit at the waterfalls “La princesa” and “Del Indio”. You’ll pass beneath Sierra Nevada Volcano through the “Tunel Los Raíces”, once South America’s longest tunnel, before arriving at the Pehuenche indigenous reserve of Quinquen. Here you stay with a local family.
Overnight at basic accommodation at a Pehuenche family home
Start the day with a morning walk through forests of monkey puzzle trees (“araucarias”), together with your native hosts, who consider them holy. Afterwards, continue your journey on the Interlagos Route through the spectacular landscape of the Araucanía Region. You’ll pass by Gualletue National Reserve, Conguillío National Park and the town of Pucón before reaching today’s final destination, the small town of Curarrehue, in the Andes foothills.
Overnight in Curarrehue
Today is at leisure in the village of Curarrehue, where the influence of the Mapuche Indigenous people can still be felt strongly. Spend the day hiking in the astonishing surroundings of Araucaria forests and deep blue lakes. The “Los Pozones” Hot Springs is the best option for an evening of deep relaxation.
Overnight in Curarrehue
From Curarrehue in Chile’s Eastern extreme on the Argentinian border, drive back along Villarrica Lake and continue westwards until you reach the town of Mehuín on the Pacific Coast. Thanks to its beautiful sandy beach, is one of the most important seaside resorts in the “Region of the Rivers”. Staying in an indigenous community of the Lafkenche people allow you to learn more about their history and culture, as well as the challenges of a traditional lifestyle in a modern economy and state.
Overnight in Mehuín
Enjoy stunning views on today’s drive along the Pacific Coast north to Budi Lake. Your destination is the small town of Llaguepulli, which still houses several Lafkenche indigenous communities. You have the opportunity to their stories about their culture, religion and traditional medicine while staying in a Ruka, the traditional Mapuche housing.
Overnight in a family Ruka
Your exploration of the Araucanía Region’s best guarded secrets ends today. After breakfast, enjoy some last views over the vastness of the Pacific Ocean at the beach of nearby Puerto Saavedra. From here, return to Temuco Airport and drop off your rental car. Take a flight back home via Santiago, or decide on one of many options for continuing your journey through Chile from here.
6 overnights. Some nights in basic accommodation; shared bedroom and/or bathroom, daily breakfast, 7 days car rental incl. CDW with 300 USD deductible, unlimited km, Airport Service Charge, programmed GPS.