Key Places - Chile & Argentina
Patagonia & the Lake District
Pucon is a popular tourist destination offering many sport and recreational pursuits from water and snow skiing to white water rafting and kayaking and horse riding. For many years it was a destination for the elite and for artist communities. Now there are many hostels in the area and it has become a popular back packers haunt also.
From Pucon you can ascend the dominant smouldering Villarica volcano which overlooks the city. Snow covered in the winter it is part of the 'Ring of Fire' around the Pacific Ocean. Villarica is 2840 m high and classified as an active volcano having had more than 82 eruptions since the 16th C. From the summit you can view at least seven of the surrounding lakes. Other volcanoes nearby are Mocho-Choshuenco, Quetrupillán and Lanín.
There are also volcanic caves in the area and you can walk as far as 400 m underground on a guided tour to learn about the rock formations. There are 2 beaches here, the popular Pucon beach which is often crowed and the quieter Playa Beach which is surrounded by myrtle trees and has beautiful white sands. There are hot springs and spas to enjoy in the area.
Set in a beautiful natural landscape, the city of Puerto Varas in Llanquihue Southern Chile was built by German immigrants in the 19th Century. It is known as "La ciudad de las rosas" or 'the city of roses' and is characterised by wood-shingled homes and a rose-encircled square.
Puerto Varas is famous for its fish and seafood and a large casino. Rainfall occurs throughout the year but the climate is temperate. Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes are nearby. At Mt. Osorno you can take a chairlift for skiing in winter and sightseeing in summer. There are facilities in the area for trekking, fly-fishing, rafting, kayaking and other sports.
Temuco is located near to Chile's beautiful Lake District with green forested landscape and snow-capped volcano peaks. Founded in 1881, Temuco is the cultural centre of the indigenous Mapuche Indians. The Mapuche kept independent control of their territory for more than 300 years despite considerable force from European settlers. Today, the Lake District has almost 3,000 Mapuche reservations. Alemania Avenue is Temuco's principal street. Here you will find the Araucaria Regional Museum, restaurants, bars and shopping malls. There is also a casino and a five star hotel.
The core of downtown Temuco is the Anibal Pinto: Temuco's main square. It is very modern by comparison with other main squares in southern Chile, and is regarded as one of Chile's most beautiful plazas. Breaking with tradition it is the only Chilean town square without a central water fountain. An art gallery was built here in 1981 as part of the town's modernisation.
The Ñielol Hill is an open area of Temuco where people walk and picnic, with great views of the surrounding countryside. You can get close-up look at the copihue, Chile's national flower. The central market is the best place to find Mapuche crafts on sale. With shops selling wooden souvenirs, woollens, and other traditional products.
The city of San Carlos de Bariloche, known as Bariloche, is located in Río Negro, Argentina. At the foothills of the Andes, Bariloche sprawls along the southern shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and is surrounded by national park.
Tourism developed here in the 1930s and 1940s with a rise in popularity of skiing, trekking and mountaineering in the area. Watersports are popular on the lake. Traditional alpine architecture is now fused with modern development. There are numerous restaurants, cafés and chocolate shops. Bariloche is renowned as the chocolate capital of Argentina.
"Our first redspokes tour was a great experience. Beautiful landscapes, varied terrain with challenge for all levels of rider, very good organisation and crew and a lovely, multinational riding group...."