For all needs and
Villarrica, Pucón & Lican-Ray: The
"In" resorts of Chile
Sleep until late,
enjoy the sun as a lizard does, rise dangerously the levels of adrenaline, enjoy nature to
the full, dance until you fall apart and paint the town red until dawn, are some of the
activities that any person on holidays, Chilean or foreign, can enjoy in one of the most
developed tourist areas in the Country; the zone included between the cities of Villarrica, Pucon and Lican-Ray.
year these three resort in the south of Chile attract thousands of visitors from our
country and the rest of the world who want to relax and forget the strenuous rhythm of
life in the big cities and submerge themselves in vacations that offer them entertainment,
adventure, rest and why not say it, romance.
It is true that
these three cities have several things in common and at the same time count
qualities that permit a more variegated tourist offer to fulfill the needs and aspirations
clear example of this is that the tourist supply does not end with the summer and that
during the winter, sportsmen and the fanatics of cold weather and snow, of speed and
vertigo, appear in the zone, who see their "adrenaline like" expectations fulfilled on the slopes of the
most active of the volcanoes in South America: el
the Villarrica Volcano.
the heart of tourism
on the banks of the Villarrica lake and on the side of the Tolten Rivers source,
this city shares its name with two great and magnificent natural beauties: the lake and
kilometers away from Temuco, the capital of the region, Villarrica has always distinguished itself for being an operational center
for tourists due to its conspicuous geographical situation between Pucón and Lican-Ray,
and its innumerable services and infrastructure. This fact distinguishes it from the other
two resorts where some of the services only function during the summer where as in Villarrica they do it throughout the year.
This city has a very particular character
and one quite heterogeneous also. Unquestionably the Mapuche race is latent in its people
and culture. The presence of the German community, product of the immigration after the
pacification of La Araucanía, the Arab community present in its commerce and the Native,
a mixture of these three, has resulted in a very loving and gentle sort of people in their
relations with visitors, concerned about the growth of their town and respectful of their
The city dominated by the volcano and washed by the waters of
the lake, due to its characteristics of dormitory city for the tourist and a passing by
city, has had to redouble its efforts to attract the tourist and it has done it well
through the organization of sports and cultural events of great prestige on an
international and national level.
Villarrica may not posses too many natural
beauties, nevertheless this small great city, as one of its inhabitants said: "Has benefit by being the open door for tourism in the
South of Chile".
Pucon: The Centre of
the south of Chile
of these three resorts, Pucón is the best known.
Inserted in the
advance of the cordillera, at the foot of the Villarrica Volcano, this small town trebles
its population every summer season. It is located 27 kilometers from Villarrica and within
its communal jurisdiction, the most varied and excellent tourist attractions are found:
Thermal baths, National parks, lakes and lagoons, powerful rivers, rapids, ski centers,
tourist potential was acknowledged by the construction in 1934 of the Gran Hotel Pucón
which marked the beginning of an activity that slowly and eventually would situate the
town as one of the most sought after resort in the south of Chile.
could have thought that Pucón was built for the tourist rather than for its permanent
inhabitants. The great real state boom of the last years, the construction of large luxury
condominiums and important commercial buildings, confirms this notion.
A fact worth
mentioning is the effort the local Pucón community is carrying out in order that their
city doesnt loose the charm and identity which modernity tends to do away with. This
disposition is clearly reflected in their standardized criteria concerning construction and
publicity; neon signs are absolutely forbidden, only native wood and volcanic stone are
allowed for advertising.
with such matters have turned the native Pucón dweller into an "ecological" concerned person, who considers his
commune as precious and who now conducts joint cultural activities inclined to educate
people and especially children in the belief that by protecting nature they are taking
care of their main source of income and work.
Lican-Ray: The "Rock
Flower" is reborn every summer
is situated on the north bank of the Calafquen Lake (27 Kilometers from Villarrica) and it
marks the limit between the regions of La Araucanía and Los Lagos. Born a small village in the forties, and whose name means "Rock Flower" in the Mapuche Language, by the nineteen sixties it had all the
characteristics of a resort.
Lican-Ray so charming? Maybe the fact that although an urban zone, it has never lost its
air of rusticity and peace that is so much sought after by tourists and which makes them
go back to it so often. So that not even all the international events that take place
there every year and all the traits of modernity that the development of tourist activity
brings with it, have made Lican-Ray and its people adopt the habits and rhythm of the
accelerated modern life slowly invading our southern region.
town has all the basic necessary services such as an intercomunal bus service, health
services, telephones, police station, supermarkets, lodgings and tourist information.
Besides, it has beautiful beaches of great natural quality where all the nautical
activities one can perform in a lake, are practiced, from swimming to sailing.
is not only interesting to walk around the town and to get to know its customs or spend an
animated evening in one of its pubs or discotheques, but it is also attractive to travel
around its outskirts and to get to know the natural wonders of the region. The magnificent
lake, the remains of catastrophic volcanic eruptions, rustic and picturesque byroads.
And if the visitor is lucky he may share
in a barbecue containing the longest and most desirable piece of stake in the world.
Text: G. Salinas
Photos: G. Salinas