Surrounded by soaring Andean peaks and vast alpine meadows, Calafquén Lake shows off Southern Chile in all its beautiful grandeur. Meaning "Lake like a sea" in the dialect of the local Mapuche people, this sprawling body of water has long been a popular destination for summer vacationers, who are lured by its sweeping beaches and quaint lakeside towns. Now you too can experience the luxury of a lakefront stay at one of our Calafquén vacation rentals!
Where is Calafquén Lake?
Tucked in the Chilean Patagonia Cordillera with majestic views of 9,341-foot Villarrica volcano, Calafquén Lake sits at 686 feet above sea level and straddles the fertile agricultural valley of La Araucanía
to the north and the dense forests of Los Ríos to the south
. Nearly five miles wide, the lake stretches for 15 miles from resort town Conaripe in the east to the tiny lakeside hamlet of Calafquén in the west. It's also one of seven lakes - others being Panguipulli Lake, Riñihue Lake, Pirihueico Lake, Neltume Lake, Pellaifa Lake, and Pullinque Lake - which collectively make up Chile's Lake District.
Things to Do in the Towns Near Calafquén Lake
Perched on the southern shores of the lake, Calafquén's tiny village charm appeals to visitors throughout the year, but this hamlet is particularly popular as a jumping off point for summer lake sports. Head out from your Calafquén vacation rental for a day of swimming and sunbathing on its wide, volcanic sand beach, or bait a fishing line and cast right off the beach pier.
Hop aboard a local tour bus for access to the town of Licán Ray on the north shores of the lake. In this town of only 7,200 residents, you'll find an impressive array of activities for all ages, including watercraft rentals on the black sand beaches of Playa Grande and Playa Chica, and strolls along El Escorial, a once flowing river petrified from lava during a 1977 eruption of Villarrica volcano.
The artisan markets of the town's Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Francisco are great places to find a handmade Mapuche souvenir or catch a live performance of the cueca, the traditional dance of Chile. Finish your day on Playa Chica's Promenade, which even has colorful boats you can rent for paddling out and watching a stunning sunset over the lake before heading back to continue a romantic evening in your private vacation rental.
Day Trips from Calafquén Lake
On a daytime excursion, travel along the Pan-American Highway to visit distinctive lakeside towns both north and south. Head just 11 miles south from your Calafquén vacation rental to reach the charming town of Panguipulli
on a lake of the same name. Here, you'll find the unique, European-influenced architecture of Parroquia San Sebastian church, Mapuche cultural artifacts and hand-knit clothing at the Casona Cultural de Panguipulli, and surrounding wildlands with alpine forests, glacial mountains, and active volcanoes.
The nearly four million hectares of forest surrounding Panguipulli is also home to South America's largest concentration of hot springs in the Liquiñe Valley, year-round skiing on the Choshuenco volcano in the protected Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, and a variety of guide services to show you lesser known areas with towering waterfalls, glacial-fed lakes, and remote mountainsides.
Just 49 miles northwest, all-seasons recreation including whitewater rafting on the Trancura River and skiing on the Villarrica volcano, the outdoor adventure hub of Pucón
is another worthwhile destination.
Come play in the incredible outdoors of Calafquén Lake and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures of its quaint towns and lakeside villages. Escape to the unmatched beauty of a Southern Chile
getaway in one of our vacation rentals today!
Photo Credit: Diego Bravo via Flickr