As Spanish forces made their way across the Americas in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the Mapuche people of what is now modern-day Chile struggled for nearly 350 years to preserve their independence. By the 19th century, the new Chilean government had assumed control of the Mapuche homeland, but this rich indigenous identity lives on in La Araucanía, the fertile central valley and agricultural gateway of southern Chile.
Stretching between the Argentine border in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west, this 12,300-square-mile region is beloved for its active volcanoes, pristine lakes, natural hot springs, and sprawling national parks - all of which are within easy reach of our La Araucanía vacation homes.
Begin your visit in Temuco, the regional capital that is conveniently accessed by the Pan-American Highway, Chile's main north-south railway, and regular flights into La Araucanía International Airport. This city, which sits 420 miles south of bustling Santiago, is also a launching point for enjoying gorgeous alpine landscapes and countless opportunities for outdoor recreation.
To the southeast of Temuco is the adventure tourism capital of Pucón, a waterfront city on the edge of Lake Villarrica that sits beneath a volcano of the same name. From here, you can climb the summit of the Villarrica volcano, explore the nearby shores of Lake Caburgua and Lake Colico, or replenish your mind and body in one of the many nearby natural hot springs.
Visitors will find incredible scenery in the region's national parks and reserves, from the volcanic caves, slopes, and forests of Villarrica National Park to the mountainous lakes and condor habitats of Huerquehue National Park. Head east of Temuco to reach Tolhuaca National Park, which is home to a 161-foot waterfall on the Río Malleco, or Conguillío National Park, where you'll find the Llaima volcano, lakes and lagoons, and ancient araucaria forests.
Come and discover one of Chile's most beautiful regions - our vacation rentals in La Araucanía will give you the natural escape you've been waiting for!
Photo Credit: Flavio Camus via Flickr