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Araucanía is in Southern Chile. It is characterized by fertile valleys and many lakes that are popular travel destinations. The Andean slopes merge here from the dry central Andes into the humid southern Andes. Araucanía is known for its adventure sports and natural beauty.


Map of Araucanía
  • 1 Temuco – the capital and main city
  • 2 Curacautín — a good base for exploring the beautiful national parks and reserves nearby
  • 3 Pucón – on the eastern shore of Villarrica Lake in the southeast of the region; popular for hiking to the nearby Villarrica vulcano and Huerquehue National Park
  • 4 Villarrica — on the western shore of Villarrica Lake, like Pucón but a much more laid-back and relaxing option to stay in the region

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Conguillío National Park Conguillío National Park on Wikipedia — also known as Los Paraguas (the Umbrellas, alluding to the shape of the numerous large araucarias)
  • 2 Huerquehue National Park Huerquehue National Park on Wikipedia — filled with primeval forests with old araucarias, mountain lakes and waterfalls
  • 3 Nahuelbuta National Park Nahuelbuta National Park on Wikipedia — a sanctuary for monkey puzzle trees, with specimens dating back 2,000 years
  • 4 Tolhuaca National Park Tolhuaca National Park on Wikipedia — one of the oldest protected areas on the continent
  • 5 Villarrica National Park Villarrica National Park on Wikipedia — on the active volcano of the same name


Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia

In 1860, Antoine de Tounens, a French lawyer and adventurer, claimed that the regions of Araucanía and eastern Patagonia did not depend of any other states and proclaimed himself "king of Araucanía and Patagonia". He had the support of some Mapuche lonkos around a small area in Araucanía, who thought he could help them maintain their independence from the Chilean and Argentinian governments.

In 1862, de Tounens was arrested by the Chilean authorities, imprisoned and declared insane, and expelled to France. He later tried three times to return to Araucania to reclaim his "kingdom" without success.

As of 2021, the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia survives as a French non-profit organization whose purpose is to fight for the recognition of Mapuche culture, language and religion. It is headed by a "pretender to the throne".

The name of the region comes from the indigenous people, the Mapuche or Araukans, whose main settlement area is here. Numerous descendants of this people still live in the region around Temuco today, with almost one million members they are the largest Indian nation in Chile. This region of Chile has the greatest number of indigenous Mapuche people. Since the 1990s, conflict has arisen between the Mapuche and government over land and rights issues.

It is an area rich in tourist destinations. The Andes mountain range is home to dozens of volcanoes that give rise to hundreds of springs of hot springs. The mountain range araucaria forests offer spectacular landscapes. In the foothills, the Colico, Villarica, Caburga and Calafquen lakes are formed, with transparent waters due to the volcanic bottom, suitable for swimming in summer (December-February).

In the intermediate plain is Temuco, the regional capital, crossed by the Cautín River, which together with the Toltén River, forms the majestic Imperial River that flows into Puerto Saavedra.

Get in[edit]

La Araucanía International Airport (ZCO IATA) near Temuco is the principal airport.

Get around[edit]


  • Villarrica volcano. Famous active volcano.
  • Museo de la Edad del Vapor. Steam locomotive museum in Carahue


Swimming is possible on the coast and the lakes, the water is no colder than further north. There are many thermal baths in the Andes, and there are also first-class hiking, mountain biking and horse riding opportunities in the national parks and nature reserves.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

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