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