Curacautín is a town of 16,500 people (2012) in Araucanía, Southern Chile. This area is known for its natural environment, and the Conguillío and Tolhuaca National Parks, and Malleco and Malalcahuello-Nalcas National Reserves are close by.
Curacautín is 90 km northeast of Temuco, in a valley near the volcanoes Tolhuaca, Lonquimay and Llaima, all of which can be seen from the city. Historically, it served as a highway of sorts for the Pehuenches that lived on either side of the Andes mountain range.
- Bio Bio runs services via Victoria (9 times a day, 09:00-21:30) or via Lautaro (twice a day) from their office in the center of Temuco. 3,500 pesos one-way or 6,300 pesos return;
- Curacautín Express runs minibuses every half-hour (06:30-21:00) or every hour on Sundays (07:30-21:00) from the Terminal de Buses Rurales in downtown Temuco. If you arrived in the Terminal Rodoviario by long-distance bus, exit the terminal by the main entrance, then turn left on Vincente Pérez Rosales and walk 300 m until you hit the Panamericana. Cross the street and you will see a bus stop in front of the shop named "Ruta 5". This is the minibus stop in direction Curacautín. 1,500 pesos one-way.
The town is entirely walkable, otherwise taxis are available.
- Go to Parque Nacional Conguillío [dead link]. In winter, you can take a Captrén minibus from the bus terminal to the Guarderia Captrén $600 pesos, 45 min) or as far as the snow allows. From there you can do a magnificent hike with snowshoes to the Laguna Captrén, with views on the Volcán Llaima along the way. More options are available during summer as transportation can bring you deeper.
- Several hot springs are reachable from Curacautín, ranging from rustic pools to full resorts, such as Cañón del Blanco, Termas de Malalcahuello [dead link], Termas de Tolhuaca, Termas de Manzanar.
- Skiing is possible in the Corralco ski resort on the slopes of the Volcán Lonquimay.
- 1 Malalcahuello National Reserve (Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello) (follow Rura 5 south 30 km to the town of Malalcahuello, at km 87.5 along International Route 181; it is a totally paved road). The main geographical feature of the area is the Lonquimay volcano and also highlights the crater Navidad that last erupted in the summer of 1990. Various trails for hikes ranging from 1½ hours to 8 hours. Also good for winter sports (skiing, snowshoeing, mountain excursions, snowboarding), and for bird-watching. No camping available. Foreigners: child under 12 free, youth 12-17 2100 pesos, adult 4100 pesos. Chileans: child under 12 free, youth 12-17 1100 pesos, adult 2100 pesos, senior over 60 free, disabled youth 12-17 free, disabled adult 1100 pesos.
- 1 Hostal Epu Pewen, Manuel Rodríguez 705, esquina Miraflores (from the bus terminal, walk three blocks east (or left when exiting the terminal); the hotel is just on the corner of the Plaza de Armas, in front of the tourism office), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-out: 12:00. Nice, very clean, comfy hostel with charming decoration including Mapuche elements. Woodfires keep the main areas warm during winter. Very friendly managers, knowledgeable about all activities available around Curacautín, also propose tours of their own and can rent gear (skis, snowshoes, snow clothing, sledges). The hostel promotes sustainable tourism and ecological conduct: recycling bins, compost and solar hot water (during summer) are available. Wi-fi, hot water, big and nice kitchen, quincho (covered terrace for BBQs), cable TV in the communal room, parking. Breakfast is available for an additional 2,000-3,000 pesos. dorm, double (for 1 person/additional bed), quad (additional bed) during low - high season: 8000 pesos, 24,000 (15,000/6,000), 32,000 (5,000) - 9,000, 26,000 (not available/6,000), 35,000 (5,000).
- Cabañas Angostura Curacautín, Patricio Chavez 225. A fine pool here, and private cabins.
- 2 Hospedaje Curacautín, Manuel Rodriguez 320 (right in front of the bus terminal), ☏ . Double 20,000 pesos with breakfast, or 18,000 pesos without breakfast (probably low season prices). Hot tub and hammock.
- Los Robles, ☏ . Cabins on the road from Curacautín to Lonquimay east of the village Manzanar.