Did you know Chile has natural places that during the Chilean winter, get stronger landscapes and fauna, turning everything into beautiful sceneries?
From May to August, you can find various cultural activities that represent part of the traditions of Chile and its people.
We invite you to read more about some of the places and celebrations that take place during the offseason and that, without a doubt, you should consider in your Campervan journey.
The north of the country has lots of nature and culture to contribute to your adventure through Chile. Besides renowned destinations such as San Pedro de Atacama, it is important to highlight other inhabited landscapes of great natural beauty which especially during the winter can give you a unique campervan experience!
One of these is the Lauca National Park, located in the region of Arica and Parinacota and part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
It is an ideal destination that you can visit during the winter, where you can see snow-capped volcanoes contrasting on the blue horizon with their white peaks, and lagoons with crystal clear turquoise water, marveling anyone who is lucky enough to visit it. One of the highlights of the park is its fauna, where you can find unusual species such as Vicuñas, Guanacos and Huemules, and also on the nearby villages you can spot large herds of Llamas and Alpacas. On the other hand, there is more than a hundred bird species, being the most important the giant Tagua (coot), the Puna Queltehue, Puna Duck, Chilean Flamingo, among others.
The village of La Tirana is located in the commune of Pozo Almonte, in the Tarapaca region, right in the heart of the Pampa del Tamarugal. In this village, the festival of the Virgen del Carmen (Virgen of Mount Carmel) is celebrated in mid-July, and is one of the most important holidays in the north of the country. It is a festival of colors, dances and songs!
It is a tradition that dates back to the 1830s, when the region began to experience changes due to the rise of saltpeter (essential raw material for many manufactures of the time) and were the origin of saltpeter offices.
Over time, workers that were from the south of the country, began the custom of visiting the hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Carmen (chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) in order to regain energy. With the pass of time, the faithful ones grew in number and started a campaign to collect materials for the construction of a church, which was inaugurated in 1886.
By the 1930s the saltpeters offices were gradually closed, forcing all workers to migrate to big cities, but they retained the heartwarming tradition of pilgrimage once a year to La Tirana. Today the festival has become a legacy of the Chilean identity of the pampas.
The celebration includes several samples of the Andean Catholicism, one of the most characteristic is the Baile Diablada (Devil's Dance), a local dance which originated as the cult of the Andean Pachamama (Mother Earth). Men in colorful costumes and masks with twisted horns and devilish face are faced against the forces of the archangel Michael, always accompanied by percussions. This celebration is a sign of culture and tradition, a colorful festival that will make you vibrate to the rhythm of the Andean music. Perfect to discover in your mobile home!
Chile's Central Zone provides both sports and cultural activities during the offseason, from the mountainous area with many ski resorts (ideal to visit on a camper!) to the wonderful harvest festivals just kms away from Santiago.
The Portillo ski resort is considered the oldest ski resort in South America and it has heated pools and restaurants. Portillo has been able to enrich its reputation thanks to the quality of its more than 20 excellent ski tracks, as well as large and accessible areas for off-piste skiing. Its powder snow and outstanding conditions for skiing and snowboarding make this a must-visit for all lovers of winter sports.
This is celebrated each year... and this year celebrates its 30th edition! The event is held in the Plaza de Armas of Curico (Maule), from 17 to 22 March each year. Different vendors exhibit their handicrafts, gastronomy, prestigious Chilean wines, among other local products.
You can enjoy shows of renowned national and international artists and the election of the queen of the harvest, as well as the highly expected and already traditional competition of grape stepping (really fun!) It is recommended for all ages and it will surely bring pleasant family moments and friends memories while leaving incredible new flavors in your mouth that will be hard to forget.
Throughout the Andes mountains, there's about three thousand volcanoes on the Chilean territory, which explains the countless hot springs in Chile. The forests, culture and gastronomy could be your best companions for your holiday in a campervan!
To enjoy a landscape surrounded by snow, 80 km from the city of Chillán towards the mountains in the region of Bio-Bio you will find Termas de Chillan (Chillan´s Hot Springs), which becomes a dream panorama during winter season, specially for ski lovers.
On the slopes of Volcano Chillan, you can start the day skiing or snowboarding on the different tracks, whether you're a novice or an expert. You can also choose from several options like snowpark (snow slide), circuits for snowmobiling, helisnow and backcountry.
There is a privileged view to Antuco Volcano and Domuyo on the top of this place. The surroundings, full of native nature landscapes invite you to finish the sport day in the best possible way: waiting for the sunset on the warm thermal waters. The pools can be covered or outdoor if you prefer. You can also relax with a hot stones massage or mineral mud. Undoubtedly one of the hundreds of destinations in Chile that everyone would like to revisit.
Indigenous New Year:
"The harvest is over in the fields, the earth has rested and must be prepared for planting and renew their fertility." This marks the beginning of a new cycle of life and indigenous chilean cultures thank nature for that. This happens on the "We Tripantu", which means "new turn or return of the sun" and is the Indigenous New Year. It begins one day before, during the afternoon before the sun goes down, surrounded by prayers in mapudungun ** (native language: Mapudungun) and the rhythm of musical Mapuche instruments (Mapuche are indigenous, located mainly in central and southern Chile) such as kultrún, trutrucas, pifilcas, traditional dresses and jewelery.
At dawn on the next day, a family ceremony takes part before sunrise, during the rest of the day it becomes a family party where the priority is to share food and music, to welcome visitors and to get together with other families and communities. It is celebrated in community and they thank for the land, the food, the children, and the elements: wind, water and fire.
It is a ceremony of spiritual nature that seeks to keep alive the aboriginal customs.
You can be part of this celebration in some rural areas of the Araucania region (IX Region of Chile). Some meeting points are the main square of Temuco (Araucanía) and the Cerro Santa Lucia ( Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago de Chile). It takes place between June 21 to 24. Take this tip in mind for your campervan journey!
Pucón: Considered the Chilean center of tourism-adventure, is located in the region of Araucania on Lake Villarrica. While in the summer it is packed with visitors, during the winter turns into a lonely place, specially during the months from April to September.
You can enjoy the excitement of a visit to the snow-capped Villarrica volcano, and practice some skiing or snowboarding in their snowy slopes, or relax in the calm of the many hot springs you can find in the area.
Huerquehue National Park:
Located 35 km from Pucón, is a unique winter attraction. It has trails, ponds and even waterfalls that occasionally freeze during cold days. It is a place surrounded by lagoons and mountain lakes, such as Lago Verde (Green Lake), which is characterized by a deep emerald green in its waters. With a little luck, you can spot the woodpecker birds hidden in the trees, or also foxes and the elusive pudú.
You should always walk with caution, since in this park inhabits the Güiña and the Peregrine Falcon, among other endangered species.
The park has spaces designed for motorhomes, inviting all lovers of nature to get into their deep, quiet woods, walking the various trails that offer majestic landscapes, being simply a paradise on earth.
Las Termas Geométricas (Geometric Hot Spring Waters): They are located in the Villarrica National Park. To get to the baths you have to enter the 16 km that crosses the park between Pucon and Coñaripe. It has only a wooden walkway made of stained red coihue (native tree) of almost half a kilometer, near to a creek surrounded by nature.
Geometric Hot Spring Waters has become a must in the winter, generating a total disconnection with the modern world. It is easy to forget everything when you can use their hot springs day or night, right in the middle of the native forests of the Villarrica National Park.
It has 20 pools and a continuous ramp without steps, the geometric spas allow you to cross the creek with confidence that at the end of it, you will relax and enjoy a quiet swim. Do not worry about tripping at night, because it has light candles all over the place.
Gastronomy in Pucón:
Pucón offers an extensive menu. It is possible to find various culinary offerings based on local foods, where the main ingredients are meat, pasta and seafood. During winter these are the most popular dishes: Sopaipillas (preparation based on flour), Porotos con Riendas (preparation based on beans and noodles) and the classic Cazuela (a casserole dish with meat and vegetable stew).
On the other hand, it is also possible to find fusion food, where it stands-out the Chilean - Mapuche (indigenous community). These are typical preparations with a combination of local products, seeking to find a flavor that represents the typical food but with a special touch to enchant the audience.