As part of a growing agro-tourism trend in Chile, a Mapuche family has opened up two guesthouses in the countryside, 15 minutes from Pucón. Kila Leufu provides an authentic glimpse at Mapuche farming life, complete with authentic Mapuche cooking. Here, you can bake bread and milk the cows if you like, or just relax and read. Ruka Rayen, a second guest house next to Palguín River, which is a hot kayaking spot, is run by a Mapuche woman and her Austrian husband. They speak English and a number of other languages and provide not just comfortable lodging but an array of outdoor adventure activities, from horseback rides to hot-springs visits to treks in local nature areas.
Camino a Curarrehe, Puente Cabedane, Chile
Mar 11, 2012
We stayed four nights in a cabin at Ruka Rayen, a working farm on the outskirts of Pucon. The location was ideal because there’s so much to see and in the area, and it was refreshing to have such peace and quiet for sound nights’ sleep. They have a lazy rooster who doesn’t cookadoodledo until about 7 a.m. Margot gave us a warm welcome, showed us around the property and introduced us to the animals—chickens, pigs, dogs, and cats—that
roam freely in the yard. They also have sheep, cows, and horses. One morning we woke to the sight of a Palimino mare and her foal right outside our window. We had breakfast one day in the guest house which included homemade yogurt, fruit, bread, homemade butter and jam, tomatoes, and avocados. The rest of our meals we prepared on the gas burners in our cabin. They were enhanced by the fresh herbs Margot brought us from her garden. It was fascinating to learn from people who are truly living sustainably and to observe how cultures influenced values. (Margot is Mapuche and Pieter is Austrian.) For instance, Margot explained that they only eat animals that they have raised because that way they know that they’ve had a healthy and happy (at least until their last day) life. Al of Margot’s recommendation for us were spot on, from the remote thermal pools of Termas de Panqui, to the vegetarian restaurant Ecole, and Summit Chile, guides for climbing the Villarica volcano. One of the best excursions during our whole trip was the horseback-riding we did with Pieter. We weren’t experienced riders, but felt very comfortable with his tips and horse whispering. At the end of the ride we enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch that Margot had prepared. Had we had more time—our days were filled with hiking, rafting, and horseback-riding—we would have done more around the farm than just feeding the pigs our compost and playing with the dogs. This was the longest stay in one place during our trip, but I could have easily stayed longer. It wss great getting to know Margot and Pieter and practicing my Spanish and German, even though their English was excellent.