Travel tips for your Chile trip from Adela and Helmut
National park Conguillio
You can visit the park generally the whole year round, if You take the Melipeuco-Access. In wintertime (May to September), with low temperatures and snow, sometimes You´ll reach by car only until the Rainbow-Lake. From there, You´ll have to walk 5 km (Snow) up to the Conguillio-Lake (Playa-Linda) with its Araukarias (Rubberboots). The complete crossing of the park starting in Curacautin (75km, 3 hours-drive), because of snow accumulation and broken trees, is possible from the end of december until the beginning of april only. To visit the park You need under all circumstances a vehicle with a motor. (Trained Bicicle-Riders, who are experienced with rough gravel, sand-trails, who´ve got 4 days of time and like to change their tents four times are excluded, of course.) There is still no public transportation to and in the park. If You charter a taxi, have in mind, that the hiking-circuits are scattered on a distance from about 30 km, which means, You´ll need the taxi for the entire day. Food You may buy only from middle of january until the end of february in a small shop at Conguillio-Lake. In winter from june to september runs the ski-lift in the sector Las Paraguas.
The Chilean road traffic
Normally chilean drivers are defensive. But if they want to change lanes or make a turn, they set the indicator and stop until there is enough space for the vehicle, they don´t mind if the following driver will hoot. Out of town, they drive with lights on, which is very important on gravel-roads. Gravel-roads as well are dangerous for the windshield, therefore You pass vehicles as close as possible. In towns maximum speed is 60 km/h, interstate-roads 100 km/h and on the motorway 120 km/h. When they turn left, the vehicle which wants to make the turn, often signs right, stops and lets pass the following traffic, then turns left. Indicating on the left is interpreted as sign for overtaking, that means, if you turn left, the accident is programated. The traffic-law doesn´t considerate this situation, that means take care turning left looking in the rear-mirror. Big holes in the pavement of asfalted rural-roads are difficult to recognize. When You get a ticket, the police-officer takes Your driving-license, which will be returned the following labour-day, not before 12 h noon at the local court, paying the ticket before of course. In particular at weekends and at nighttime there are many alcoholized drivers and pedestrians on the road. Most bicicle-drivers ride without lights, and often even wear reflective clothes. Animals as well are difficult to recognize at night-time and sometimes you even may meet horses on the motor-way. The zipper-system normally is not respected. Entering to a motorway, some drivers stop even on the acceleration-lane. In cities often occures car-forcing, sometimes even on guarded parking-lots, which means, dont´t leave articles of value inside Your car. Most paved roads are in a good shape. On the countryside, dominates graveled roads. Gravel is mixed with big rocks and causes a lot of dust in summertime. Therefore You must drive with lights on, even during daytime. Bikers should avoid those gravel roads, because other vehicles almost can´t figure them out in the dust. You have to get used to the Roadsigns, because they are often only for drivers with local knowledge. Sometimes roadsigns dissapear, or there never has been a sign. Local people are quite helpful, but not very precise with the dates. The Opens external link in new windowChiletur-Copec-travelguide has got the best maps and is available at Copec-gas-stations at the motorway and in one gas-station in Temuco.
Mapuche the natives of Chile
We are proud to live in a region, where the native inhabitants of Chile still are present. Their former lifestyle cannot be conserved in our modern society (Nomads, Ruka-Houses). Of course they produce and sell handicrafts for art or religious purposes and they still celebrate their rituals. To visit a ritual, if You don´t live in a mapuche-reduction You´ll need the invitation of a tribe-member. The person who will invite You will let You know the required clothes, behavior and the rules, You must obey. The best posibility to understand their history offers the regional museum in Temuco and the museums in Cunco or Chol-Chol.