Nahuelbuta, much more than a touristic circuit
by Manon Coupé
La Nahuelbuta Mountain Range is part of a group called the Coastal Range, located in the Araucanía and Biobio regions.. Nature, history and culture are the tourist attractions of an authentic destination in Chile.
These attributes are highlighted by the Concepción University and the Nahuelbuta foundation through the project “Conservation and Tourism in Nahuelbuta and Isla Mocha”. The project consisted of creating a responsible and collaborative tourism circuit that involves different local actors. Together, they fight for the development of tourism in their own image and under their own management. It is then an experimental and community-based tourism that is born. Last year, they made us discover this unique experience during a visit.
THE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF NAHUELBUTA ENLIGHTENED BY LOCAL INHABITANTS
The local actors offer to discover the natural environment of the mountain range, far from the beaten tracks. Viviana, Ociel, Marta and the others, are passionate actors of nature. They offer a different approach to tourism that not only shows beautiful landscapes to tourists. They explain the importance of conservation and restoration of the lakes, rivers, waterfalls and forests that surround them.
“Together, they fight for the development of tourism in their own image and under their own management. It is then experimental and community-based tourism that is born.”
Nahuelbuta is also famous for its history, specifically for the resistance of the Mapuche people against the Spanish invasion. Humberto Mendoza, a local historian, tells with passion the story of Lake Antihuala, symbol of the struggle of the indigenous people, very representative of the history of the Cordillera.
The culture and cosmovision of the people of Nahuelbuta comes from the Mapuche people, who have inhabited the Cordillera since long before the Spanish conquest. The local culture is promoted by the inhabitants themselves. For example, you can spend a night in a Mapuche Ruka, to exchange and learn from the extensive cultural knowledge of Manuel Malibur, a great defender of his culture and traditions.
The development of sustainable tourism aims to show their way of life and their respect for nature.
PARTICIPATIVE ACTIVITIES FOR EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM
A visit to Nahuelbuta is, above all, a journey of flavours. Tourists on a diet, please abstain! Each activity is accompanied by a tasting of local products. The women, members of the Caramavida Ecotourism Cooperative, will invite you to talk about their history, their role in local life and tourism, while sharing a feast of delicious tortillas, sopaipillas and fruit jams from the garden. Sandra and Maria will welcome you to their respective family homes to share a meal made from their garden products.
Responsible tourism also aims to raise awareness of the urgency of restoring the environment. That is why travellers will participate in a basic class of planting native flora in a cooperative.
“We don’t want tourism to be massive, we don’t want our villages to be full. I don’t receive just any traveler in my house“
Tourism appears here as an instrument of nature conservation but also and especially of the culture, that the locals transmit with pride. The program consists of enriching meetings, but also of questioning their own way of life. This is what we have learned from this experience of sustainable tourism. The discovery of the cosmovision of the Cordillera shows tourists a way of life very much connected to nature. An experience that makes us want to behave differently, that changes our lives!
Sitting around a fire with Manuel, we realized that we were living a privileged moment when he confessed to us: “We don’t want tourism to be massive, we don’t want our villages to be full. I don’t receive just any traveller in my house”. So it is much more than a tourist service, it is a need to transmit, to share with respectful and interested travellers… See the program. Who signs up?