La Union Town and Commune, tourist places

Lago Ranco, south of Chile.
A view of Lago Ranco
Image: FranciscoSaavedra.cl

La Union is a small city, part of the commune of the same name and capital of the Ranco Province in the Chilean Region of Los Rios. Its population is 26,000 inhabitants and its location 40 km north of Osorno and 80 km southeast of Valdivia, the regional capital.  The town is well known in Chile for the development of the dairy and brewing industry, its great livestock and agricultural activity.
 
Its name ("The Union") is supposed to come from an important geographical accident in the area: the confluence of the Llollelhue and Radimadi rivers, tributaries of the Bueno river. However another version says that La Union is the translation from the old native Mapudungun language of the word "dagllipulli" or "daglipulli", the original name of the territory where the city is located and which means "Union of Spirits". 
 
As in all of the South of Chile, La Union offers a wonderful destination for the tourist who seeks to enjoy ecotourism and adventure travel. Here is a list of what to do and visit in this beautiful part of the Region of the Rivers.



Tourist Attractions in La Union

 

 

Alerce Costero National Park

 
Alerce Costero National Park
Millenary Larch Tree
Image: Diario El Ranco
  Parque Nacional Alerce Costero, created in 2010, it is a protected natural area managed by CONAF, located about 52 km from the city of La Unión. Its objective is to preserve the rich nature of the Cordillera de la Costa, which is home to multiple species of endemic fauna and flora. 
 
A special attraction for visitors is the Sendero Alerce Milenario (Millenary Larch trail) which leads to the oldest tree in South America, also known as "the great grandfather" (3,500 years old), approximately 12 meters high and 7 meters in diameter, 12 people holding hands are needed to surround the tree. For centuries it was hidden from humans since it is located in a feep ravine, a location that helped it survive countless fires. It was discovered in 1971 and declared a Natural Monument in 1976.

 

Plaza de La Concordia



Image: Municipalidad de la Union
   The Plaza de la Concordia (main square) maintains its original layout since its creation in 1827 and is surrounded by architectural constructions dating from the time of German colonization.
 
  Because of its environment, tranquility, the maintenance of the green areas and old trees is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Since the nineteenth century, its now renovated, beautiful water fountain has been a meeting and gathering place for both locals and visitors.
 
 

 

Puerto Nuevo

 
Puerto Nuevo, Lago Ranco, Chile.
A view of Puerto Nuevo Beach
Image: Diario tvcanal5.cl
  Lakeside village located on the southern shore of Lago Ranco, 45 km from La Union, through a completely paved road, where you can enjoy wonderful landscapes. 
 
As with all the towns around the lake, Puerto Nuevo is a welcoming and beautiful place with alternatives to eat, beach, camping and water activities. It has an extensive beach enabled for swimming and sun bathing, ideal for enjoying outdoor leisure activities in contact with nature.
 

 

Playa Hueicolla


80 km west of La Union, towards the coast, is the hamlet and beach of Hueicolla, which means "water mirror" in Huilliche language With a 4-kilometer long beach, it is characterized by its calm waters, surrounded by native vegetation, ancient, large extension virgin forests and a small cove of artisanal fishermen. From the beach you can see Cerro Parque El Mirador, 1,231 meters above sea level, one of the highest peaks in the Cordillera de la Costa with forest of magnificent cypresses, rauli beech and ferns.

 

Casa Kuc and Truchas Restaurant

 
Casa Kuc is a shop and cafeteria located in a privileged place within Los Chilcos Farm, formed by local craftwomen of the Ranco Lake basin. The cafeteria has very tasty cakes and pastry products, the handicraft store offers woven items, leathers, wool, blankets, wooden articles.

A few meters away is the "Truchas" restaurant, where trout are raised in ponds, which you can fish yourself and then eat. The restaurant is a very spacious place, on the edge of a small lagoon with paths and bridges that connect with the El Molino Museum and Casa Kuc.

 

Location and Distances  
 
 
La Union is located in Los Rios Region, southern Chile and is the capital of the Ranco Province. To get to the commune there are no direct flights, you can arrive by air to the Cañal Bajo Carlos Hott Siebert Airport in Osorno or the Pichoy Airport in Valdivia, from there you have to take a bus or drive to La Union. 
 
By land, either from Santiago or any other city, you can get there by Ruta 5 Sur (Panamerican Highway) since the town is only 10 km away off the road. The distance by land to other cities are:
 
Santiago de Chile: 904 km.
Valdivia (Regional capital): 85 km.
Temuco: 227 km.
Osorno: 45 km.
Puerto Montt: 146 km. 
 
 

 

Rio Bueno, Town and Commune in Chile

Image: Radio Sago
 
  Rio Bueno is a commune of the Ranco Province, in the southeastern part of the Los Rios Region. It has an area of 2,212 km2 and a population of just over 32,000 inhabitants. The commune extends along the valley of River Bueno, which rises as a discharge of the Ranco Lake and after a slow but mighty 200 km route it empties into the Pacific Ocean. The town itself was founded in 1778 as Fort San Jose de Alcudia.
 
The place has a humid climate in Winter and temperate in Summer (20º C to 25º C), with an average annual temperature of app. 12º C. The total annual precipitation ranges from 1200 to 1600 mm. Its especially fertile soil, has allowed the development of an agriculture of cereals, fruits, vegetables and legumes, cattle ranching and leather industry, sausage factories, beers, liquors, flour,  dairy products and derivatives. In addition, its location, about 80 km from Valdivia and 38 km from Osorno on Ruta 5 Sur (Pan-American Highway), has favoured its development. As is characteristic of this part of southern Chile, German colonization, very strong from the second half of the 19th century, has exerted great influence in all areas.
 
 

Tourist Attractions in Rio Bueno

 

 

Arturo Möller Sandrock Historical and Archaeological Museum

Opened in 1971, the gallery receives its name in homage to its creator and the main donor of the pieces exhibited in the museum. Its mission is to rescue, preserve and promote the historical heritage of the municipality of Rio Bueno and its surroundings. 
 
Arturo Möller Sandrock, a native of this land, gathered during his life a set of collections which his family later donated to the Rio Bueno city council. The museum also includes numerous donations from individuals, left by Spanish settlers and later by descendants of Germans and Austrians.

Address: 650 Pedro Lagos St., Rio Bueno
Land line: 56 64 2340433 

 

Fuerte San Jose de Alcudia


San Jose de Alcudia Fort, Chile
Image: monumentos.gob.cl
  The south of Chile was the last Spanish redoubt where Spanish domination took refuge. The crown fortifications built between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the current Los Rios Region constitute a unique architectural heritage in Chile.
 
The Fuerte San Jose de Alcudia Historic Monument is built on top of a cliff and overlooks the Bueno River from a height of 50 meters. The  stronghold was part of the defense infrastructure built in that area in order to counter the attack of the natives after an uprising in 1792 and in order to establish Spanish control between the cities of Valdivia and Castro. Its construction date dates back to the period between 1793 and 1795, and was in charge of the engineer Manuel Olaguer Feliu.
 

 

Parroquia Inmaculada Concepcion 

 
Located on Arturo Prat Ave., in front of the main square of the city, the town's parish church is one of the places included in the local city tours. Very well maintained, it was created in 1907 as Parroquia Arcangel San Rafael. It is an important meeting point for parishioners and families who attend Masses and religious events.
 
 

Culinary Tradition

 

Chocolates Kyra, Pastry & Chocolate Shop
Traditional German Recipe
  The influence of the German colonization in this part of Chile is reflected in many fields of daily life. It is common to find various small businesses offering delicacies based on traditional German recipes, highlighting those related to pastry, chocolate, beers, liquors, sausages, dairy products.
 

 

 

 

Parque Alfonso Brandt

 
This park is an ideal destination for those who like to enjoy nature and observe native tree species, located on Cerro Piedra Mesa, on the shores of Lago Ranco.
 
There are a series of routes where tourists can go hiking or biking, enjoying a privileged view of the lake, its islands and the entire environment. Lago Ranco has 13 islands being the third largest in Chile after Llanquihue and General Carrera. One of the recommended activities is to trek to the Piedra Mesa viewpoint, which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the lake, and is also the entry point to the Park.
 
 

Puente Chirre (Chirre Bridge)

 

Chirre Bridge, Chile.
Puente Chirre on Pinterest
 Spectacular architectural work considering the time it was built, 1925, with the purpose of connecting the cities of Río Bueno and Entre Lagos in the railway network. It was declared a National Monument in June 2017, currently it changed its railway use to road use.
 
Surrounded by the scenic beauty and a thick vegetation typical of the region, the bridge, one of the highest in South America, is used for rappelling in a descent of almost 100 meters over the Chirre river, whose waters also favor the practice of kayaking and rafting.
 

 

Rafting on Rio Bueno 

 

Image: aventurasport.cl
Adventure Tourism in North, Central & Southern Chile
  This water course, natural drainage of Lago Ranco, the third largest in Chile, offers great conditions for practicing water sports. There are several specialized agencies that offer the opportunity to live an unforgettable experience in these idyllic landscapes of southern Chile.
 
It is not necessary to have a lot of previous experience because the rapids are class II and III, the guides are very prepared and the agencies provide all the prior instruction and necessary equipment except for footwear. Some of the agencies that offer tours are Rio Bueno Expediciones, Aventura Sport, Turismo Rutas Verdes.
 
 

Location and Distances

The commune is located in southern Chile, Ranco Province, Los Rios Region, Rio Bueno valley, the river is the natural drain of the beautiful Ranco Lake.
 
The main access is by Route 5 South (Pan-American Highway), a short distance from the town, reaching the "Cruce Los Tambores" take the T-71 fork that connects with the town. The distance to other cities:

Santiago de Chile: 900 km.
Valdivia (regional capital): 80 km.
Osorno: 38 km.
Puerto Montt: 139 km.