Torres del Paine National Park

Tourism in Melipeuco, Southern Chile

Image: Turismo Likan Kura - Tourism Agency
Melipeuco

Melipeuco is a picturesque town and municipality located in the Araucanía region of Chile, 760 km south of Santiago, the national capital. Situated at the foot of the Andes in the Cautín Province, it captivates visitors with its stunning natural beauty and rich culture. Melipeuco is the gateway to the majestic Conguillío National Park and is only 12 km from its southern entrance. This place is a true paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a unique experience in one of Chile's most impressive landscapes.

The population of the commune is approximately 7,000 inhabitants, mostly of Mapuche origin. In fact, the name "Melipeuco" derives from the Mapudungun language and means "meeting of four waters." This suggests a strong Mapuche influence and presence in the area since ancestral times. Tourists can learn about the traditions and customs of this indigenous people through visiting the "rukas" (traditional houses) and participating in cultural and gastronomic activities.

Climate

The climate in Melipeuco is predominantly temperate and humid, with a marked influence from the Andes Mountains. Summers are pleasant, and winters are cold, with the possibility of snowfall, especially in the highlands. Rainfall is frequent throughout the year, contributing to the area's lush vegetation. It should be noted that the commune receives between 1,500 and 2,500 mm of annual precipitation. Visitors can expect temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C in the winter months, while in the summer, temperatures range from 10°C to 25°C.


How to get to Melipeuco 

From the very beginning, getting to Melipeuco can be an adventure. Travelers from Santiago can choose to take a bus, which takes about 9 hours, or drive along Route 5 South to the Padre las Casas fork, continuing on to Cunco, and finally to Melipeuco. For those who prefer to fly, the closest terminal is La Araucanía International Airport in Temuco, from where you can take a bus or rent a car to get to Melipeuco.

Location of Melipeuco

Tourist Attractions in Melipeuco

Melipeuco is a destination that does not disappoint those seeking adventure and contact with nature. The Conguillío National Park is one of the main attractions, known for its impressive landscape dominated by the Llaima volcano and its ancient Araucaria forests. Visitors can explore a variety of trails, enjoy panoramic views, and observe the park's rich wildlife. Here are our recommendations:

Parque Nacional Conguillío  

Conguillío National Park is known for its impressive landscape dominated by the Llaima Volcano, featuring a variety of ecosystems including ancient araucaria forests, lakes, and crystalline rivers.

Among its main attractions are the Conguillío Lagoon, ideal for activities such as hiking and kayaking, and the Sierra Nevada and Los Carpinteros trails, which offer spectacular views and the opportunity to observe local fauna. Additionally, the park is part of the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve, recognized by UNESCO, which underscores its ecological value and the diversity of its flora and fauna.

As an additional fact, the BBC has named Conguillío National Park as one of the last refuges in the world that preserves the landscape where dinosaurs once lived. Part of the documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs" was filmed in this park.


Lago Conguillío

Lake Conguillío, nestled within Conguillío National Park, provides stunning views of the Llaima Volcano and is surrounded by lush green foliage. It's a perfect spot for water sports, fishing, and exploring the adjacent hiking trails.


Volcán Llaima

The Llaima volcano is a must-see attraction for adventurers and mountaineers. It offers challenging ascent routes and spectacular panoramic views from its summit. In winter, its slopes are popular for skiing and other snow activities.

There is a well-developed ski center called "Araucarias", located on the western slope of the volcano. From the ski center, it is also possible to continue up to the cone of the volcano by 4x4 vehicles.

Araucarias Ski Center, official website.


Salto Truful-Truful  

This beautiful set of waterfalls, located in the upper reaches of the Truful-Truful River, is a must-see for tourists. The water cascades from a considerable height, creating a picturesque and relaxing environment. There are trails that allow visitors to get close and enjoy the natural beauty of the place. 

Likewise, rafting on the Truful Truful River is safe and suitable for everyone, and is one of the adventure activities not to be missed in Melipeuco. 

Laguna Captrén 

The Captrén Lagoon is a tourist attraction within Conguillío National Park. Known for its natural beauty, it offers outdoor experiences such as flora and fauna observation, hiking, and kayaking in its crystal-clear waters. It also surprises visitors with dozens of trees submerged underwater.

The lagoon is part of a trail circuit and offers impressive views of the Llaima Volcano and the park's volcanic landscapes. Its location at the northern access to the park, near Curacautín, facilitates visitor access.


Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde Lagoon, also referred to as Quililo, is one of the main attractions of Conguillío National Park in Melipeuco.. Its name comes from the emerald green color of its waters, which is the result of the presence of minerals.

The lagoon is surrounded by the park's native vegetation, including araucarias, ñirres, coihues, and lengas, which creates a unique natural and scenic landscape. It is an excellent spot for picnics, hiking, sport fishing, and observing local flora and fauna. The lagoon is also situated in a volcanic environment, with the imposing Llaima Volcano in the background, making it a very popular tourist destination.


Volcán Sollipulli

The Sollipulli volcano offers tourists a variety of unique and attractive experiences such as hiking and trekking through spectacular landscapes, including native forests, glaciers, and panoramic views of the crater. The breathtaking views and diverse landscapes make Sollipulli an ideal place for landscape photography.


The ascent to the crater of the Sollipulli volcano is a challenging yet rewarding adventure. From the summit, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the glacier that fills the crater and the surrounding landscape. The area around the volcano is rich in biodiversity, with many species of native plants and animals. It is an excellent place for nature lovers, making it an ideal site for flora and fauna observation.

In addition, near the volcano, there are several thermal centers where visitors can relax and enjoy the therapeutic properties of the hot springs.

Reserva Nacional China Muerta

The China Muerta National Reserve, located in the municipalities of Lonquimay (Malleco Province) and Melipeuco (Cautín Province), is an ideal destination for nature lovers and hikers. With its lush vegetation, native forests and panoramic views of the Andes, it offers a unique experience of tranquility and natural beauty.
 
Visitors can enjoy well-marked trails, bird watching and the opportunity to observe the endemic flora and fauna of the region, all in an environment of great biodiversity and breathtaking scenery. 

Local Tour Operators, Agencies

Turismo Likan Kura
Turismo Pewen Mapu
Marikewun Turismo
Turismo FlorAnimal
Centro Turístico El Regreso

 

 

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