Bahia Mansa, Maicolpue y Pucatrihue
Tourism with sense in the chilean Lake District
Bahia Mansa, Maicolpue y Pucatrihue – Word of mouth is still the best advertising, the recommendation of acquaintances or even friends is priceless. I cannot give you confidence in my words but I can tell you about a wonderful piece of Chile, an impressive landscape and people who touch the heart. About an hour’s drive west of Osorno, the charm of the past has been preserved, the hills of the coastal cordillera are still covered with indigenous forests and people still live with values and traditions. Young guides from San Juan de la Costa accompanied me and showed me their world.
Bahia Mansa is the first place you reach on a good road from Osorno. Cabanas, accommodations and restaurants fill up in the summer months, now in spring there is hardly anything to see of tourism. At the Muelle of Bahia Mansa, excursions to Caleta Condor can be organised and small restaurants offer seafood and fish dishes. The Glorimar is exceptionally beautiful just before the Muelle.
The first large beach is south of Bahia Mansa in Maicolpue. Supermarkets, cabanas and campsites are waiting impatiently for the summer months to fill the place with life. The road now narrows and leads up to Pichi Mallay. A small lodge with beautifully landscaped paths offers incredible views over the entire coastal area. Just across the road is the very unusual Raices de Pichi Mallay restaurant with its pirate ships amidst dense coastal vegetation. You don’t need much imagination here to imagine how sailing ships travelled along the coast centuries ago.
The road ends at Playa Tril Tril, which impresses not only with its landscape but also with its cleanliness. One can only hope that this is also the case in the high season. A dirt road leads even further south, but is blocked by a barrier. A trekking tour lasting several days takes you to Caleta Huellelhue, Caleta Condor and Manquemapu, with the option of returning to Bahia Mansa by boat.
North of Bahia Mansa is the long beach of Pucatrihue, a real paradise for nature lovers. Opposite the caleta is the rocky island of Huenteao, with its rocky gate a sought-after photo opportunity and home to many seabirds and cute penguins. A boat tour can be organised in the Caleta, but the usually high waves make it a real challenge for inexperienced landlubbers. As the penguins nest on the island, it should only be observed from the boat. The Rio Llesquehue separates Pucatrihue con Choroy Traiguén. A gravel road leads further up to an enchanting mirador and on to Caleta Manzano.
Land of the Mapuches
Hikers follow the sandy beach north with some caution and climb up the cliff to a spot with incredible views over the entire coastal area. The hike is only short but very rewarding, the vegetation alone is a real experience. The entire area belongs to the Comuna de San Juan de la Costa, whose small town lies halfway between Osorno and Bahia Mansa. From here, too, there are rewarding tours with a high cultural content. The production of charcoal, the Mapuche cemetery or herb walks with local guides should not be missed. Also interesting is the Hospital Intercultural, where patients can also be treated by traditional medicine of the Huilliches living here. A visit can be arranged by appointment.
My words may not convince you to visit this little paradise of Bahia Mansa, but maybe my photos will. Here are a few contacts to local guides who received their tourism training at the Liceo tecnico of San Juan de la Costa and with whom I was allowed to explore the area.
- Bahia Mansa, Maicolpue y Pucatrihue
- Ruta Andina Adventure Road – Chile, Atacama
- Wildlife watching in the Amazon
- Overland from Chile to Bolivia
- How to plan your trekking tour in Chile