Now, in its third season in the La Araucanía region, the entrepreneurs and institutions involved in the River Route put a spotlight on their preparations and training for tourism services in order to welcome visitors with all of the needed safety measures.
Along the coast of the La Araucanía, the Ruta Fluvial Carahue Navegable [Carahue Navigable River Route] and its 22 small businesses are ready and waiting for visitors. The path, either over land or the great Imperial River, begins at the Estación Fluvial located next to the Carahue harbour and ends at the wonderful Monkul wetlands.
Having fulfilled all the needed protocols to prevent Covid-19 infection, the Estación Fluvial held a ceremony to kick off the 2021 summer season, “Ruta Carahue Navegable: Verano Seguro” [Safe Summer] and launched the route website: carahuenavegable.cl
After the ceremony, the president of the Ruta Carahue Navegable and owner of the Puerto Koüpo Lodge, Claudio San Martín, stated that for this summer marked by the pandemic, “we have prepared ourselves to provide tourism attractions with all the necessary safeguards for anyone who wants to see the sights offered by our river basin. It was a challenging year for everyone, and although it was hard for entrepreneurs to make it through, it has enabled us to prepare our facilities and guarantee health measures in light of the situation. That is why we welcome visitors and assure that all safety standards have been met.”
This tourism route is designed for resting, disconnecting and actively engaging with nature. Visitors have an array of accommodation options and can visit the Wuampuhue Mapuche vineyard that produces sparkling wine, go on a boat or kayak trip, and enjoy open-air hot tubs, local flora and fauna sightseeing, or even experience eating a meal in a Mapuche ruca house, and much more.
All of these options have been outfitted with all of the safety measures needed to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Each business received a sanitation kit and signage to help protect visitors and the surroundings through the Arriba Todos Juntos program spearheaded by CMPC.
Carahue Municipality Mayor Alejandro Sáez appreciates how this initiative has grown stronger over time. “It’s been three years of growth for our entrepreneurs who have through their hard work and dedication fought for their dreams that they are bringing to life with a tourism project that transcends our neighborhood and regional boundaries. Today Carahue has quality tourism attractions that have been adapted to meet the current sanitation standards for the season. These entrepreneurs have transformed the community into an essential and attractive tourism and culinary center for people visiting our region.”
River routes played a very important role in the past due to a lack of land routes. In the second half of the 19th century, the Imperial River located in the municipality of Carahue was the most important route for commerce in the southern area. The Mapuche people were the principal boaters who also used this river as their primary communication route and to exchange goods and knowledge.
The boat most commonly used by this community was called a “Wampo”, which is single piece carved canoe measuring up to eight meters long. However, after land routes were built the importance of the river declined and even lost its economic and cultural value.
A few years ago the Carahue community wanted to see the river’s importance be restored and ended up building an alliance with the CMPC Company, the Departamento de Acción Social del Obispado de Temuco (DAS, or the Department of Social Action of the Bishopric of Temuco) and the Municipality of Carahue. Therefore, after years of work and with the support of the above-named organizations, the Carahue Navigable project was launched on January 16th of 2018.
In yesterday’s ceremony, Monsignor Héctor Vargas said that tourism is a tool that contributes toward the social and economic development of this coastal zone. “This initiative is about comprehensive human development. We all know that when people have opportunities, they truly have the capacity to create a business, develop themselves, move forward and then provide work to others. This then also strongly supports and promotes the development of the entire area where they live.”
Assistant Manager of Public Affairs for CMPC Ignacio Lira added that, “We are part of this beautiful territory where we productively share with the entrepreneurs who are coupling the scenic beauty of the Imperial River with local cuisine and lodging, which transforms such individual efforts into a concrete destination for the community. CMPC helps this organization to continue making progress and our work here will be ongoing so that this river route sector continues to grow.”