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Lake Ranco: A Natural Charm

   
 Estimated reading time: 3 min. Texts Photos Marcelo Sola Texts Photos Marcelo Sola
Tour around Lake Ranco

We went on the traditional tour around Lake Ranco. An excellent way to see the surroundings of Futrono and appreciate the attractive charming scenery.

Crystal-clear by nature, Lake Ranco is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the community of Futrono. Several times a day, the mythical waters of the Ranco invite visitors to observe them from all possible angles and perspectives. In the daytime, they have an intense blue shade. At sunset, it gets an orange tinge which slowly turns into shocking red, to finally welcome the starry night of Futrono.

It occupies a total surface of 42,300 liquid hectares and it lies 70 m.a.s.l. It is the third largest lake in Chile and, at present, it is already part of the international circuit known as “Xth Region Interlake Road”.

As most lakes in Chile, a road borders the water body and several villages have settled down on its shores such as Futrono, Llifén or the community bearing the same name.

During our visit, we went on a traditional tour around the lake to learn more about this redoubt of land and its people.
Tour around Lake Ranco
We left Futrono very early following Route D 55 towards Llifén. We would have to travel about 120 kilometers to complete the tour around the lake. Therefore, we left early enough so as to have enough time to enjoy every corner.

We knew that we would be able to observe beautiful natural sceneries made up by rivers, falls, cascades and local vegetation, always escorted by the Ranco.

We soon found ourselves on the bridge over the Caunahue River. We made a stop in order to watch how the vertiginous waters of this torrent turned into intense white foam as they passed through a canyon known as Caunahue Eyes.

Farther ahead, we came across Mount Huequecura and the magnificent sandy beaches where many people gather to enjoy the summer sun. At this point, it is possible to find various traditional displays and to taste typical regional dishes.
Tour around Lake Ranco
After traveling 20 kilometers, we reached Llifén. Located on the eastern shore of the lake, it is a mountain village that stands out for being the main sport fishing center in the region. We continued traveling. We passed by Posada del Turista, a quiet inn where visitors may find accommodation as well as taste a delicious lunch, elevenses and various services.

Farther ahead, we saw the Termas de Llifén spa, a beautiful hot spring resort with waters whose temperatures range between 25° and 38 °C. We must highlight that these are the closest hot springs to the City of Valdivia. This place is a must visit. It has three hydro-massage pools wisely integrated with the surroundings.

Two kilometers away from Llifén, we crossed the Calcurrupe River. This delicious river is often chosen by lovers of fly-fishing. Besides, due to its length, river rafting may be enjoyed from its source at Lake Maihue to its mouth in the Ranco, where the native flora may be observed in all its splendor.

After crossing the bridge over the Calcurrupe River, we entered the Lake Ranco Community. The road is no longer paved at this point and, for about 10 kilometers, it is made of rubble.

We continued driving and we observed the Verde Lagoon on the left. After crossing the Miraflores Bridge, nature surprised us with the refreshing Nilahue Falls. The huge volume of water has two subsequent falls. We stood on an artificial vantage point to behold the scenery. In the surroundings of the fall, there is an area for camping or doing a pic-nic. We recommend a visit.
Tour around Lake Ranco
After crossing the bridge over the Nilahue River, we returned to the pavement for a few moments. Ahead, we found El Arenal beach, in the Riñinahue area. This is the site chosen by those tourists who wish to enjoy intense sunshine all day long.

We arrived in the City of Lago Ranco. By then, we had just completed half the tour. This urban center, just like Futrono, offers accommodation, gastronomy, communications and everything the tourist needs. We entered the city to see its architecture and go for a ride along the beautiful waterfront.

After a few moments in the village, our tour continued. The road was made of rubble once again. We soon penetrated the Quillín forest, declared Natural Reserve as it presents a landscape few times seen in Southern Chile. Here, several species (such as the olivillos) grow on the ground without understory.

On the edge of the road, a man sold us a bunch of nalcas which we tasted with some salt as we continued traveling. They are usually found from October to December, before the vegetable stem gets hard.
Tour around Lake Ranco
We abandoned the incredible view of the lake and began to border the Bueno River -where the Ranco ends- which, after several kilometers dies, in the Pacific Ocean. We got to the river bank and had to cross the stream by raft leaving from Puerto Lapi in order to continue our tour. The raft service is free of charge but if you wish to cross the Bueno River after 6pm, you will have to tip the people working there.

Once on the other side of the river, our journey was getting near the end. We entered the Community of Futrono once again. In the last few kilometers, we managed to watch San Pedro and Imahue Beaches, where some villas built with interesting architectural designs may be appreciated.
Tour around Lake Ranco
Seven kilometers before reaching the city, we passed by Coique Bay with its vast white sandy beaches, the modern camping site and the important tourist resort bearing the same name.

Finally, we took the main road and once more we passed by the sign post which read “Welcome to Futrono”. From the top of the hill, we got a spectacular view of Lake Ranco and its islands once again. The sun was beginning to set and the warm sun beams reflected off the giant water mirror thus indicating that the day was coming to an end.

During the tour, we enjoyed various panoramic points, the native forest and the people from each place. It was an exciting tour, highly recommended for you to enjoy with enough time to spare. Suitable for the entire family.
Useful Data
How to get here
Santiago-Valdivia: by air and by land. From Valdivia along Route 207 up to Paillaco. Go northwards along southern Route 5 and take the detour on the right towards Futrono and the lake.
 
Recommendations
do not miss visiting Yanet and his sister’s traditional display in the surroundings of Huequecura Beach. You may taste exquisite recipes, homemade and regional dishes. Furthermore, they provide accommodation at their place.

Where to Sleep: Futrono has an important and varied accommodation infrastructure for all tastes and needs.

What to Buy: during the tour, you can buy handicrafts at the traditional displays or taste delicious regional dishes.
 
 
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Characteristics
Level of Difficulty
low.
Duration
all day, although if you accelerate the pace, it may take less time.
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