The Trails of Quinquén

An efficient development plan has transformed a Pehuenche zone into an alternative that integrates the indigenous communities with traditional ecotourism.

In the late seventies Galletué Forestal Corporation bought the sector of Quinquén in the province of Lonquimay, región de la Araucanía, to exploit the auraucaria, a tree declared a national monument in 1976 and source of food for the Pewenche communities that inhabited the area since ancient times. After a long time of legal struggle, the lands were given back to the indigenous communities with the return of democracy after Pinochet’s dictatorship.  But now a new element had been added: the natives were able to supply themselves offering unique tourist services in Chile.

Located in Araucarias Biosphere Reserve, Quinquén stretches for over 15 thousand hectares of araucaria forests that interact with fauna species such as condors, pumas, kestrels, black woodpeckers, and foxes. This is also part of a tourist development plan directed by the Meliñir family, Codeff, and WWF, aimed at integrating the Pehuenches customs (gathering of piñones and sales of their related produce) with trekking and riding excursions for tourists.

Along with those excursions you can also enjoy traditional meals, including different preparations of the piñon, from sauces to jam, and try dishes like traditional  lamb barbecue and non alcoholic beverages such as mint water, amongst others.

The goal of this project is to connect the trails of Quinquén with places like Conguillío National Park, China Muerta National Reserve, and Malalcahuelo Thermal Springs, becoming one big network of tourist integration. That goal has not been fulfilled yet, and the place is still an Pehuenche area amidst the Araucarias.

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