Ranco Lake: Indigenous Communities and Islands

Where tradition, waterfalls, and landscapes offer tourists a memorable experience.


The Ranco Lake Basin is located 100 km east of Valdivia.  The area between the basin and the Andes is home to plenty of surprises.  There are two main settlements in the area, the town of Futrono, located on the north shore of the lake, and the town of Ranco lake, located on the south shore.  Both towns are connected by small highway that runs around the lake.  Along the road, drivers can pull over and enjoy numerous lookout points.

The Ranco lake is the third largest in Chile. The area offers visitors the opportunity to visit several towns, sample local cuisine, and interact with the local community.  The principal native communities in the area located on the Illahuapi Peninsula close to Maihue Lake and west of the Ranco Lake at High Rupumeica.

The town of Futrono is known as a tourist destination for various activities on local rivers.  A natural hot water spring is located on the Llifén River.  The Llifén and Calcurrupe Rivers are world class fly fishing destinations, and offer rental cabins for travelers.  There is also a large waterfall on the Nilahue river with access to a small beach beneath it.

Additionally, there is a horseback service that carries visitors to the Cordón del Caulle, an area that includes a geyser and hot springs.

Among the thirteen islands in the area, Huapi is the most known largely due to its long established indigenous Huilliche community.  The island is accessible by sail or motorboat from the town of Futrono. An attractive quality of the island is its relative anonymity.  The inhabitants of the island have an ancestry mixed between colonialists and indigenous tribes, and take particular pride in their traditions and origin.