Villarrica In the South of Chile – Part I
Today we are visiting Villarrica, a town of about 50,000 people located in the Andes mountains near to Chile’s eastern border. Chile and Argentina fought a war over this border once and there still remains a degree of animosity between Chileans and Argentinians. That war is the reason that Argentina does not allow non-citizens to own certain real estate within a certain distance of the border.
Argentina isn’t taking any chances, apparently. But Chile has no such restrictions. You can buy what you want–where you want–in Chile.
Villarrica is about 470 miles south of Santiago, about 70 miles from Temuco, a city of about 200,000, and only 16 miles from Pucon, a quaint and lovely town of around 25,000 population where there seems an unending list of adventures from white water rafting to volcano climbing to downhill skiing in the winter. We expect to take you along with us to Pucon eventually, but we thought looking at Villarrica a good idea first. Pucon is almost solely a tourist town whereas Villarrica, on the other hand, is a real, operating, working city. Yet it does benefit economically from the tourism in the area.
The majestic, snow-capped mountain here is actually a live volcano. It is Volcan Villarrica. It certainly adds an impressive view from miles around. For those who are concerned about living near a live volcano, real estate parcels are labeled here according to risk involved of having to evacuate in the event of an eruption. There are the “red” and “green” areas. Red of course is considered to carry risk of having to evacuate in case of a genuine eruption, and green being a non risk area. There is a lot more green than red. You really can choose your location with confidence.
If you like gardening, and especially organics, there is something to be said for volcano ash that has fallen in centuries past. It probably is largely responsible for Chile’s incredibly rich soil in certain areas. This may be a health advantage with so much farm land being so mineral-depleted in some parts of the world. It is easy to see the results of the fertility in the lush vegetation everywhere. There is also the obvious advantage of water–not only the lakes in the area but the many streams flowing down from the mountains. A hospitality consultant employed here in Villarrica tells us that many people are moving into the area from the north to the south for that reason. There are signs of a water shortage developing further north. This consultant said that he, himself, moved here from Vina del Mar for that reason. His theory is that the growing water shortage is caused by the mining industry in the north. It is interesting to us how, in many areas, so many people don’t have a clue of any developing problems, while others see the problem coming and take steps long before they arrive to benefit–or to protect– themselves and their families. This consultant appears to be one of the latter.Today we just walked through the city. It is spring time in the southern Andes and it appears that everything is in blossom.