DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Lifestyles-  RECREATION AND SPORTS  

 

Given the wide range in societies, topographies and economic means within the Southern Cordillera, it is no surprise that there is a great variety in styles of recreation.  As in other regions, the majority of people are simply satisfied to weave their free time out of watching television, with the occasional asado (barbecue).  For the more active, here is some of the outlets available.

 

With so much coastline the beaches of Chile and Peru are a major attraction.  Those accessible to the cities can be crowded in season, most people being content to shade some sand, tan their bodies and watch other bodies walk by. Click to see big picture (640x414 pixels; 129 KB)
To others the water beckons, this is the La Portada arch near Antofagasta on the Atacama Coast.  It is a national monument, and climbing is not allowed. Click to see big picture (606x390 pixels; 81 KB)
The wind surfers are clearly enjoying themselves.  Just what this bicyclist thought he was doing is a mystery.  There are some sports which just don't go with beaches. Click to see big picture (640x367 pixels; 65 KB)
Wind surfing is increasing in popularity, and seems able to adapt well to the waves of the open coastline. Click to see big picture (640x434 pixels; 128 KB)
With virtually all of the coast of Chile exposed to the wild Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of waves.  So where are the breaks beloved by surfers? wave
The official center for surfing in Chile is here at Pichilemu, where the break is rumored to be just right. Click to see big picture (640x417 pixels; 91 KB)
But everywhere kids can find a wave to enjoy, here at Arica under the gaze of a pelican. Click to see big picture (640x430 pixels; 87 KB)
Soccer (futbol) is the number one sport and passion throughout Latin American, and indeed most of the world.  Informal matches go well with open beaches. Click to see big picture (640x417 pixels; 73 KB)
The coastal bluffs and coastal winds in certain areas have also proved great for parapet. Click to see big picture (366x480 pixels; 61 KB)
Getting your motorbike (of for that matter auto) into salt water is good for neither the vehicle nor the beach.   Click to see big picture (626x480 pixels; 103 KB)
And, of course, there are always fishermen.  Surf fishing tends to use long rods, and a fair amount a patience. Click to see big picture (640x448 pixels; 134 KB)
But wherever there is a wharf, any old fishing equipment will do.  For more on the fishing lifestyle. Click to see big picture (346x480 pixels; 41 KB)
But the Pacific coast in most places is wild and rocky. Click to see big picture (640x419 pixels; 83 KB)
The waves are often just too dangerous, for family sports especially.  There is more on the Chilean Coast and the Atacama Coast. Click to see big picture (640x440 pixels; 99 KB)
Many families prefer to do their water sports in the quieter settings of lakes and rivers. Click to see big picture (640x417 pixels; 113 KB)
A few even braving the cold glacier-fed waters.  Snags like this one on Embalse Melado reservoir are due to flooding without previous clearing. Click to see big picture (443x480 pixels; 70 KB)
Water skiing is definitely easier in the lakes, and with Volcan Osorno as a backdrop, who could ask for a better setting. Click to see big picture (640x413 pixels; 70 KB)
There are many hotsprings in the Cordillera, and it is no surprise that the more accessible ones are popular.  Here at Baño Morales east of Santiago, the water is just a little too sulfurous for my liking. Click to see big picture (640x451 pixels; 150 KB)
All the rivers and lakes in the southern sectors of the Cordillera have not been overlooked by the sports fishermen.  Here they congregate where the Rio Maule enters the Colbun Reservoir in central Chile. Click to see big picture (640x413 pixels; 115 KB)
And for those willing to go a bit off the beaten track, there are some nice trout.  The concept of catch-and-release seems to be reserved for gringos. Click to see big picture (231x480 pixels; 55 KB)
Fast rivers are where kayakers and white-water rafters find their fun.  The Biobio and Futuleufu Rivers are renown for these sports, but this is the Maipo in flood.  For a tour of some of the better known waterways see Rivers. Click to see big picture (640x405 pixels; 86 KB)
Getting away from the water-sports, a musical performance in a giant cavern in northern Argentina, known as the Anfiteatro Cafayate. Click to see big picture (640x417 pixels; 131 KB)
One of the most popular recreations is travel, given the wide variety of settings and societies.  A Chilena such as this, shopping for souvenirs in a Bolivian market, might well be mistaken for a gringa, at least until she opens her mouth. Click to see big picture (335x480 pixels; 75 KB)
Another style of travel, well suited to families, is tent camping.  The Cordillera is ideal for informal camping.  Here in Patagonia, a sand dune helps break he wind. Click to see big picture (640x409 pixels; 90 KB)
If tent camping isn't in your family tradition, there are several outfitters in Patagonia who can throw together a more luxurious camp, complete with tents, guide, cook and itinerary.
And camping trips into the higher ranges can be spectacular. Click to see big picture (318x480 pixels; 52 KB)
Hiking and climbing are increasingly important, and trail systems are being opened through many parts of the Cordillera. Click to see big picture (339x480 pixels; 83 KB)
Then again, in fields of wild flowers, why get so energetic.  A rest stop. Click to see big picture (640x428 pixels; 130 KB)
And if skiing is your thing, when the snow disappears in the northern hemisphere, winter is setting in for Chile and Argentina.   This chairlift is part of the complex around the ski center of Portillo, on the main highway between these two nations. Click to see big picture (640x464 pixels; 108 KB)
Farther south, the tourist town of Bariloche Argentina, provides skiing in winter and hiking and climbing in summer, not to mention a major lake. Click to see big picture (640x395 pixels; 80 KB)
Directly above Santiago, a paved (but winding) road leads to Farellones, and adjacent Valle Nevado.  This is a major ski center in the winter, and great alpine hiking in the summer. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 112 KB)
The Queca is a traditional dance in which hankerchiefs are waved prominently.  It is largely Chilean, but also seen in the surrounding countries.  Well used hankerchiefs such as mine are not welcome. queca
There are always a few who prefer to take their vacations on horseback, making use of the many trails that thread the Cordillera. Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 117 KB)
For others, horse shows such as rodeos will have to suffice, such as this ritual thrashing of grain known as a trillag. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 91 KB)
Or for a real show of horsemanship, there are polo clubs, such as this one near Curico.  Just in case you have a complete set of trained horses handy. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 131 KB)