Lake Renihue, Chile
We were on the way to Pucon, the outdoors adventure Mecca in southern
Chile and picked out
HOTEL - RIŅIMAPU
[***] [$$] out of a guide book
as a possible one night rest stop along the way. But soon
after we settled in at Rinimapu we knew we had found something really
special and decided to skip Pucon and stay on at Rinimapu until it was
time to go back home.
The hotel/lodge is paradise. It fronts Lake Renihue, which is one
of a string of pretty lakes in the Andes foothills. This and the
neighboring lakes are fed by glacial run-off of the Choshuenco volcano.
The volcano is in constant view from the lodge. From our 2nd
story room the sun rose over the volcano cone - a magnificence view.
loaf around, sit with a book by the fireplace, or get active with rafting,
hiking, and horseback riding. Proprietor/host Catalina introduced us
to her neighbors
and Maggy Staples [**]. They are Brits that gave up the
corporate life in GB, did a stint of sailing around the world, and landed
here in the 1990s to start a farm, B&B, and horseback riding on the trails
through their estate of several hundred acres. On our three hour
horseback tour Ian gave us a running commentary on such topics as making
fence posts, the best grass for fattening cattle, and Chilean versus
Argentinean beef (Chilean is better). At the end we cooled off with beers
on their deck overlooking the San Pedro River gorge.
is also situated on a large estate. Catalina's parents used to
breed horses here and later established a fisherman's lodge on the
property. Catalina came down from Santiago in the late 1990s to take
over running the lodge.
The lodge and L. Rinihue are very secluded. There is shopping for
basic and some local arts and crafts 20 miles away in Panguipulli.
There is a radio phone at the hotel.
If you go: stay
here for at least a few days. And on the way back
home stop at Puerto
Varas [***] for a couple of nights.
Hotel staff and guests gather for Christmas
night gifts exchange and dinner. Owner/manager Catalina Puga is at
far right, Marlene is far left.
Chain of lakes in the area of Renihue.
This map is painted on one of the walls in the lodge.
town of Panguipulli, on the adjacent lake is the nearest shopping and the
gateway to more lakes in the back country.
The kitchen at the
lodge is exceptional and one more reason for an extended stay. A different
culinary specialty is presented every night and everything is on par with a Michelin "stared"
restaurant. There is no menu: you tell Catalina what you like
and leave the details to her.
Juans Andes Cinnamon Apples - a specialty at
(This was to die for. We were told it was an
invention of Juan, who works the farm by day and is chef by night.)
Peel and core apples. Cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds.
Mix flour, eggs, a pinch of baking powder, cinnamon
and sugar into a batter.
Dip apple rounds in batter and fry. Coat with more