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Ways to Experience Mapuche Culture in San Martin de los Andes

By Viator, August 2018

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Before the 16th-century arrival of the Spanish here in Patagonia, these hills, lakes, forests, and mountains were inhabited by native Mapuche. While most of the land the Mapuche inhabited is in Chile’s modern day Lakes District, some still inhabit the rolling hills outside San Martin de los Andes. In total, about 300,000 people in Argentina identify as native Mapuche, and since the 1990s when Argentina and Chile both achieved democracy, a large Mapuche movement has taken place to reclaim the culture and land. 

Though the cultural conflict is still ongoing and is rife with political undertones, visitors to San Martin de los Andes can still experience Mapuche culture in a number of different places. On the lakeshore village of Quila Quina, wander through markets where Mapuche artisans sell handmade wooden crafts. Hike past traditional Mapuche dwellings made from long, vertical sticks, and there’s even the chance of overhearing the native Mapudungan language. 

About 13 miles south of town on the road towards Bariloches, visitors can learn Mapuche history the intriguing Mankewe Cultural Center. Guided tours are usually available, and it’s a great way to experience firsthand the plight of the modern Mapuche. Recently, as an increasing amount of tourists visit northern Patagonia, the Mapuche are working to bolster their economy with services for visiting tourists. Many of the campgrounds in Lanin National Park help raise funds for Mapuche residents, and in the Mapuche community of Curruhuinca near the shores of Lake Lácar, a handful of restaurants, beaches, and stores are managed by Mapuche community members who continue to call this land home.

Tours & Tickets

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Chapelco Hill Tour Including Pil Pil and Arrayanes Circuit, San Martin de los Andes, null
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Chapelco Hill Tour Including Pil Pil and Arrayanes Circuit

Take in the dramatic natural beauty of the Argentine Patagonia on this 4-hour tour by minivan. Starting from San Martin de los Andes, travel along the ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $108.00
Lanin National Park Horseback Riding Tour: Quila Quina Valley and Mapuche Culture, San Martin de ... 
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Lanin National Park Horseback Riding Tour: Quila Quina Valley and Mapuche Culture

Journey into dense forests in Lanín National Park on a pleasant horseback ride during this half-day excursion, just outside of San Martin de los Andes. ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $236.00
Lake Huechulafquen and Lanín Volcano Day Trip, San Martin de los Andes, Horseback Riding
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Lake Huechulafquen and Lanín Volcano Day Trip

Experience some of Argentina’s most stunning natural landscapes, including Lake Huechulafquen and Lanín Volcano, on this day trip from San Martin de los ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $179.00
Road of the Seven Lakes to Villa La Angostura from San Martin de los Andes, San Martin de los ... 
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Road of the Seven Lakes to Villa La Angostura from San Martin de los Andes

Travel the Road of the Seven Lakes on a full-day journey through some of Argentina’s most breathtaking scenery. You’ll depart by minivan from your San Martin ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $179.00
Lanín Volcano Hiking Tour in San Martin de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes, Day Trips
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Lanín Volcano Hiking Tour in San Martin de los Andes

Experience the awe and majesty of Argentina’s Lanín volcano on this full-day guided hiking tour, departing from San Martin de los Andes. An experienced ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $390.00
Cerro Colorado Trekking Tour from San Martin de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes, Hiking & Camping
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Cerro Colorado Trekking Tour from San Martin de los Andes

See stunning views from the top of Cerro Colorado, an extinct volcano in the Neuquen province of Argentina, on this full-day guided trekking tour. After hotel ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $228.00
Cerro Falkner Hiking Tour from San Martín de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes, Hiking & Camping
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Cerro Falkner Hiking Tour from San Martín de los Andes

Soak up panoramas of glassy lakes and snowcapped peaks from the top of Cerro Falkner in the Neuquén province of Argentina, on this full-day guided hiking ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $244.00
Hua Hum Day Trip from San Martin de los Andes including Lanin National Park and Cachin Waterfall ... 
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Hua Hum Day Trip from San Martin de los Andes including Lanin National Park and Cachin Waterfall Hike

From San Martin de los Andes, discover the wonders of the Argentine Patagonia as you make your way west to the border with Chile. On this 5-hour tour by ...  Read more

Location: San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $159.00

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