Our Services


For your visit to the Valle de Elicura, we provide lodging in comfortable cabins decorated with local handicrafts and equipped with all the basic necessities (electricity, drinking water and heating). Each cabin can accomodate up to four people.


Mapuche Cuisine



Our meals are based on traditional mapuche cuisine, using, our own locally grown produce.


Agricultural production in the Valle de Elicura is centered on vegetablesgrown on small farms: beans, peas, broad beans, potatos and onions, among others. There is also a great variety of fruit such as apples, oranges, lemons, pears, apricots, cherries, plums, quince, mandarins, giant strawberries and raspberries.


The Valle de Elicura, like the rest of Arauco Province, is endowed with favorable agricultural conditions in which there is a very low incidence of insect pests and plant disease, due primarily to its isolation from other centers of agricultural production. The Mapuche families of the region have benefitted from this and have taken up the challenge of organic production and its corresponding certification.



Former mapuche food


Formerly, staple foods in the Mapuche diet- commonly found between all Mapuche communities- were potatoes, corn, quinoa, and beans, used to cook stews, soups, catutos* o mültrün, y muday (a cold drink originally prepared with fermented corn, araucaria nuts*, or quinwa). Those dishes sometimes were served with guanaco or bird meat, fish or seafood from their breeding, hunt or harvest.


Lafkenches (« coastal people ») just as Huiliches (« southern people »), used to harvest cochayuyo  (edible seaweed), clams, and other shellfishes, which were boiled and served in a wood dish, or stewed. The Mapuches fished in the ocean as well as in internal lakes and rivers, from their wampos (canoes) or simply from the shore. They used nets made of plant fibers, spears made from Coliwe trees, and harpoons made from bone or rocks.


Pehuenches, «people of Pehuen», used to eat the fruit of the Araucaria tree, 'piñones' (guillio), as a staple food, used to prepare catuto*, mote, and muday. As a matter of fact, all mapuches were gatherers, especially seeking out wild fruits, such as chilean hazelnuts ('avellanas'), berries like 'maquis', 'murtilla', and mushrooms (as 'changle' and 'digueñe'), and also 'nalcas', a plant whose stalk was used to make salads.


*: See description in «Some Food Items».


Changes and blend


Mapuche people fought Spanish troops during Arauco's war, which lasted from 1536 to 1818. This war saw the capture of many prisoners of war, among whom were many Mapuche women, destined to work as servants or cooks for the families living in their cities built in the New World. As a result, many Mapuche women became accustomed to their Spanish masters' tastes and to the new food they had brought from Europe to South America's fields.


Through many other aspects of this violent historical episode (food sacking, burning crops ...etc.), an important blend resulted, with numerous European recipes, foods and cooking techniques were introduced in Mapuche cooking. Wheat gradually became a staple food, being used in all the dishes that originally were prepared out of potatoes, araucaria nuts or corn: nowadays, “catutos” and “muday” are always prepared out of wheat. Apples were also introduced at this time, and were used to prepare a type of “muday”, called “chicha”: today known as a Mapuche specialty.


As well, fried food appeared in the Mapuche diet at this time. Before, fried food did not exist, and oil – which was made out of madia sativa plant or araucaria nuts – was only used sparingly. Following the Spanish conquest, Mapuche people also started to eat more animal products: both ovine and bovine, brought by the Spaniards, and eggs also acquired importance as a result of the habits of the Spanish conquistadors.


Blending the know-hows was not isolated to the period of the Spanish conquest: there is a constant evolution of Mapuche cooking, as of any cooking. During the nineteenth century, German immigrants arrived in number to the south of Chile, just as immigrants from other parts of Europe had arrived in waves across the continent, and they brought new food habits. As a result, kuchen, strudel, rotkohl and hakbraten arrived in Chilean and Mapuche cooking. “Murta”'s kuchen, sold by some Mapuche cookers, is an example of those exchanges.


Over time, habits and opportunities to gather wild food sources gradually diminished; at the same time, the destruction and substitution of native forest by pine and eucalyptus plantations, drastically reducing the possibility to gather wild fruits in the forest.


The threat on Mapuche's food security and sovereignty continues today. Territory reduction has been a continuous process since the arrival of the Spaniards, including after Chile gained independence. This contributed to the reduction of their cultivable land. To make things worse, plantations of eucalyptus have caused a severe water shortage that threatens Mapuche communities’ vegetable gardens and lands. Not to mention the landscape and climate changes provoked by the extensive forest industry that has planted in monoculture throughout the region.


Mapuche Culinary Identity


In spite of all the changes and contributions that have occurred, Mapuche cooking still has a true identity. Nevertheless, this identity cannot be summed up to a few recipes or food items: the identity tells the story of their cultural evolution through history, reflecting changes in the Mapuche people even. The true heart of Mapuche cooking lies in the meaning of food, respect for nature, eating in season, and following the cycles of ñuke mapu (mother earth).


Anita Epulef, a famous Mapuche chef, said in an interview: “Our ancestors left us with just one thing: everything is mixed, everything is united into one. For us, cooking has much to do with spirituality; it can't be isolated from what happens around it. I can't think of cooking without thinking about the environment, of its conservation, of limiting water usage, caring for the seeds.”


Jesús Contreras, an anthropologist, wrote: “Cooking in any country is all the foods and products found in the market put into a pot”.  This sentence holds very true in Mapuche cooking, for which the word “market” could be replaced by “vegetable garden”.  Maria Pucol, a cook from the Elicura-Contulmon Valley, outlines this idea by saying that using wheat in her dishes is “more Mapuche” than using quinoa, because wheat today grows  close to Temuco, while quinoa is must be sourced from further away. Just like Anita Epulef, she has her own vegetable garden, where she plants ancient seeds, both native ones and seeds from ancient seed stores in Europe.


Similarly, the concept of Yageltu Mogen represents much of the significance of the Mapuche culinary culture, allowing us to better understand the Mapuche perspective.

“To eat, we understand as a way to connect and relate to life, becoming aware of a world beyond a purely physical earth. When one eats, they receive all the energy of that food. It is not just a physical act of ingesting food, but an act of absorbing the energy of the food and its preparation. This is why in the Mapuche culture, it is so important that, from the sowing to the harvest, everything in the process has its rituals and ceremonies to connect with ñuke mapu” (Mapuche museum, Cañete)

Eating in the Mapuche culture is a social and familiar ritual. Thus every time a visitor calls, even today, food is always offered, regardless of the time of the day.


Araucaria nuts (“Piñones”)


“Piñón” (guillio in mapudungun) is the nut of an endemic tree of south Chile named araucaria tree or pehuén. “Piñones” used to be at the centre of traditional mapuche diet, especially the pehuenche, literally “pehuén’s people”. Nowadays, they still are an important nutritional complement and a central element of mapuche’s culture along side with its rituals,  harvest, cooking and sharing. This process contributes to the continuity of mapuche-pehuenche’s culture, maintaining the relationship to earth.

Araucaria trees grow in natural state at 2500feets above sea-level, even though they can be planted in lower zones, as in Elicura valley’s orchards. They reach their 160 feets-maximum height at 250 years old, and their longevity approximates 2000 years old (the oldest araucaria tree is 1800 years old and is located in Conguillio’s park).


Harvest: Araucaria nuts harvest lasts from March to May, and is realised with lasso, wave, stick or climbing trees to shake branches. A good harvest can reach 400kg per tree, for an old an well-loaded model.


Preparation: Out of auracaria nuts can be prepared: flour, bread, stew, stir fry with other vegetables, muday (cool drink), and even humitas (ground cereal cake, usually prepared with corn). Moreover, the trunk’s resin is used as a popular medication for skin ulcers.


Qualities :


Being said that “food is more than a mere collection of nutrients selected with a nutritional or biological rationality” (Jesús Contreras, «Alimentación y cultura: reflexiones desde la antropología»,1992, p.98), it is, however, interesting to have a look at the nutritional qualities that have some endemic products as araucaria nuts.




Proteins (15g/100g)

The amount a protein nearly reaches the protein found in meat! (red meat : ~20g/100g)

Carbohydrates (~65g/100g)

Nuts’ carbohydrates are non-refined. They fulfil the body’s most immediate energy needs and are healthier than other types of carbohydrates.

Essential fatty acids: Omega 3 and 6

They are fundamental to take care of cardiovascular system and brain’s health.

Vitamin E

Strengthens the immunological system and is antioxidant.




Merkén is a typical seasoning of mapuche cooking, and nowadays has an important success among Chilean and international cooking. It is prepared out of dried and smoked “cacho de cabra” pepper (literally goat’s slice pepper, Latin name: Capsicum annuum), grinded with cilantro seeds and salt.


Preparation: The peppers are tied in bunches with a thread, and usually let to dry on a stove or heater, before being smoked on a native wood fire. Entire peppers, salt and cilantro seeds are then grinded with a stone, which’s name is kudi or tranantrapi in mapudungun.


Chilean Hazelnuts (“Avellanas”)


Chilean hazelnuts, o gneufén in Mapudungun, are Gevuina avellana’s fruits, a native tree that grows in association with other species from the Maule River to the Rivers’s region.


Harvest: The fruit passes through various colours: from green to red before turning black and falling at the end of the summer, between February and April. The fruits are collected from the ground, and let dry in the sun or on stove.


Preparation: Chilean hazelnuts are usually consumed toasted, even though they are sometimes used to make flour or high quality oil.





Mono unsaturated lipids

Along with almonds they are the dry fruits with the highest fatty acids rate, which is essential to regulate cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides.


The calcium rate reaches 230mg/100g against 120mg/100g in milk. Calcium is essential to prevent bones complication.

Vitamin E

40mg/100g against 20mg/100g in almonds. Vitamin E strengthens the immunological system and is antioxidant.


756 mg/100g (daily recommended amout: 2300mg for women, 3100 for men)


































“Catutos” or mültrün are a dough comparable to bread, formerly made of potatoes, corn or araucaria nuts (piñones), and from the Spanish arrival on, usually made with wheat. Husked wheat is mashed with a stone named kudi, in order to make a dough used to form little flat breads, ready to eat!


Eating husked wheat instead of wheat flour, preserves fibres, which is healthier and easier to digest, and at the same time it is an alternative to the oven, which mapuche people did not use. Formerly, all the food was prepared on a fireplace at the centre of the ruka (tradicional habitat), a hole in the ground surrounded with stones.


Kollonkas Hens


Kollonkas hens are also named mapuche hens, as it is believed that they were created by mapuches, through a crossing between two endemic species, “collonca” and “ketro”. Those hens have special features : blue-greenish eggs, and do not have tail.



Mapuche Eco-Tours and Trips

There are a number of chioces, depending on your interests and the time you have at your disposal. With us you also have the option of creating your own unique program.


Some of our offerings include:

-Local Eco-Tour: You will be introduced to the native flora and fauna of the Valle de Elicura and its' relationship to the Mapuche cosmology.

-Eco-Tour of the Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta: In this protected area there is an important preserve of araucarias and native fauna.

-Lafkenche Tour: Associated with Mapuche cosmology as it relates to the sea.

-Eco-Tour to the volcanos.


Download here informations about the activities to do during your stay in Mapuche Trekan and about the landscapes you can discover with Manuel Maribur
Actividades Mapuche Trekan.pdf
Documento Adobe Acrobat [12.1 MB]



Valle de Elicura

Comuna de Contulmo

Región del Biobío

Centro-sur de CHILE






Si desea ponerse en contacto con nosotros, no dude en llamarnos al teléfono:


+56 97838681 ( Chile )


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Manuel Maribur Cheuquelao

Especialista en Turismo Mapuche


Turismo Lafkenche

Elaboración y gráfica