* Tourism in Rapel Artificial Lake and Surroundings
Rapel Lake and surroundings - Photo: amuraworld.com
Lago Rapel, a term from the Mapuche language meaning "clay mud", is a Chilean artificial reservoir, located in the O'Higgins Region, also known by the former name of Sixth Region of Chile, 144 km. South West of the capital, Santiago. It was created in 1979, covering an area of 80 km2. and a capacity of 695 million cubic meters that feed the Hydroelectric Plant. Surrounded by peaceful rural villages, agriculture is the main activity but the climate and gentle waters invite to enjoy the benefits of this beautiful corner of Chile. This is how in recent decades the lake gave way to tourism, since then, it is positioning itself as one of the must-see attractions South of Santiago, reflected in the large number of restaurants, summer houses and especially the practice of water sports, including yachting, windsurfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, catamaran and recreational fishing. The area surrounding Lago Rapel is composed of the municipalities of Las Cabras, La Estrella, Marchigüe, Pichidegua and Litueche, on the South shore of the reservoir are located the villages of El Estero, Llallauquen and Las Balsas, along a road that borders the lake, which branchess off Route 66, also known as "Carretera de la Fruta" (Fruit Road). In the area where converge the three arms of the lake is where most tourists gather around Rapel, the place has several camping cabins, hotels and a residential complex in the area of El Estero, belonging to Marina Golf Rapel.
Due to its extension, fly fishing and sailing are the most popular activities on the lake, but other recommended activities for visitors are also a variety of water sports, hiking, mountain biking, or visiting the surrounding villages that have their own entertaining options. Marina Golf Rapel,with its tranquil surroundings, is an excellent choice to visit as it has a 9 holes golf course, a tennis court, a marina with floating dock projected for 300 boats, a swimming pool, horse ridings and a private beach. Besides in Restaurant Marina Rapel you can taste the best dishes of the Chilean food with a gourmet touch. Another interesting place to visit is the Parque Ecologico Llallauquen, a reserve created by the Movimiento Ambientalista de Rapel, who have managed to create a space where visitors will be impressed by the beauty of the environment, its biodiversity and tranquility. It must be added the offer of picnic spots and the environment in an enclosure developed by the community, built entirely from discarded tires and bricks made with plastic bottles filled with bags, besides horseback riding, pedal boating or kayaking. Besides the interaction with animals, Los Maitenes Dairy Farm offers a tour through the facilities to teach the public how to milk a cow, feeding the calves and an explanation about the production of milk derivatives. Among the attractions for visitors is its varied cuisine. After years of work was created the Ruta Gastronomica, which brings together the best food offers, accommodation and activities. Besides the Marina Golf Rapel Complex and Los Maitenes Dairy Farm, the Gastronomic Route around Rapel Lake is composed of Residencia Historica de Marchigue, location: Los Maitenes, Marchigue. The Hotel- Residencia Historica de Marchigue dates back to the eighteenth century, originally belonged to a congregation of Jesuit priests. The current restaurant seems to have inherited the fine cuisine of the inhabitants of the old houses belonging to the Jesuits who lived in this place centuries ago. Some years ago, an Italian family of Chilean origin bought the property with the idea to spread the Chilean hospitality and founded the Hotel so that that everyone can enjoy these houses that are part of the rural cultural heritage of this zone of Chile;Restaurant Hotel Jardin del Lago, located in Parcela 25 Santa Clara, Las Cabras, this lakeside restaurant offers a country setting in an atmosphere of tranquility and relaxation, among the various dishes you can also find an interesting vegetarian menu; Hotel Marina Punta Verde, located in Camino el Estero, Km 9, specifically at Skorpios Bay, its restaurant combines a perfect view of the lake with a varied menu;Hostal Gladys, 653 Jose Miguel Carrera Street, Las Cabras Commune, where the good hand and welcoming personality of its owner go hand in hand with the food served at the establishment located few steps from the Main Square; Restautant La Cueva del Conejo,cozy restaurant located in El Manzano, Carretera de la Fruta Km. 62, attended by its owners, here you can enjoy exquisitely prepared seafood and meats;Restaurant y Salon de Eventos El Sol, 449 Carlos Fresno Av., Las Cabras Commune, small Pub- Restaurant specializing in barbecue; Restaurant Donde Aquiles, location 549 21 de Mayo Street, La Estrella. At Donde Aquiles Restaurant lamb is prepared in the most diverse ways and accompanied by a variety of preparations, based on typical local ingredients. Another nearby attraction is Las Cabras, small village situated 18 km. from Rapel Lake by the Camino de la Fruta. The Commune keeps folkloric traditions such as Chilean style horse races, horse taming, rodeos, leather and fabric handicrafts, folk music and rural architecture with adobe houses, tiles and inner courtyards of more than 150 years. It is a typical place of central Chile to tour and have lunch.