Altos de Cantillana Expediciones & Ecoturismo – Valle de Aculeo – Chile

Aculeo Lagoon is a body of fresh water, fed by several springs and streams from the Altos de Cantillana range, occupying an area of 12.5 hectares (31 acres) and a depth of 5 meters.

The lagoon facilitated the development of agriculture in the Aculeo valley. It is known that since before 1800 an emergent agriculture was already practiced, which massified in 1911 when the Letelier family implemented an innovative system of irrigation channels driven by electric pumps, a system that stills operate today and that involved the development of the Treasury, irrigating the whole valley with waters of the lagoon.

For many years, the tourism to the area resulted in a strong intervention of the lagoon’s banks and the degradation of one of the few natural wetlands in the region. However, it is still possible to find remnants of vegetation that allow the nesting of the wetland’s characteristic birds as well as nutria, that live along the lagoon’s banks.

The view from the lake surprises due to its green basin, which is still inhabited by original forests and shrubs. On the banks of the lagoon, it is possible to observe the different processes of land occupation that have occurred in the area.

The uniqueness of the area and the pressure to which it is exposed, compelled the Biodiversity Conservation project in Altos de Cantillana (GEF-CONAMA.PNUD) to earmark some funds for participatory planning and developing a Management Plan of the Aculeo Basin, a process completed by 2008 with the participation of various local and institutional supporters.

Our company hopes that the enhancement through ecotourism of wetlands around the lagoon, which is an extremely scarce element in the region, will bring a greater appreciation from communities living in the surrounding area.

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