The Caburgua Visual Archive


The Caburgua Visual Archive


Images of life in Rural Caburgua, Chile in the 1960s.

An accompanying essay, written by an essay written by Dr John Rector, describes life in the region. There is also a Spanish translation of the essay by Irene Z Rector.


John Rector

Collection Items

Playa Blanca, Caburgua
Trees and flowers on Caburgua beach.

Chilco in Renahue
Wild fuchsia (chilco) is native to Chile.

Tito Peña and son, Rio Blanco
Tito Peña and his son on horseback in the valley of Rio Blanco. Tito and his wife were important leaders in building a school in Rio Blanco.

Sunset at Lake Caburgua
Lake Caburgua at sunset.

Enrique Castillo shingling a warehouse
Enrique Castillo ran the only store in Caburgua in the 1960s. Here he is shingling a warehouse where he kept some of the produce. His son, Arnaldo, is a great source of oral history of the area.

Caburgua rail fence
Caburgua fences prevent livestock from wandering. The dominant tree used is the coihue, an evergreen giant. Its wood is very resistant to rot. It is split, buried vertically in a trench, and if additional height is needed a crossbar is added.

South end of Lake Caburgua
Lake Caburgua is surrounded by mountains on all but the south side, where the largest beach is located. Often the lake has no waves. On the mountain crests the original native forests are still preserved.

Lake Tinquilco
This high lake is on a route that hikers take to Huerquehue National Park. The Bratz family, originally from Germany via Brazil, owned much of the property around the lake.

Camping on Caburgua beach
Pioneering campers frequented Caburgua's beach in the early 1960s. Some were of German heritage. Another group were Catholic students led by some adventurous nuns.

Caburgua and Nevados de Sollipulli
On the Caburgua is a stack of hand-hewn railroad ties. The lack of roads along the lake's shores led woodsmen to transport their ties by boat to south shore to sell them to merchants for $5 to $10 each. The boys on the beach are Carlos and Alex…

Lake Caburgua early fall
Lake Caburgua in early fall.

Rio Carileufu (Caburgua)
Carileufu river, now known as Rio Caburgua, is the main above-ground drainage of Lake Caburgua. It usually flows during winter and spring, but dries up in summer as the lake recedes. During dry years, however, the river may not flow. There is also…

Playa Blanca, Caburgua
The west side of Lake Caburgua has some beautiful white sand beaches. Due to the steep mountains which circle the lake on all but the south side, Caburgua's beaches are vey narrow. One exception is Playa Blanca.

Rio Carileufu (Caburgua)
In 1967, the Carileufu flowed for most of the summer, making it a delight for bathing. The contrast of the waterfalls, the greenery, and the golden pastures was an idilic scene.

Volcán Villarrica
This view of Villarrica is from Caburgua near a landmark called "el Cristo," where there is a lifesized crucifix. This is a place of religious and secular gatherings.

View north from the slopes of Volcán Villarrica.
Bill and Roger, Peace Corps Volunteers who have just summited Villarrica. In the distance is Lake Caburgua and Volcán Llaima.

East side of Lake Caburgua
The mountains east of the lake separate Caburgua from a valley called Rio Blanco. Today this valley is accessible by vehicle and there is a modest hot springs resort. In the 60s people even rode horseback many hours or rowed the entire length of…

Paillaco hills east of Caburgua
This image is one of many of the snags left by an immense fire in the 1940s that burned the forests of southern Chile. According to local residents, the fire coincided with the blooming of the quila, a vine-like bamboo that dies after going to seed.…

Dried up Carhuello/Caburgua river
As Lake Caburgua recedes during the summer, the water level drops below that of the outlet, causing the river to go dry.

First winter snows at Lake Caburgua
Snowfall is light in Caburgua, occurring once or twice a winter.

Volcán Villarrica and burned forest
Fires in the 1940s burned many of the Chilean forests. Until the late 1960s landowners often used "roce a fuego" (slash and burn) to clear land they wanted to plant with a grain. In 1980 the Ministry of Agriculture established strict criteria for…
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