Fundo "El Sombrero"
The "Mini-Ranch" concept
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Well, it's pretty simple, really, and quite possibly not entirely original, but to my knowledge nothing like this is yet on offer in check it out in person, see the bottom of the page, please.

The fundo's "campero" on Chilean mount

Unlike many land owners who, because of the increasing demand for vacation sites in the Lake District, are offering lots of between 1 and 2 acres in order to maximize their returns, I would like to preserve the natural beauty of my surroundings and find just a few  neighbors who share my views on conservation, even if it has a detrimental effect on the kitty.
Accordingly, I've decided to set aside up to 1.000 acres of the "fundo's"existing total of 4.000 for the creation of not more than ten mini-ranches of not less than 25 acres each. There is no upper limit, only a system of "first come, first served" - keeping in mind that no more than 1.000 acres will be sold - with a sliding scale price structure to reflect the size of tract purchased.
Because of the configuration of the terrain, a parcel of approximately 50 acres would be necessary to take full advantage of both view and river frontage, but several possibilities exist for smaller lots with either, depending on your preferences.
The rest of the ranch will remain my private domain, but "Club members", i.e. mini-ranch owners will be allowed exclusive access for the purposes of horseback riding and hiking as part of the fringe benefits. 

The Quatripillan volcano

Speaking of the "Club", I don't really envisage a formal organization per se, but the intention is to convert the existing main residence into a 4.000sq.ft.Club house, where prospective ranch owners can stay while their own homes are being constructed, and later, put up visitors or gather for a drink or dinner.
This might be particularly useful to owners who can only come down for shorter periods without the time or inclination to stock up their own kitchen. Similarily, owners who do not wish to keep their own horses can rent them at cost from our stable, located next to the Club house. Guides can be provided until you know the lay of the land, and my employees will be at your disposal for maintenance work etc., again at cost.
My wife and I will build a smaller house a bit higher up in the mountains and continue operating the "fundo" as a working ranch, while overseeing the Club operation.

Anyone else for a swim? (Rio Manio)

Example of employee housing

What you get for the price - apart from the greatest mountain air, purest water and the bluest & starriest skies to be found anywhere:
  • All basic infrastructures i.e. roads, utilities, fencing etc. If non-existent in the area you chose, we'll build it.
  • Security;- although not a problem here, we keep an entrance guard on duty 24 hours, just in case.
  • Help with home construction. Machinery, tractor, tools and many materials are available on the ranch, and we can introduce you to contractors who can build a 2-bedroom house for as little as $20.000.
  • Help with and advice on relocation, immigration and language. If you're too lazy to learn Spanish (it's easy, really - I didn't speak a word beyond "cerveza" when I first arrived) you'll still be able to get along in the Lake District with either English or German.
  • Owner financing, absentee management and lease-back of grazing rights, if desired.
  • Club membership and access to 3.000+ acres of private virgin forest property, in addition to your very own ranch.

All grazing pastures aren't level.....

The price: As indicated elsewhere, the price will depend on area required and will range from $2,750 to $4,000 per acre, i.e. a 25 acre mini-ranch would cost $100.000, whereas a 100 acre spread comes to $275.000. For areas above 100 acres, prices are negotiable (I may mention as a comparison that a mere 2 acre lot in the vicinity of the fundo, with a view or river frontage can fetch as much as $50,000.)

(I have left this section, like all the contents of the first four pages of this site, untouched since originally written in 2002 to give a "historical" perspective of the Concept. Obviously these prices no longer apply, nor is it possible to design your own parcels any more as the final subdivision has long since been done. See the last page for updates, please. Panguipulli, 6th January'10)

One of many secondary roads

The Lanin volcano

Suggested commercial activities: I would be less than honest if I promised that you'll get rich as a rancher, but if you have the inclination, the terrain and climate lend themselves perfectly to the raising of cattle, horses, alpacas etc.  Bee-keeping, if you know how (this region produces some of the best honey in the world), and trout-breeding are other possibilities as are nurseries and plantations.
As for pastimes, the "fundo"offers an unlimited scope for:
  • horseback riding. (Many visitors have commented that a more ideal terrain simply doesn't exist.)
  • trout-fishing. ("Rio Manio", the principal river, traces its sources to the high mountains of the "fundo", and constitutes its border for over 10 miles. It has been described by experts as the purest and best dryfly-fishing river in the region.)
  • hiking. (Literally tens of miles of trails....)
  • bird-watching. ("El Sombrero" is truly an ornithologists dream, with an astounding bird population from parrots and hummingbirds to ibises and kingfishers, in short everything from eagles to snipes - including many species unique to the area, like the "hued-hued" and "chucao". The flora is just as endowed with variety, as one would expect from the great Southern temperate rainforest).
  • hunting. ("Javali" or wild boar is plentiful on the ranch, as are partridges, wood pigeons, hares and foxes. Other animals found on the "fundo" that will not be shot include puma, "coipo" -local beaver, and "pudu" -world's smallest and possibly rarest deer.)
  • Among other activities outside but nearby the "fundo", I should mention boating/sailing and all other water sports on Lago Panguipulli (less than 2 miles away), canoeing and rafting on the "Rio Fui" (1hour's drive), snowskiing at several adjacent resorts (high season May - August, although it's possible to ski year around) and even golf (a neighboring "fundo" has a nine-hole course, complete with a honor-system bar!).

Any question? E-mail us:

Club house (currently main residence)

Now, the only way that you can decide if you'd like to join "The Club of Ten", is to visit us. As such we offer you the opportunity to inspect the "fundo", do all the riding you'd ever want and spend a relaxing week at the Club house for the all-inclusive price of $750/person. We'll pick you up for the 2-hour drive from Temuco airport and send you back, and even the (wonderful Chilean) wine with your meals is included. The only extra expense you should have is the airfare (about $600) and drinks outside of mealtimes. We will accept reservations for a maximum of four persons at a time from the 1st of September '02 onwards.....and, the best part is that if you do decide to join, the cost of your vacation will be applied to the purchase price!

The "huerta" (vegetable garden)

View from the West in late spring

How (and how long) to get there after a 12 hour flight from the States or Europe.