Located 32 km from Angol and 124 km from Temuco, Los Sauces is a meeting point for the flow of tourists coming from the Bío Bío area and those going in the direction of Lumaco, Purén and Ercilla.
It has approximately 9,000 inhabitants. Its economy is based on farming, forestry and cattle raising, to which can be added, on a smaller scale, commerce and services.
Temperatures in the area are very high during the summer months. In the extreme southwest are the ‘Ciénagas de Purén’ (Purén Marshes), characterized by the presence of native forests of Chilean sauces (willows) and temu.
Inspite of the complex relief of the terrain in this area, with narrow, winding valleys, the water network is very peculiar as it has a river course through its central part, the Río Rehue, which, after passing through the eastern section of Los Sauces, turns north to join up with the Picoiquén and form the Río Vergara, a tributary of the Bío Bío.
Tourist Attractions in Los Sauces
Casa de Otto Linke
From this house there is an extensive view of the Purén valley as well as Los Sauces. It is on the road to San Ramón. Permission is required to visit the house.
Los Sauces Municipal Swimming Pool
A recreational area for the residents of the area, it has a protective fence, park grounds and a volleyball court. It is an ideal place for swimming and all kinds of sports. It is 500 m west of Los Sauces.
Gruta Virgen del Carmen
A beautiful place of religious interest where pilgrims go to pray to the Virgin, represented by a 6m-high statue. This place is easily accessible, as the grotto is located beside the paved Purén-Contulmo highway.
History of Los Sauces
The main Mapuche chiefs who held power in the Los Sauces territory were: Trinte, Colipí, Melín and Huenchecal. The most recent historical research has established that the Battle of Curalaba took place in this area, an event which came to constitute a key episode in the Spaniards’ withdrawal from the south.
The city of ‘Colipí de Los Sauces’ came into being as a fort on December 28, 1874 during the process of the incorporation of La Frontera into Chilean territory, in order to serve as an outpost between Angol, Purén and Lumaco.
On this land native communities lived together with the primarily German settlers who came to work in Los Sauces.
Subsequently, rustic wooden and adobe homes began to be built around the western side of the fort and these were the beginning of the town of Los Sauces. Among other important immigrants to the area were the German, Max Weber, owner of a ceramics factory; and Juan Smitmans, a pioneer in introducing wheat production in the land around Los Sauces as well planting Australian eucalyptus trees.
The man who gave Los Sauces its name was Arnoldo Kroneberg Smitmans. He was an expert in trees, seeds and grasses, and created a park with exotic tree species.