“When we arrived here, we found a wonderful and unique wilderness. No roads, no water, no electricity, no house, nothing at all. And yet, or perhaps because of that, we have fallen in love with this place of unique nature; and we could imagine making something out of it, ” that is how Beate Bentzien at the welcome evening always describes her guests the beginning of their time on Fundo Laguna Blanca.
In 2005, the Bentziens, together with their Swiss company Weltgrund AG, bought this property in the precordillera of the Andes, worked on with the planning for two years and then started to implement the project in 2007. First, the sons Marco and Maximilian arrived at the Fundo and lived together with a friend for several months in a tent and built today’s Casa Antigua. “That was real pioneering life,” says Marco, “washing us in the creek, cooking on an open fire and otherwise only nature around.” In December, the shell was finished, the rest of the family arrived shortly before Christmas. Three horses from Germany were flown in, two containers brought the first part of the household and a few agricultural machines. The family then lived for half a year in this self-built house, which today gives employees and interns a home.
A hard time, actually until today, because it was not and is not easy, in such a remote place initially without support and contact to the environment, to develop such a project, which is probably a bit ahead of its time. “When we arrived here, ecology and sustainability were not yet topics,” says Hajo Bentzien, who developed the first concept for this project based on his German company ERFOLGSGUT (Success farm). But that has changed a lot. Today, tourism in the area is developing, paying close attention to sustainability. And even it is already spoken a lot about ecology and healthy food, a special concern for the young farmer Marco Bentzien, who is today responsible for agriculture and forestry. That’s exactly what partners and co-investors like to see, who are now supporting the project and sometimes even live on the Fundo for a while.
In 2010 a biosphere reserve was established, and a Geopark, also supported by UNESCO, is under development. Fundo Laguna Blanca inside has an official Geosite at its lagoon, so a place that is characterized by very special geological structures and represents a unique natural environment. In this geosite you can observe the three elements of identity of the Araucanía Region: active volcano, millenary Araucaria and glacial lagoon. In this Geosite you can observe the three elements of identity of the Araucania Region: active volcano, millenary Araucaria and glacial lagoon.