18 de abril de 2019
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

Tourists can learn 500-year-old trade of salt-making in Chile

By Marcial Campos Maza.

By Marcial Campos Maza.

Pichilemu, Chile, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Tourists who come to Cahuil, a coastal town in central Chile, can experience a place of a very different nature and in a few hours learn a 500-year-old trade - salt-making.

This unique experience, rough, tough and something like mining, is offered in the southern O'Higgins region, thanks to a Central University project financed by the regional government that gets tourists working for several hours extracting salt.

The visitor can dig into the savory substance deposited by the sea in rectangular pools, where after several months the sun evaporates the water, leaving a crust of salt on the bottom.

Extracting it is the work of salt-makers using techniques inherited from their grandfathers.

The remaining water is removed beforehand with motor pumps, which is the "only modern technology" used in the process. Then, after the mud is cleared away, the salt is tamped down and left until it is dried by the sun.

"We soak it with water once more, sweep it over with tree branches from one pool to the next, smoothly, until what is left is a 10-centimeter (4-inch) thick crust of salt, which we shovel into wheelbarrows and put in bags," Agustin Moraga, one of the local salt-makers, told EFE.

That unusual experience is available to tourists, guided by salt-makers of the region, located some 200 kilometers (124 miles) southwest of Santiago.

"Visitors do exactly the same work of salt production as the locals. Afterwards they can take away the salt they collected as souvenirs," Eduardo Gonzalez, owner of the Pichilemu Tourism company, which operates the so-called Route of Salt, told EFE.

The history of the salt pools began 500 years ago in the pre-Columbian era, when aborigines of the area extracted the product with ancestral techniques, but it wasn't until the year 1700 that the activity acquired a proto-industrial character based on the salt-making practices still in use today.

Elena Parraguez, who has lived her whole life here, told EFE that the work is done the same way as it was 300 years ago, "with a shovel, the pools, the cleaning, it's all the same," she said.

Some 20 people work in the salt pools, having inherited the trade from their fathers and grandfathers.

All these men are over age 50, some 62 percent of them have only a primary education, and this is a way for them to earn a living.

They were the ones who in 2013 were declared Living Human Treasures by UNESCO, for their contribution to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Chile and the unique character of their trade, which preserves the identity of the area.

That same year, the Chilean National Industrial Property Institute (INAPI) gave the salt of Cahuil the denomination of origin, since it is a product that can only be produced in this area, due to it geographic conditions and unique production processes.

In fact, the salt of Cahuil is unique in Chile since it comes from the sea, unlike that in the north, which is mined from the salt flats of the Altiplano.

Therefore, only salt extracted from this area can use commercially the denomination "Salt of Cahuil."

Whoever gets to Cahuil can also visit the lush wetlands of the Nilahue Estuary and the Salt Pools of Cahuil, Barrancas, Pichilemu and Valdivia, a place with an infinity of birdlife that makes it an interesting landscape for taking photos.

There one can swiftly observe some 46 bird species, from black-necked swans to mallards, from herons to ravens to so many more, all living in a magical natural environment with a hybrid ecosystem (a blend of fresh water and salt water).

When it comes time to dine, tourists can taste the gastronomy of the area made with sea salt, unique seasonings, quinoa (a seed from the Andes), local-habitat birds and other regional specialties.

They can also visit the watermills of Pañul and Rodeillo, which, with their rustic but very efficient engineering, have ground for more than 50 years the different grains like wheat, barley and quinoa produced in the area to make handcrafted flour, even as the 21st century progresses.

Histórico de noticias
US Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke of Texas campaigns in Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Alexandria, USA, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Wednesday condemned racism in the highest positions of power in the...

US government strengthens sanctions on Cuba

By Ivonne Malaver.

Peru in shock over suicide of ex-President Alan Garcia

Lima, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The death Wednesday of former President Alan Garcia after he shot himself in the head as police arrived at his home to arrest him...

Firefighters battle wildfires in 18 Mexican states

Mexico City, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Ninety-five wildfires of different sizes are burning in 18 Mexican states and the authorities are attempting to control them...

US announces new sanctions on Venezuelan Central Bank

Miami, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The United States government will impose new sanctions on the Venezuelan Central Bank, which is the institution that is "keeping...

Peasants in Mexico seek alternatives to growing opium poppies

Chilpancingo, Mexico, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Peasants in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero who have long subsisted by growing opium poppies want to get out...

Uruguay theater bus presents comic reenactment of Paysandu history

By Raul Martinez

Guaido's envoy occupies Venezuela's OAS seat for first time

Washington, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Gustavo Tarre, the envoy appointed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, on Wednesday for the first time occupied Venezuela's...

Mexican gov't has cut p.r. spending by 50 pct., president says

Mexico City, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government published new guidelines for communications on Wednesday, with public advertising spending being cut...

Migration north of broad-winged hawks makes stopover in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

US to allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating in Cuba

Washington, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the US government would invoke a measure for the first time that allows...

Former Peruvian President Garcia dies from self-inflicted gunshot

Lima, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Former President Alan Garcia died Wednesday at a Lima hospital while undergoing surgery after shooting himself as Peruvian police...

Trump vetoes congressional resolution to end US involvement in Yemen war

Washington DC, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States vetoed a resolution Tuesday passed by Congress calling on the US to withdraw military...

EU urges companies to counterattack US lawsuits on Cuba

Havana, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- European Union authorities on Tuesday committed themselves to protecting the interests of businessmen from the bloc in Cuba and...

Migrants crossing southern US border, turning selves in to authorities

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Central American migrant families are saying they made the decision to illegally cross the border into the United...

Deaths in Brazil building disaster reach 15

Sao Paulo, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The number of people confirmed dead after the collapse of a pair of four-story residential buildings in a militia-controlled...

Mexican singer Chavela Vargas honored on 100th anniversary of her birth

Mexico City, Apr 16 (EFE).- Mexican singer Chavela Vargas will be commemorated on the 100th anniversary of her birth as a woman who lived in a rebellious...

Red Cross: Electric generators in first humanitarian aid for Venezuela

Caracas, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan Red Cross on Tuesday announced the entry into the country of the first shipment of humanitarian aid, including...

Penitents in Atlixco, Mexico, prepare for painful Way of the Cross

Atlixco, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The penitents of this town in central Mexico are preparing for one of the country's most representative Stations of the...

Art invites discussion on Havana's Malecon

By Atahualpa Amerise

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador daily press conference

Mexico City, Apr 16 (epa-efe).- President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday touted the creation of more than 269,000 jobs in the first quarter, saying...

Spanish exile who spurred Argentine probe of Franco regime dies

Buenos Aires, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Dario Rivas, the Spanish Civil War exile who successfully prodded Argentine prosecutors to investigate the crimes of the...

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador daily press conference

Mexico City, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday that his administration would stay focused on government austerity and...

The street is a graffiti artist's museum, Brazil's Kobra says

By Alvaro Blanco