Villa Baviera: Chile's Torture Colony Tourist Trap

In Chile, an isolated community once run by a Nazi named Paul Schäfer tries to remake itself as a German-themed resort
Scene from Villa Baviera Courtesy Villa Baviera

The easiest way to get to Villa Baviera, a resort in Chile’s Andean foothills, starts with a four-hour train ride south from Santiago past small vineyards, villages of sun-faded stucco, and swaying windbreaks of Lombardy poplars. From the drowsy train station at Parral, you’ll need to raise dust on about 12 more miles of loose gravel roads, one of which leads to a small guardhouse and a closed gate. My driver pulls up to the gate. A woman emerges from the guardhouse, checks my name on a list,and flashes him a smile. “They all know me,” he says, “because every week I pick up a psychologist from Santiago at the train station and drive him here to work with the residents.” I spot a lookout tower rising above the roadside trees. “That’s from the old days,” he explains. “To prevent escapees.”

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.