Where snow-capped volcanoes meet peaceful lakes...
This quaint area is not the wild nature of Patagonian regions further south, but visitors are often surprised by just how intriguing an area the Chilean Lake District can be. Not to be confused with the Lake District across the Andes in Argentina, the Chilean Lake District includes the Alerce Andino National Park, Lake Llanquihue, Chiloe Island, a spectacular spine of volcanoes, the city of Temuco, where poet Pablo Neruda once lived, Pucon, Puerto Varas and of course, many lakes.
Puerto Varas - daily non-stop flights to Puerto Montt from Santiago and Punta Arenas. Puerto Varas is a 45-minute car transfer from the Puerto Montt Airport.
Pucón/Villarrica - daily non-stop flights to Temuco from Santiago. From Temuco - Villarrica is about 90 minutes by car, Pucon about 2 hours.
WEATHER & CLIMATE
Much of the Chile Lake District is temperate rainforest so precipitation is not uncommon year-round. The best time to visit the Lake District
November - February (summer) are the driest and warmest months. Average daily high temperatures in the 60's.
March, April, September
WHAT TO DO
From Puerto Varas
This guided excursion offers the opportunity to glimpse the town and view the beautiful, large lake that is Lake Llanquihue. After passing some landmarks of the town, you'll stop at Los Cisnes beach to take in the view (and take some photos). You'll continue towards Frutillar Bajo, stopping at a lookout point at Caja de Compensacion Los Andes tourist complex along Punta Larga. You'll explore Frutillar Bajo and its old houses, churches, gardens, beach and the Del Lago Theater. Along the shores of Lake Llanquihue, you'll enjoy the Los Bajos area, Quilanto, and Puerto Octay. You can choose to stop in Puerto Octay as well to see the town square, the church, and the German houses. You will continue driving around the lake to Puerto Fonck, Cascada, and Ensenada.
Alerce Andino National Park
There are 20,000 hectares (49,383 acres) of Alerce forests in the park. The Alerce is a slow growing conifer and an excellent wood. Today, it is in danger of extinction and this park is one of its most important protectors. In the park, there are several species typical of an evergreen forest, such as coigue, lenga, mañio, tineo, canelo, and tepa, among others. Furthermore, there are nearly 50 small lagoons hidden among the forest and the mountains. Among them, the most outstanding are: Sargazo, Chaiquenes, Triangulo, Fria, and Pangal lagoons. Even though they are not within the limits of the park, Lake Chapó and the Reloncavi Estuary are two other remarkable points in the surroundings.
Osorno Volcano and Petrohue
From Puerto Varas Route 225 circles around Lake Llanquihue towards Ensenada. The first stopover scenic point will be at Puerto de Humos. The next stopover will be at Petrohue whitewater rapids. After this stop, we will continue to Petrohue for a walk around. Stop at Laguna Verde on the way back to Ensenada. Enter Vicente Perez Rosales National Park and drive up the volcano. At km 7 you will stop at the La Burbuja crater and enjoy a view of the Petrohue River Valley. Continue up the volcano with marvelous panoramic views of Lake Llanquihue. At the end of the road, we will find El Teski refuge where passengers will have time for lunch overlooking a splendid view. After lunch, passengers will have time at leisure for a walk, photographs, or taking the chairlifts. Later, return to Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt with a few stopovers on the way for different views of the lake and the sunset.
Sea Kayaking Reloncavi Fjord
The put-in is just above the Reloncavi Fjord on the flat section of the Petrohue River. After a kilometer you reach the hot springs of Ralun where you can stop for a bath in the warm pools. Then the river enters a Basalt Gorge and widens again to enter the first fjord of Patagonia. You have wide open lookouts to the Yates and Hornopiren volcanoes at the southern end of the fjord. You will likely spot sea lions, small local dolphins (called toninas) and plenty of birds. Lunch is at a farmhouse on the estuary bank with a local family. After a couple of hours you are in Cochamo, with time to walk explore the town hanging between the Andes and the Pacific. You then paddle toward the Cochamo valley. Depending on the tide you can paddle upstream for a couple of kilometers or keep paddling downstream.
Lake Llanquihue Cycling
You will ride along the old roads connecting the enchanting towns of Puerto Varas, Llanquihue, and Frutillar. The changing landscape of paved, dirt and lakeside roads, passing old southern homes and lonely beaches has one constant: the energizing views of Volcano Osorno, Volcano Calbuco, and Monte Tronador - three of the region's significant peaks. In Frutillar you'll have time to delve into the town's history and culture, visit the iconic Teatro del Lago (overlooking Llanquihue Lake) and stroll through the gardens and typical constructions at the Museo Colonial Alemán, built to remember the significant German influence in Chile's lake-dotted south.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park Cycling
Inside the park you will ride on trails and dirt tracks. You will see the outflows from the glaciers of Osorno Volcano that run off into the Petrohué River. A part of the ride will take you along a beautiful trail named "Los Enamorados". Upon arrival at Carilemu you will enjoy the beauty of the temperate rain forest and specimens of local trees including Coigues, Mañios, Arrayanes and a variety of mosses. The ride continues along the shore of the Petrohué River to Todos Los Santos Lake.
Ancud, Caulin Bay & Lacuy
On the island, you will stop at the small village of Chacao for a visit then continue to the fishing village of Caulin, very popular for its migrating species of birds and oyster farms. You may shop for local island handcrafts. You will see the wooden houses, churches, channels and the typical "
Visit the village of Chacao and its church. Continue to the small fishing village of Caulin, enjoying the picturesque views of the typical countryside of Chiloe. Afterward, you will continue to the Quempillen scenic point for a panoramic view of the town of Ancud. The highlights of this town include the handicraft market and the coastline area, San Antonio fort, Regional Museum of Ancud and the town square. Optional lunch stop at Hosteria Ancud.
Castro And Dalcahue
Visit Dalcahue, a picturesque village lying at the point where General Ramón Freire landed with his patriot troops to fight against the Spanish Army back in 1824. The village emerged from cattle farming and traditional crafts market. Visit their Dalcahue church, declared a National Monument and World Heritage Site.
Later, arrive in Castro, lying on the shores of a fjord famous for its picturesque houses on stilts called
Ancud And Penguin Colony Navigation
From Caulín, take the road to Ancud and visit this city famous for its market and the best infrastructure on Chiloé. It was an international seaport until the end of the 19th century, with narrow streets lined with commercial houses and classical Chilote architecture. The Regional Museum is great to visit and to learn more about the island history. Then visit the San Antonio Fort, erected in 1770, South America’s last point to where the Spanish flag flew.
Continue your journey to Puñihuil Bay on the Pacific Coast. Here, experience a picturesque sailing excursion to the Islands in Puñihuil, where you may observe a penguin colony.
Pucon and Villarrica
Conguillio National Park
The road from Pucón passes through old-fashioned little towns including Cunco and Melipeuco en route to Conguillío National Park, one of the most attractive and outstanding parks of the Lakes & Volcanoes District.
The day tour will visit the Truful-Truful Falls and the pristine Arco Iris (Rainbow) Lagoon with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors. A picnic lunch is served at Playa Linda beach located on the shores of Conguillío Lake. The area is surrounded by native trees, including ancient monkey-puzzle trees or araucarias (Araucaria araucana), raulí (Nothofagus alpina) and coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi). Spot endemic birds such as the Magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus). We will also hear and possibly catch a glimpse of the Chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula) and the noisy Slender-billed parakeet (Enicognatus leptorhynchus).
Huife Hot Springs
The thermal center is located by the Liucura River and is surrounded by stunning native forests. The place offers three outdoor thermal pools at different temperatures, a good restaurant and a cafeteria. In addition, the center also includes massage and beauty therapy services for an additional cost. Here you can enjoy the scenery while relaxing in therapeutic thermal waters.
WHERE TO STAY
Puerto Varas / Puerto Montt
Cumbres Puerto Varas - Situated on the edge of Lake Llanquihue, Hotel Cumbres Patagónicas offers top quality service and panoramic views of the lake and Osorno Volcano. The hotel’s perfect natural setting and proximity to the center of Puerto Varas ensure a memorable stay. Large modern rooms are well-equipped and the restaurant is one of the best in Puerto Varas.
Los Caiquenes Boutique Hotel - located on the shores of Lake Llanquihue just minutes from downtown Puerto Varas. All rooms offer panoramic views. Hotel facilities include an open-kitchen restaurant.
Pucon / Villarrica
andBeyond Vira Vira - set in a marvelous native park surrounded by stunning Volcanos and along the shores of the peaceful Liucura River and is an oasis of peace and recreation. The Hacienda also operates a farm on over 40ha. In additional to luxurious accommodations, Vira Vira provides guests with fresh, healthy and delicious food as well as interesting insight into the operations of a modern farm and cheese dairy.
The Hotel has been designed by the owners to offer spacious, luxurious suites to international guests. All guests live in beautifully crafted rooms at either the main house (together with the owners of the Hotel) or in nicely decorated and spacious junior suites (35 – 45m2) at the main Hotel building or in carefully designed and decorated senior suites (75m2) in separate apartments, most of them located directly at the shores of the Liucura River. All rooms or suites have been individually decorated with a loving eye for detail. All rooms and suites have their own spacious and modern bathrooms and the senior suites have an outdoor “hot tub” overlooking the river – an unbelievable experience at night with the moon and stars shining in a way you can only experience in Chile.
Tierra Chiloe - located on San Jose Playa, near Castro, Chiloe Island. The hotel has 12 Superior rooms with amenities that include hair dryer, slippers and robe, safe box, reusable water bottle.
The daily excursions are designed for you to discover the magic of the archipelago, its culture and natural landscape, from a different perspective. Different types of excursions: half-day or full-day, at different levels of difficulty; multi-disciplinary outings which combine different activities in one excursion. Activities are planned daily; guides are able to come up with a schedule which alternates different types of trips. Cultural excursions, boating, horseback riding, biking, hiking or simply looking around, are just a few of the possibilities awaiting you. All day trips are handled by bilingual guides working exclusively for the hotel. With a view to making your experience even better, the number of guests on any excursion is limited to eight individuals per guide, per activity, thus ensuring you receive personalized and appropriate attention along with a sound level of safety.
Hotel facilities include a fully-equipped spa which offers a complete array of services. It’s located on the second floor for your convenience, near the guest rooms. Here you will find
The Chile Lake District in northern Patagonia is a perfect compliment to the distinctively different landscapes of southern Patagonia with a varied selection of activities that it sure to fulfill any adventure trip to Chile
For more information, visit our "Travel to Chile: Where to Go and What to Do" travel planning pages.
Contact a Lost World Adventures consultant and begin planning your trip to Chile.