Exploring Chile’s Lake District

| May 2, 2011 | 2 Comments
This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Southern Discovery

After a few days exploring Santiago (check out our posts “Visiting Chile: Five things to see in Santiago” and “Touring Santiago’s Wineries“), we flew south to Puerto Varas and Chile’s beautiful Lake District, the gateway to the Chilean Patagonia. Puerto Varas is a small town located in the Chilean province of Llanquique in the Los Lagos (Lake District) region of Chile.  Located roughly 996 km to the south of Santiago, the town of Puerto Varas sits on the southern shore of Lake Llanquique, one of the large natural lakes of South America, and boasts a magnificent view of snowcapped Volcán Osorno. Complete with the smell of wood smoke drifting over the landscape, Puerto Varas is an incredibly charming village with a Bavarian influence. It’s also incredibly beautiful, boasting wood-shingled homes and a rose-encircled plaza. Volcán Osorno’s perfect cone and the snowcapped peaks of Mt Calbuco and Mt Tronador are clearly visible in the distance.

1osornovolcano Exploring Chile’s Lake District

The snow-capped peak of Osorno!

The town’s architecture is unique in that older buildings are wooden and resemble European homes and churches of the nineteenth century. We learned that this is due to the significant number of immigrants from central Europe (largely Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy) who settled here over the last half of that century. We learned, too, that the region’s cuisine also reflects this, with many restaurants specializing in kuchen and other baked delicacies. Seafood dishes abound in this region, too. Of particular interest to visitors is the curanto Chilote, a seafood stew so hearty that it’ll leave you ready for a mid-afternoon siesta.

2viewfromthetopofosorno Exploring Chile’s Lake District

The view from the top!

On our first day in Puerto Varas, we followed the southern and eastern shore of Lago Llanquihue around to Ensenada, enjoying views of Volcán Osorno across the lake to the north. After three-quarters of an hour, we reached the Osorno volcano ski centre, located ~1200 meters above sea level. From here, we enjoyed breathtaking views of the entire area, opting for a brisk hike across the volcanic sand and enjoying the glow of lake Llanquihue below us.

3osornodox Exploring Chile’s Lake District

A culpeo (Patagonian fox).

Next our tour took us to Vicente Perez Rosales National Park where we stopped for an easy trek to Petrohué Falls, formed by the waters of lake Todos los Santos. The views of Volcán Osorno behind the falls are incredible — and the setting is postcard-perfect.

4petrohuefalls Exploring Chile’s Lake District

Petrohué Waterfalls.

In fact, there are few places in the world that Kathryn and I have visited that are more beautiful than Chile’s Lake District. Outside of Puerto Varas, the loudest sound you’re likely to hear is the roar of waterfalls streaming down cliff faces into crystal clear pools. It’s no wonder that this area is a favourite vacation spot for Chileans—and foreign visitors from across the Andes and around the globe.


Disclosure: At Two Go Round-The-World, we value the conversation that exists between us and our readers—and the trust on which that relationship is based. Here we’re committed to creating an environment informed by that trust. In the interests of full disclosure, we travelled with Gap Adventures, with whom Daniel works. That being said, his opinions should not be construed as representing those of his employer. For more information on disclosures and relationships, please check our ‘About Us‘ page.

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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

Comments (2)

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  1. Andrea says:


    We missed out on Vicente Perez Rosales National Park – looks so beautiful!

    • Daniel says:


      There’s always next time, Andrea! It’s beautiful — and well worth a visit next time around. Thanks for the comment!

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