Puerto Varas is a beautiful colonial town with the 2650-meter high Osorno Volcano located on the shores of Lago Llanquihue, the biggest lake in Chile. It is a great place for hiking and offers a variety of birdlife with the surrounding national parks and lush vegetation as far as the eye can see.
If you are planning to visit Chile, then a trip to Puerto Varas in the southern reaches of the country should definitely be on your list of places to pass through. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in culture or history or if you prefer nature adventures – there are many reasons why Puerto Varas is the new “It” place in Chile. Keep reading to find out why we recommend visiting this special town.
Puerto Varas, The City of Roses
Located close to Lake Llanquihue, in the 10th Region of Los Lagos, Puerto Varas resembles a German atmosphere due to the settlers who arrived here during 1852 and 1853. It is near the border of Argentina, and only 21 kilometers from Puerto Montt. Nowadays, it is one of the most important places of tourism for Chile.
Puerto Varas boasts gorgeous squares full of roses, stunning mountain style architecture with natural wonders like Osorno Volcano, Calbuco, Puntiagudo and Cerro Tronador. Some other must-see sites include the Saltos del Río Petrohue in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Lake Todos los Santos, and the Osorno Volcano Ski Center.
It is a great place for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, volcano climbing, mountain climbing, fishing, and rafting. The German influence on the architecture in the city makes you feel like you are in a completely different country, and the traditional European style cuisine is a treat for those seeking something different and special.
This volcano is one of the main reasons people travel from all around the world to visit Puerto Varas. Volcan Osorno is an active volcano which can be seen from almost anywhere in town, but can be best viewed along the lake.
The Ski Center of Osorno is situated on the slopes of the volcano, which supplies loads of fun for those who enjoy winter sports. There are also hikes to the summit which last about 6 hours. It is required to go with a local guide as the cracks in the route to the summit can be fatal, and it is important to move only through authorized paths.
Volcan Osorno sits over 2600 meters in altitude, and has a majestic cone shape. It is opposite the town Frutillar, and separated by the lake. Volcan Osorno is located only 30 minutes by car from the center of Puerto Varas and can be visited any time of the year.
This little town is located on the north shore of Llanquihue Lake and also stands out for its German culture due to the colony that settled way back in 1852. Similar to Puerto Varas, it is a town with beautiful German architecture, which now operates as lodging and local businesses.
There are a few things to explore here, like the stunning heritage buildings, the Museo del Colono, Chocolate Factory and a Cheese House. It offers a variety of opportunities to taste delicious German cuisine, in the heart of Latin America.
On the historical side, Puerto Octay used to be an important port with regular traffic to Puerto Varas before 1912, when the railway opened. Today, it is a popular town to visit because of the feeling that you are teleporting to another country somewhere in Europe.
Alerce Andino National Park
Alerce Andino National Park is home to one of the oldest forests in the world. It is a living treasure that takes you through valleys and lagoons that allow you to admire the purest, natural beauty of southern Chile. The park is a protected area, and forms part of the Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Andes, in the Chaicas Mountain Range.
The park stretches over forty thousand hectares, and half of the flora here is of the earths’ last specimens of Alerce. The Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) is South America’s biggest tree and some of them are up to 2500 years old. The Alerce Andino National Park is a special place as nowadays the Alerce is in danger of extinction and they are highly protected here.
Explore the many trails around the lagoons, and see many different wild animals in their natural habitat. Beauties such as pumas, cougars, skunks, foxes and incredible birds can be spotted here. It is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and open all year round.
Lodging & Eateries
There are many charming hotels and hostels to stay at in Puerto Varas. Whether you are keen on staying in a cozy cabin with a more family-feel, or chalet-style rustic vibes with your partner or friends. Or maybe you prefer more traditional “luxury” with great service and comfortable lodging. There are plenty of options for all traveler types.
There are many reasons to get excited about Chilean cuisine when you are travelling to Puerto Varas. The town offers fresh seafood, steakhouses and Italian and German restaurants. The best part of all is that you may even enjoy some fusions with distinctive Chile flavors. The most popular restaurants can be found along the lake, in the coastal street.
How to visit with Kuoda
A visit to Puero Varas is a special one indeed. This little town gives one a feeling of being in “little Europe” in Latin America. Yet, it is unique in its own way. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience the mixture of culture and nature together, and can be added to your itinerary when planning on visiting Chile, and other countries in South America too. We at Kuoda understand how important it is to have a well-planned trip, and we know how much effort and time it takes to organize a trip that will move smoothly, without the stress – which you ideally want to leave behind. Contact us today and talk to one of our trip designers to find out what is the perfect package for you.