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This region’s airport, in the town of Puerto Montt, lies almost exactly halfway between Santiago and Punta Arenas and this is the ideal point at which to alight for several days in the southern Lake District, whether you are then continuing down to Patagonia or journeying east into Argentina.

Puerto Varas

The Chilean Lake District, Puerto VarasYou will stay in the small town of Puerto Varas, with its enviable location on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. The most popular hotels here are right on the water’s edge, but Puerto Varas is so compact that you are never far from a delightful view nor indeed a tasty fish restaurant or attractive artesanias shop.

Famous for the roses which bloom all over the town from December to March, Puerto Varas is watched over by the conical peaks of volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco and is a lovely place to unwind during your travels through Chile.

Day trips

Day trips which should not be missed from here include Chiloé Island, the tumbling azure waters of Petrohue Falls, the national parks of Vicente Perez Rosales and Alerce Andino, and the interesting settlements of Puerto Octay (its Germanic roots reflected in its Bavarian-style architecture) and the little lakeside resort of Frutillar.

Those crossing into Argentina via the famous and picturesque ‘Lake Crossing’ will do so by bus and boat through the Andes in one or two days (with a stop overnight in Puella) from Puerto Varas.

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Audley Travel specialist Tamatha

Start planning your tailor-made trip to the Southern Lake District by contacting one of our Chile specialists

Suggested itinerary featuring the Southern Lake District

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in the Southern Lake District, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of the Southern Lake District

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near the Southern Lake District

    Our expert guides to exploring the Southern Lake District

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting the Southern Lake District, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate the Southern Lake District at its best.

    • What to do in Chile: our highlights guide
      A church in southern Patagonia, Chile

      What to do in Chile: our highlights guide

      What to do in Chile: our highlights guide

      Chile is a land of geographical contrasts, from the arid Atacama Desert to the peaks and glaciers of Patagonia. Cultural differences are equally stark as Spanish-built wooden churches on Chiloé Island vie for the visitor’s attention along with the incongruous and mysterious stone statues on Easter Island.

      9 min read

      Read this guide